Two UAB students win Critical Language Scholarships

Senior Anisha Das and sophomore Lillian Chien will spend the summer studying language and culture abroad.

Written by: Tiffany Westry

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lillian 2Anisha Das, top, and Lillian Chien

Anisha Das, a senior neuroscience major, and Lillian Chien, a sophomore double-majoring in neuroscience and international studies, have been selected for the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship program.

This nationally competitive program is a fully funded summer overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. The purpose of the program is to increase the number of students studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships with people in other countries. With an acceptance rate of less than ten percent, the Critical Language Scholarship is one of the most competitive scholarships in the U.S. and the most prestigious language program for U.S. students. Last year, approximately 600 scholarships were awarded for 14 languages.

Das, a member of the UAB Early Medical School Acceptance Program and the UAB Honors College’s Science and Technology Honors Program, will study Bangla in Kolkata, India. She is also one of 21 UAB students selected to participate in the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative University. Her project, “Building Bridges,” enlists student volunteers to serve as personalized computer skills tutors for residents of Birmingham’s Highland Manor assisted-living facility.

Chien, a student in the UAB Honors College’s University Honors Program, will study Chinese in Xi’an, China. She aspires to become a doctor and practice medicine in areas with heavy populations of Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants.

Das and Chien are UAB’s 15th and 16th winners of the scholarship since 2007.