Illustration of globe and foreign languages

Students awarded prestigious State Department scholarship to study foreign languages

June 11, 2021

Student Experience

Six University of Richmond students — the most in one year in the institution’s history — have been awarded U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships to study foreign languages this summer.

The prestigious CLS Program is part of a U.S. government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages, which the U.S Department of State defines as those languages less commonly taught in U.S. schools but essential for America’s national security and economic prosperity.

CLS scholarship winners spend eight to 10 weeks abroad or virtually studying one of 15 critical languages, including Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, or Urdu.

To date, 22 Spiders have received this scholarship. The 2021 CLS scholarship recipients include these students:

Marco Barcenas Consuelo, a sophomore from Round Lake Beach, Illinois, plans to study Portuguese this summer. Barcenas Consuelo is majoring in cognitive science and minoring in computer science and linguistics. A native speaker of Spanish, Barcenas Consuelo hopes to attend graduate school for Portuguese and Spanish linguistics.

Meher Kaur, a senior from Germantown, Maryland, will study Punjabi ahead of becoming a field research associate with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab in Punjab, India. Kaur is a double major in economic and global studies with a concentration in development and change and minor in Arabic studies. Kaur plans to pursue a career related to economic development in India.

Genevieve Markee, a senior from Richmond, will study in Guilin, China. Markee is majoring in political science and Chinese with a minor in English. As a junior, Markee co-wrote a Chinese short story that will be published in the upcoming issue of the JUHE Supplement, an annual magazine dedicated to the publication of essays written by students of Chinese.

Sarah Schalkoff, a sophomore originally from Yamajuchi, Japan, who now lives in Danville, Kentucky, will study Indonesian. Schalkoff is a leadership studies major and English minor. Schalkoff will complete her award virtually through the Universitas Negeri Malang.

Adelaide Tracey, a junior from Ithaca, New York, will study Urdu, the official national language of Pakistan. Tracey is a double major in French and global studies with a concentration in politics and governance and a minor in music.