Three Florida State University students get critical language scholarships

From left to right: Meagan McLaughlin, Mae Zitzke and Lauren Thornberg.

Three Florida State University students have been awarded critical language scholarships through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to help them further their study of foreign languages ​​and cultures .

According to the Department of State, the CLS provides “rigorous academic instruction in 15 languages ​​critical to the national security and economic prosperity of the United States. CLS participants are citizen ambassadors, sharing American values ​​and promoting American influence abroad.

Jesse Wieland, Associate Director of the Office of National Scholarships, said CLS provides students with a multi-faceted experience that goes beyond language.

“The main goal is to help provide students with a passion for the language a better understanding of how this language is crucial to their academic and professional goals,” he said. “The program includes classroom time, cultural excursions and conversation partners.

This year’s winners are:

Maelyn Zitzke

Zitzke, who graduated in December from FSU with her bachelor’s degree in international business. Zitzke, a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will travel to Morocco to study Arabic.

“This part of the world really interests me and it’s such an exciting opportunity,” she said. “I’m still deciding what I want to do next with my graduate studies. Maybe Arabic studies, or Middle Eastern studies, or international affairs and urban development.

Zitzke said she started taking Arabic lessons in her second year, which sparked an interest in the Middle East which she hopes will see her spend a lot of time in the region. in the future.

“This experience is definitely going to help my language learning, help me make the improvement I wanted to make and really solidify what I’ve learned so far,” she said. “I’m really excited about this cultural experience and a better understanding of an area I want to work and see in the future.”

Meagan McLaughlin
McLaughlin earned a CLS in 2021, but travel restrictions prevented her from traveling internationally and steered her towards an online experience. This year, the Tampa native is excited to say she’s heading to Amman, Jordan, where she will continue to study Arabic.

“Being named a recipient the first time was a dream come true, but being named a second time and going overseas is meant to be,” she said.

McLaughlin, a graduate of FSU with dual degrees in international affairs and political science, says she can’t wait to immerse herself culturally.

“Going out there and talking with people in person and really learning the manners will really help me feel more confident in my fluency in Arabic,” she said. “To see how people behave, how they greet each other and see them go through life in this culture, you get a different perspective.”

Lauren Thornberg
Thornberg, a master’s student in city and regional planning in Lewes, Delaware, will use the CLS to continue her study of Mandarin Chinese.

Thornberg’s CLS will be completed online, a fact which she says is not necessarily a disadvantage given that she has already been to China twice, including a year spent working as the father. Whether in China or from a computer in her parents’ basement where she says she will be working, Thornberg said she was glad she got the CLS.

“Since I started grad school, I lost some of my fluency,” she said of her Chinese. “So I’m looking forward to this level of intensive study and just the opportunity to continue my Chinese studies.”

“My specialty is environmental planning, which involves climate change and resilience,” she said. “In China, there are many successes and losses when it comes to resilience to climate change. They are the pioneers of advanced solutions to flooding and heat problems. These solutions could be brought to us and it would be beneficial to help communicate them to the Americans. This will help give me the tools to do so.

Comments are closed.