Brenda Narvaez '17 and Rachel Williams ’17 have been awarded the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). Narvaez will study Arabic will study in Oman and Williams will study Arabic in Morocco.  

The CLS is a program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, aimed at offering intensive overseas study in critical need languages.

Narvaez is a Posse scholar from Miami. An interdisciplinary major in Hispanic studies and Arabic, she studied in Amman, Jordan, and Madrid in 2015 and 2016.                            

Narvaez received an Emerson grant for her project “Community Mapping with Day Laborer Women” with Associate Professor of Women’s Studies Anne Lacsamana. Narvaez teaches English to Vietnamese adult immigrants as an ESL instructor, is development chair for the Voices of Color lecture series, and re-entry program facilitator for Hamilton’s Study Abroad office.

Rachel Williams is a world politics major with a concentration in the Middle East. A Dean’s List student, she studied at Princess Sumaya University of Technology, Amman, Jordan, through the CIEE Language and Culture Program in fall 2015.

Rachel Williams
Rachel Williams '17

Williams is captain of the Swimming and Diving team and was named to the 2016-17 NESCAC Winter All-Academic Team. She has been an English tutor for Project SHINE in Utica, a member of the Hamilton College orchestra and a leader of Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The CLS Program is a fully-funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. Aimed at broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, CLS provides study opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.

CLS students receive a minimum of 20 hours per week of classroom instruction and participate in extensive community engagement activities.  In 2006, its inaugural year, the CLS Program offered intensive overseas study in the critical need foreign languages of Arabic, Bangla, Hindi, Punjabi, Turkish and Urdu.

The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

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