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LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 5, 2024) — The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards announced three students have been selected as award winners of a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS).

The CLS program provides opportunities for American college and university students to study languages and cultures essential to America's engagement with the world. 

Each summer, undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities across the country, spend eight to 10 weeks learning one of 13 languages at an intensive study abroad institute.

The goal is to promote rapid language gains and essential intercultural fluency in regions that are critical to U.S. national security and economic prosperity.

More than 500 students were selected this year.

The three UK students awarded a CLS include:

  • Shria Holla, a 2024 mathematical economics and Lewis Honors College graduate, Chellgren Fellow and Gaines Fellow from Richmond, Kentucky, will study Hindi at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Jaipur, India;
  • Anna Stockstill, a political science and environmental and sustainability studies major and Chellgren Fellow from Milton, Georgia, will study Mandarin Chinese at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan; and
  • Ellen Williams, an agricultural and medical biotechnology major and Lewis Honors College member from Blaine, Kentucky, will study Bahasa Indonesia at Universitas Negeri Malang in Malang, Indonesia.

Additionally, Licia Henneberg, a sociology, psychology, and modern and classical languages, literatures and cultures graduate, was named an alternate to study Arabic.

Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their language skills in future careers.

Upon her return from India this summer, Holla will work for the Chicago Federal Reserve and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in economics.

Williams plans to pursue a career in medical entomology, specializing in vector-borne diseases.

Stockstill plans to pursue a Ph.D. in environmental policy and work with organizations to help shape international laws, standards and regulations surrounding global environmental issues.

“Obtaining a higher level of proficiency in Mandarin will allow me to continue my research on sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region in a higher capacity and with more cultural awareness,” she said.

The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards assists current undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external fellowships and scholarships funded by sources (such as government agencies or non-government foundations) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Interested students are encouraged to begin work with the office’s director, Pat Whitlow, well in advance of the scholarship deadline.