University of Vermont

University Communications

Four UVM Students Receive National Critical Language Scholarships

award winners
From left, Hannah Doughty, Shelby Deaton, Monica Johnson and Judith Marshall.

The opportunity to learn a new language in a globalizing world is valuable, but the opportunity to learn a new language in a fully funded immersion program abroad is unique and unforgettable. That is what awaits four UVM students who have been awarded the U.S. State Department's Critical Language Scholarship.

The State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs notified graduate student Judith Marshall, juniors Monica Johnson and Hannah Doughty, and sophomore Shelby Deaton this past month that they received the award, which is a nationally competitive and prestigious opportunity. The Critical Language Scholarship Program offers intensive summer language institutes overseas in 13 critical-need languages. Language offerings include Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Hindu, Urdu, Turkish and Persian.

Marshall, a graduate student from Jericho, Vt., will be studying intermediate Arabic in Tunis, Tunisia. Marshall is currently working toward a master's degree in history.

Doughty, a Rotary Scholar and a double Russian and anthropology major from Rochester, Vt., will be studying intermediate Russian. A member of UVM's Russian House, Doughty has been heavily involved in Russian language activities and events on campus. She will spend this summer studying Russian in either Vladimir, Kazan or Ufa. After the Critical Language Scholarship program, she plans to continue her language study in St. Petersburg.

Johnson, an anthropology major from West Warwick, R.I., received a Critical Language Scholarship to study advanced beginning Turkish. After taking a course on Middle Eastern politics at UVM, Johnson was intrigued by the role the country plays on a global scale, and she has spent the last semester studying language, politics and culture in Istanbul. She will spend this summer studying in Ankara.

Deaton, an Honors College sophomore from Kalispell, Mont., will be studying Arabic at the advanced beginning level. A double political science and history major, Deaton is very interested in the experience of women in the Middle East. She will also spend this summer studying in Tunis, Tunisia. After completing the critical language program in August, she will remain in the Middle East to study abroad in Jordan for the fall 2012 semester.

Marshall, Doughty, Johnson and Deaton are four of 575 students to receive the award (the competition received 5,200 applications from undergraduate and graduate students across the country). Critical Language Scholarship institutes provide fully funded group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for seven to 10 weeks for U.S. students. 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.

Since 2005, when the university put a centralized fellowship outreach and support program in place, 91 UVM students have won or been finalists in the country’s most prestigious and competitive competitions, including the Fulbright, Rhodes, Goldwater, Marshall, Udall, Truman, Madison, Gilman, and Boren Overseas scholarships.