Matthew Palmer ’16 and Evelyn Torsher ’17 have been awarded the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). Palmer will study Chinese in China and Torsher will study Arabic in Jordan, Oman or 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.
Palmer is a Chinese language and literature and computer science double major. He spent summer 2014 studying advanced Chinese at the Middlebury Language School. At Hamilton Palmer edited a “Chinese Primer” textbook, is a teaching assistant in Chinese and in computer science.
He served as a Chinese Department website developer where he reformatted and regularly updated the Hamilton College Chinese Department's departmental web space with new webpages documenting upcoming events from the school's "Understanding China Series," introductions to "China on the Hill" radio broadcasts, as well as information on past graduates and current professors. Palmer has also served as treasurer of HACE (Hamilton American Chinese Exchange).
He is the son of Elizabeth Jane Kicklighter and William Palmer of Chevy Chase, Md., and graduated from St. Anselm’s Abbey School.
Torsher is a world politics concentrator. She studied at Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2014 and will spend fall 2015 studying abroad in Jordan through the Middlebury program. At Hamilton Torsher is a teaching assistant in Arabic and an Admission office tour guide. She received a Kirkland Endowment Advisory Committee Research Grant in 2014 through which she will write and publish an entry-level Arabic textbook with a professor.
Torsher is active in Hamilton’s Student Assembly and the College orchestra and writes for the Spectator. She was a Project SHINE instructor in ESL, and during the past two summers has worked at Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association in Rochester, Minn., as an interpreter and translation coordinator. Torsher is the daughter of Lynn and Laurence Torsher of Rochester, Minn., and graduated from Rochester Lourdes High School.
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.