SLCL students receive Critical Language Scholarships

Caleb Apperson and Dahlia Davis selected as part of U.S. government program to enhance skills in foreign languages


College of LAS students, from left, Caleb Apperson and Dahlia Davis were awarded U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships to study foreign languages this summer. (Photos provided)

SLCL students Caleb Apperson and Dahlia Davis have been awarded U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships to study foreign languages this summer.

Apperson, of Champaign, a graduate of Centennial High School, was offered a Critical Language Scholarship to study Chinese. Apperson is a junior majoring in East Asian languages and cultures. At Illinois, he has worked as an intern at Japan House, helping to educate the community about Japanese culture, aesthetics, and art forms. He also is a member of Bridges International, a community outreach group that helps international students acclimate to campus life and American culture. According to Apperson, his goal is to become a foreign service officer with the State Department.

Davis, of Plainfield, Illinois, and a graduate of Plainfield East High School, was offered a Critical Language Scholarship to study Korean. A James Scholar honors student, Davis is a junior double majoring in linguistics and East Asian languages and cultures. She is studying fourth-year Korean and has previously participated in the Middlebury College Summer Korean Immersion Program with a Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship. Davis also performs in the Marching Illini and the Philharmonia Orchestra and serves as the vice president of the American Sign Language and Culture Club. Davis said she aspires to work on Korean unification issues within a government agency.

The Critical Language Scholarship program is part of a U.S. government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign language and cultural skills to enable them to contribute to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. The program provides full scholarships to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to spend eight to 10 weeks abroad – or online, depending on COVID-19 conditions – studying one of 15 critical languages.

The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. Scholars are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future careers. Approximately 10 percent of the 4,500 applicants nationwide received a Critical Language Scholarship in 2022.

Editor's note: This story first appeared on the Illinois News Bureau and College of LAS homepages.

Illinois News Bureau