4 UK Students to Study Critical Languages Abroad

photo of Chelsea Cutright (center) and friends abroad
photo of Catherine Cornelius
photo of Christopher Maynard
photo of Amaris Wade

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 31, 2017) — The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced four UK students have been awarded Critical Language Scholarships to study Chinese, Japanese and Swahili abroad. The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program, a program of the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, offers intensive summer language institutes overseas in 14 critical need foreign languages during the summer of 2017.

The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

The four UK students awarded scholarships from CLS and the language studies the scholarship covers are:

  • Catherine Cornelius, a senior majoring in Japan studies from Sadieville, Kentucky, who will study Japanese in Hikone, Japan;
  • Chelsea Cutright, a doctoral student in cultural anthropology from Ypsilanti, Michigan, who will study Swahili in Arusha, Tanzania;
  • Christopher Maynard, a senior majoring in biology, minoring in foreign language and international economics - Chinese, and member of the Lewis Honors College from Versailles, Kentucky, who will study Chinese in Changchun, China; and
  • Amaris Wade, a junior majoring in foreign language and international economics – Chinese, Gaines Fellow and member of the Lewis Honors College from Lexington, who will study Chinese in Changchun, China.

For many UK students, who have received CLS funding, the scholarship advances research in their studies or increases their language skills opening up new career opportunities, for others it feeds a passion for a culture they have a profound interest in — and for many, it will make all of the above possible.

“I will be going to Japan to further my study of Japanese — this will enable me to gain confidence in my language abilities, and as such will give me a better chance at becoming a teacher of the language,” said Catherine Cornelius, whose interest in the Japanese language was nurtured by her high school experience at Scott County High School and in the school’s sister school exchanges. “It will also give me a better chance at being accepted for the JET Programme to teach English in Japan after I graduate, and will open up doorways into working with the U.S. Department of State.”

Fellow scholarship recipient Amaris Wade, who found her love for the Chinese language and culture at the age of 10 when she began studying at Lexington Chinese School, agreed. “After CLS, I’ll have direct experience in both mainland China and Taiwan under my belt,” Wade said. “Having experience in both will be a huge asset in establishing a China-focused career, especially in the public policy field. I’ll also be proficient in Chinese to the point that I can do research in Chinese as part of my upcoming Gaines Fellowship.”

The CLS Program provides fully-funded, group-based intensive language instruction and cultural enrichment experiences for seven to 10 weeks for U.S. citizens who are undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students. The application for the 2018 summer program will be available in the fall on the CLS website, http://clscholarship.org.

For students interested in language immersion, the National Security Education Program Boren Scholarship may also be an opportunity to consider.

UK students interested in the CLS and/or Boren Scholarships may apply through the university’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. Part of the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Student and Academic Life at UK, the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with Pat Whitlow well in advance of the scholarship deadline.