Media contact: Shannon Thomason
University of Alabama at Birmingham students Kathryn Hargett and Soumya Khanna have been selected for the United States Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship program.
The Critical Language Scholarship funds an eight to 10-week overseas language and cultural immersion program.
Hargett, an English major with minors in Chinese and creative writing and a UAB Honors College student, received the scholarship in 2020 and completed virtual studies hosted by Dalian University of Technology in China.
This year Soumya Khanna was selected to participate in the CLS Virtual Institute for Urdu hosted by the American Institute of Indian Studies. Khanna is a UAB Honors College student and a neuroscience major participating in an accelerated Master of Public Health degree.
This nationally competitive, fully funded summer program is 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 10 percent, the Critical Language Scholarship is one of the most competitive scholarships in the United States and the most prestigious language program for United States students.
“Virtual institutes are a first for CLS, with even fewer placements available than there would be for an in-person program,” said Michelle Cook, Ph.D., interim director for UAB’s National and International Fellowships and Scholarships. “We are thrilled UAB students were selected to participate.”
According to the Department of State, “The Critical Language Scholarship Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Students spend eight to 10 weeks abroad studying one of 15 critical languages. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.”
Finalists for the 2021 CLS Program were selected from a diverse pool of more than 4,600 applicants, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. They represented 628 different higher-education institutions across the country, including 151 minority-serving institutions, 14 historically Black colleges and universities, and 57 community colleges.
For more information on student fellowship opportunities, visit uab.edu/fellowships.