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Nine University of Minnesota Twin Cities students awarded scholarships for Critical Language Study this summer

Nine University of Minnesota Twin Cities students have been awarded Critical Language Scholarships for intensive language study this summer from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Three graduate students will study Chinese, Azerbaijani and Arabic. The first, Sofia Cerkvenik, a graduate of Highland Park High School in St. Paul, studied history and Asian languages and literatures as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota. Since graduating last May, she has enrolled in a master’s degree in teaching with a concentration in social sciences in the College of Education and Human Development. Secondly, Chelsea Cervantes De Blois, a graduate of Holy Angels and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, is a University of Minnesota doctoral student in geography. She is writing her dissertation on climate and migration in Central Asia. Thirdly, John Dieck, a graduate of Stetson University and a first-year UMN doctoral student in history, is studying the post-colonial history of North Africa.

Among the six undergraduate scholars, juniors Eva Dwyer and Erin Daniel will study Arabic in Morocco and Jordan. Dwyer, a graduate of Southwest High School in Minneapolis, is majoring in global studies and Asian languages and literatures. Daniel, of Sun Prairie, Wisc., is studying global studies and political science. Both are also studying Spanish at the University of Minnesota and considering careers in diplomacy.

Sophie Gray and Paulina Crouch, Asian language and literature majors in the Chinese Flagship program at the University of Minnesota, will complete advanced language studies in China. Gray, a senior from North Saint Paul, studied abroad last summer in Taiwan. Crouch, a junior from New Orleans, La., is also completing an accounting degree. Crouch, a graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School, plans to spend a capstone year at the University of Minnesota in China at the end of her undergraduate career.

Miki Schumacher, a junior from Mankato, will continue her study of Japanese in Japan. Junior Clara Bartnik of Eden Prairie will travel to Azerbaijan to begin studying Turkish. Both students are completing certificates in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at the University of Minnesota in addition to their majors. Schumacher and Bartnik plan to spend time living and teaching abroad after graduation.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. CLS scholars gain critical language and cultural skills that enable them to contribute to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. These UMN students will join approximately 550 competitively-selected American students at U.S. colleges and universities who received a CLS award in 2019.

The Critical Language Scholarships fully fund intensive language studies in 10-week summer programs at foreign locations arranged by American Councils for International Education and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Applications are due in November for study the following summer. Interested students at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities should contact the Office of National and International Scholarships for advice and support at natschol@umn.edu or 612-624-5522


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University of Minnesota, Twin Cities