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Seven students receive State Department scholarships for overseas study

Thursday, May 09, 2013

LAWRENCE — Seven University of Kansas students have been awarded national scholarships that will fund overseas study this summer. Four students received a Critical Language Scholarship, a U.S. Department of State program.  Three students received a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, funded by the Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education.

There were more than 5,000 applicants for the 610 Critical Language Scholarships in 2013. The awards are for the study of 13 critical-need foreign languages.

KU students Nicholas Kellum, a junior from Baxter Springs, and Alexis Knutsen, a junior from Overland Park, will study Arabic in their host country of Oman. Erik Hornberger, a graduate student from Lancaster, Pa., will study Japanese in Japan, and Matthew Visser, a senior from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., will study Punjabi in India. 

As CLS participants, the KU students will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes this summer.

The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. It provides fully funded, group-based summer intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences.  CLS Program participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers. 

Finalists for the 2013 CLS Program hail from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia and represent more than 200 institutions of higher education from across the United States, including public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, minority-serving institutions and community colleges. CLS is extremely competitive, with nearly 5,000 applicants for the approximately 600 scholarships available for summer 2013.

Three KU students will receive grants through the Gilman International Scholarship Program.  The Gilman Program is a congressionally funded program sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE) through IIE's office in Houston.

Akira Cowden, a freshman from Lawrence, and Christian Orzano, a freshman from Minneapolis, will spend their summer in South Korea. Elizabeth Hazelwood, a sophomore from Manhattan, will study in China.

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad program costs. The Gilman Program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go by supporting undergraduates who might otherwise not study abroad due to financial constraints.