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### W&L Achieves Record-Breaking Success with Critical Language Scholarship

By Emily Innes

March 21, 2024

A surge in Washington and Lee University students has been granted the esteemed Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) for the upcoming summer of 2024. Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the CLS Program offers a fully-funded summer program focused on language and cultural immersion for American college students.

This year, the recipients from W&L include:

  • Nava Berwick ’27, heading to Indonesia to study Indonesian.
  • Brandon Bishop ’26, selected for Arabic studies.
  • Lela Casey ’24, also studying Arabic but in Oman.
  • Samuel Cook ’27, bound for Taiwan to learn Chinese.
  • Aliya Gibbons ’26, joining the Arabic program in Oman.
  • Posi Oluwakuyide ’24, off to Brazil for Portuguese studies.
  • Xavier Raymondson ’25, set to explore Russian in Georgia.

Moreover, Charlotte Baker ’25, Katharine Clark ’26, and Jacob Lee ’27 have been named alternates. Notably, Bishop opted for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals Fellowship over the CLS.

Matthew Loar, the director of fellowships at W&L, expressed his pride in the students’ accomplishments, emphasizing the university’s commitment to fostering “engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.”

Berwick’s CLS opportunity to delve into Indonesian language, culture, and customs in Malang, Indonesia, aligns perfectly with her aspiration to become a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State. Her deep-rooted connection to Indonesian culture through classical dance has fueled her enthusiasm for this linguistic journey, aiming to forge stronger ties within the Indonesian community.

Lela Casey ’25

Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, Casey, a global politics major, will be honing her Arabic skills in Nizwa, Oman. Her prior experience in Jordan has already enhanced her Arabic proficiency, and she is eager to further immerse herself in the language.

Samuel Cook ’27

Cook’s venture to New Taipei, Taiwan, to study Chinese presents a valuable opportunity to expand his linguistic and cultural horizons. His academic interests span politics, computer science, and Chinese, with a vision to merge artificial intelligence with political science in his future career.

Aliya Gibbons ’26

Gibbons, a political science and Middle East and South Asian studies minor, will be joining the Arabic program in Nizwa, Oman. Her previous language study in Jordan and active involvement on campus reflect her dedication to global awareness and cultural understanding.

Posi Oluwakuyide ’24

Oluwakuyide’s pursuit of Portuguese studies in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, seamlessly aligns with her passion for international development. Her multidisciplinary background in economics and law, coupled with her involvement in social impact initiatives, underscores her commitment to effecting positive change globally.

Xavier Raymondson ’25

Raymondson, a sociology and Eastern European and Russian area studies double major, will be exploring Russian in Tbilisi, Georgia. With a keen interest in the South Caucasus region and aspirations for a career in the U.S. Foreign Service, this opportunity allows him to deepen his language skills and cultural understanding.

The accomplishments of these students reflect W&L’s dedication to preparing global citizens and fostering academic excellence.