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Critical Language Scholarships winners to study Turkish, Arabic

From left to right: Fatima Bawany ’16, Aaron Schaffer ’16, and Saralinda Schell ’19. (University photos / J. Adam Fenster)

Three University students have received Critical Language Scholarships and will be heading overseas this summer to take part in rigorous language and cultural immersion programs.

Fatima Bawany ’16 is heading to Meknes, Morocco, to study Arabic and Arab culture. She is a biology and religion double major from Rochester who spent the 2014–15 academic year studying Arabic language in Oman to prepare for advanced level study this summer. The Gandhi Service Fellow and 2013 Davis Projects for Peace Grant winner will return to Rochester to begin her medical studies at the School of Medicine and Dentistry following her summer in Morocco.

Aaron Schaffer ’16, a second-time recipient of the scholarship who spent his junior fall semester studying in Istanbul, is heading to Baku, Azerbaijan. The international relations major and former Campus Times editor-in-chief will be studying Turkish at a more advanced level than last summer.

Saralinda Schell ’19, who plans to pursue dual degrees in computer science and international relations, is from Bowling Green, Kentucky. She is also a two-time winner of a U.S. Department of State international study scholarship, having previously studied for a year in Gaziantep, Turkey, as a Kennedy-Lugar YES Abroad Scholar while a high-school student. She will further her study of Turkish at the intermediate level in Baku.

Two additional Rochester students were offered Critical Language Scholarships this year but declined in order to pursue other opportunities. The three students who accepted scholarships bring the total participants from the University to 19 since 2006.

The scholarship is a fully-funded program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and is intended to help broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages while building relationships between people of the United States and other countries.

The program immerses students in 14 different languages and is administered by the American Councils for International Education.

The program celebrates its 10th anniversary this summer. It has sent more than 5,000 American undergraduate and graduate students all over the world to learn critical languages.

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