Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Students Selected for Language Study Scholarships

(top) Grace Michaels, Kinsey Kuhlman; (bottom) Nicholas Hearing, Jaime Lopez

Four undergraduates with at least one major in the college are among the six FSU students recently selected to receive nationally competitive language study scholarships through initiatives funded by the federal government.

Two COSSPP students won Boren Awards, offered through an initiative of the National Security Education Program, while two others won Critical Language Scholarships, offered through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Both awards are intended to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages critical to national security and economic prosperity. 

Boren Awards allow students to study abroad for up to a year in areas of the world critical to U.S. national security. The scholarship provides up to $20,000 for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions that are underrepresented in study abroad programs and that are critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East.

This year, the Boren Awards program has offered scholarship recipients a flexible start date between August and March because of travel restrictions due to COVID-19. 

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) provides American undergraduate students from diverse disciplines with eight to 10 weeks abroad while studying one of 15 critical languages. The program’s goal is for each scholarship recipient to act as a citizen ambassador in their country while finding their place in a globalized workforce. 

Unfortunately, while CLS still recognizes the achievement of being selected as a Scholar, they have decided to suspend all 2020 summer trips in accordance with the governmental travel advisories due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Instead they have invited grantees for several languages to participate in a CLS Virtual Institute and all grantees can reapply for the next cycle.

The college’s 2020 Boren Scholarship recipients are:

Grace Michaels, a senior receiving a dual degree in international affairs and Russian language and literature, will study Russian in Almaty, Kazahkstan. In the future, she plans to commission as a U.S. Naval Officer. 

“I am sure that an increased understanding of a foreign language and culture crucial to American foreign policy will contribute greatly to serving my country and my own professional development,” Michaels said.

Kinsey Kuhlman, a sophomore double majoring in international affairs and Latin American and Caribbean studies, will study in Florianópolis, Brazil. Her future plans are to become a Foreign Service Officer.

“This experience will help me develop an expertise in Latin American languages and affairs that I hope to use in the future as a Foreign Service Officer,” Kuhlman said.

This year’s COSSPP Critical Language Scholarship recipients are:

Nicholas Hearing, a junior Presidential Scholar majoring in international affairs and economics, was chosen to study at the Arab American Language Institute in Meknes, Morocco. After graduating, he plans to attend graduate school, participate in the Peace Corps and work in the U.S. Foreign Service.

“Less than a year ago I felt CLS was out of my reach and unattainable, so I feel incredibly honored to have received the award,” Hearing said. “I am also deeply grateful for the guidance and encouragement of Josh Stanek in the Office of National Fellowships and Jessica Malo Valentine in the Arabic Program, without whom this opportunity would not have been possible. Despite the program’s understandable suspension this year, I look forward to applying again next year.”

Jaime Lopez, a senior Presidential Scholar majoring in international affairs and economics from Miami, was selected to study Russian in Vladimir, Russia. Following graduation, he will attend Georgetown Law and plans to work as an international lawyer and policy advisor for Russian and Eastern European affairs. 

“I was humbled to be chosen for this award, and tremendously excited for the chance to represent the United States abroad – particularly in Russia,” Lopez said. “Despite the suspension, however, I look forward to the opportunity to apply again and perhaps redeem that chance. I’d particularly like to thank my recommenders, as well as the Office of National Fellowships, and all the work these individuals put into helping me secure a seat in such a prestigious award.”

Sara Malmquist, a sophomore majoring in international affairs and Yasmine Mattoussi, a senior majoring in international relations, were recognized as two of the three FSU alternates for the Critical Language Scholarship.

For more information on national scholarships, contact the Office of National Fellowships or the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards.