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Four OU Students Awarded Critical Language Scholarships for Summer 2020

Four University of Oklahoma students were awarded the U.S. Department of State’s prestigious Critical Language Scholarship for summer 2020. OU was second in the Big 12 for student placements and one of only two Oklahoma schools with students receiving the scholarship.

The CLS program was founded as part of a government effort to promote the study of foreign languages designated “critical” — those that are underrepresented but play an important role in national security and the world economy. In typical years, students selected for the summer program enjoy two fully funded months of language and cultural immersion in a city where their chosen language is spoken. The program draws students from a wide range of fields and interests, and participants are selected based on commitment to language learning and plans to apply language skills to their future academic or professional pursuits.

The COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately prompted the suspension of the summer 2020 CLS program, though the selected students are still being recognized. Additionally, the CLS program is working with host institutions abroad to create Virtual Language Institutes. Due to limited capacity, these are restricted to Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian and Russian and will take place virtually from approximately June 22 to August 21. All accepted students for this summer have been encouraged to reapply next year so they get their deserved opportunity to immerse in a language abroad.

Regardless of the effect of the pandemic on the CLS Program, these four students deserve to be celebrated for their hard work, academic achievement and commitment to learning languages that will be crucial in our world going forward. Congratulations to them! Read more about the winners below.

John Broach

Year: Sophomore

Major: Chinese and Political Science, minor in International Studies

Hometown: Tulsa

Language Placement: John was accepted to study Chinese in Taiwan.

Anne Nguyen

Anne Nguyen

Year: Senior

Major: Chemical Biosciences, minor in Japanese

Hometown: Moore

Language Placement: Anne was accepted to study Japanese at Okayama University in Okayama, Japan.

Hima Patel

Year: Junior

Major: Anthropology

Hometown: Moore

Language Placement: Hima was accepted to study Hindi at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Jaipur, India.

Rachel Williams

Year: Fourth-year

Major: BA/MA in International Studies, double major in Arabic, minor in Spanish

Hometown: DeForest, Wisconsin

Language Placement: Rachel was accepted to study Arabic in Ibri, Oman.

In addition to the four selected, five OU students were also named as alternates: Bailey Ashbaker (Arabic), Callie Moorhead (Russian), Aubrey Rottscharu (Urdu), Miguel Vazquez (Turkish) and Ivy Zollars (Chinese).

Congratulations to these students, and though we know how disappointing the suspension of the program must be, we know that these globally minded scholars will have future opportunities to work and study abroad. Their futures are very bright indeed.

For more information about the Critical Language Scholarship and the 2021 application cycle, visit

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