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Undergrads receive State Department scholarships

Two College of William & Mary students will study foreign language abroad this summer under the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program.

Megan Zurowski ’12 and Isra Nikoolkan ’14 are among 575 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students selected for scholarships this year. Zurowski will study Arabic in Morocco, and Nikoolkan will study Korean in South Korea. Both have interdisciplinary majors. Zurowski  is majoring in global studies, and Nikoolkan in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in linguistics. Nikoolkan also received a Critical Language Scholarship last year.

“The State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship program makes a crucial contribution to this country’s prosperity and security,” said Stephen E. Hanson, vice provost for international affairs and director of the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies.  “We are honored and extremely proud to be sending two outstanding William & Mary undergraduates to study abroad supported by the CLS program this year.”

Launched in 2006, the CLS program now offers study in Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish and Urdu. Each student participates in a seven- to ten-week intensive language institute which includes structured cultural enrichment experiences in addition to language study. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.  

CLS program participants are among more than 40,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, a program press release said.
“We are very pleased for two W&M students to have received the Department of State’s Critical Language scholarships to study in South Korea and Morocco. Their choice of sites is a reflection of the broad interest of W&M students in language and regional study, especially in Asia and the Middle East,” said Sylvia Mitterndorfer, director of global education at William & Mary. "This scholarship provides invaluable opportunities for university students and future leaders to deeply engage with language study, and we are honored to have two recipients this summer.”

In 2011, three William & Mary students participated in the program.

Additional information about the CLS program is available online.