Student News

3 UK students win scholarships to study critical languages abroad


LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 5, 2024) — The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards announced three students have been selected as award winners of a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS).

The CLS program provides opportunities for American college and university students to study languages and cultures essential to America's engagement with the world. 

Each summer, undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities across the country, spend eight to 10 weeks learning one of 13 languages at an intensive study abroad institute.

The goal is to promote rapid language gains and essential intercultural fluency in regions that are critical to U.S. national security and economic prosperity.

More than 500 students were selected this year.

The three UK students awarded a CLS include:

  • Shria Holla, a 2024 mathematical economics and Lewis Honors College graduate, Chellgren Fellow and Gaines Fellow from Richmond, Kentucky, will study Hindi at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Jaipur, India;
  • Anna Stockstill, a political science and environmental and sustainability studies major and Chellgren Fellow from Milton, Georgia, will study Mandarin Chinese at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan; and
  • Ellen Williams, an agricultural and medical biotechnology major and Lewis Honors College member from Blaine, Kentucky, will study Bahasa Indonesia at Universitas Negeri Malang in Malang, Indonesia.

Additionally, Licia Henneberg, a sociology, psychology, and modern and classical languages, literatures and cultures graduate, was named an alternate to study Arabic.

Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their language skills in future careers.

Upon her return from India this summer, Holla will work for the Chicago Federal Reserve and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in economics.

Williams plans to pursue a career in medical entomology, specializing in vector-borne diseases.

Stockstill plans to pursue a Ph.D. in environmental policy and work with organizations to help shape international laws, standards and regulations surrounding global environmental issues.

“Obtaining a higher level of proficiency in Mandarin will allow me to continue my research on sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region in a higher capacity and with more cultural awareness,” she said.

The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards assists current undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external fellowships and scholarships funded by sources (such as government agencies or non-government foundations) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Interested students are encouraged to begin work with the office’s director, Pat Whitlow, well in advance of the scholarship deadline.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.