Two UT students have been awarded US Department of State Critical Language Scholarships to study critical-needs languages during the summer.
Paige Scrivener, of Memphis, is a sophomore in global studies with a concentration in global politics and economics and a double minor in Chinese and Asian studies. She will study at Suzhou University in Suzhou, China.
Scrivener said she hopes to use her Mandarin in international business or foreign service.
"When I first opened the acceptance e-mail, I felt like all those late nights practicing writing Chinese characters and listening to the textbook audio were validated. I am so excited to expand my Mandarin speaking ability and experience the culture of China," she said.
Jeremy Pearson, of Salem, Oregon, is a third-year PhD student in history. He will be going to Oman to study Arabic. This is Pearson's second time winning a Critical Language Scholarship; he went to Amman, Jordan, in the summer of 2012.
"I study Muslim-Christian relations in the later Middle Ages, and I've been studying Arabic for my current research and so that I can navigate comfortably in the Arabic-speaking world on future research trips," he said. "I'm hoping to be a researching, tenure-track professor or work in the government or nonprofit sector. This opportunity means that I'm one step closer to doing what seemed crazy a few years ago—mastering a very challenging language and using it in meaningful ways."
Scrivener and Pearson are among about 550 US undergraduate and graduate students receiving this year's Critical Language Scholarships. The winners hail from all fifty states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, and represent more than 200 US colleges and universities.
The CLS program is part of a US government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. It provides fully-funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences.
Aside from Chinese and Arabic, CLS recipients will be studying Azerbaijani, Bangla, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, or Urdu.