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UofSC Students Awarded Critical Language Scholarships

Four USC students awarded and three named alternates for critical language study through the Critical Language Scholarship


Four students have been awarded Critical Language Scholarships to undertake intensive language study abroad. Madison Bradley and Avery Kral have been offered the chance to study Arabic, Nicolas Ferguson to study Chinese, and Kylee Yturralde to study Indonesian. This brings USC’s total of CLS award winners to 31 since it was established in 2006. Tyler Quehl, Kathryn Ramey and Mariah Stewart have been named alternates for the Chinese and Russian programs, respectively. Madison, Nicolas, Avery and Kylee join approximately 550 competitively-selected American students at U.S. colleges and universities who will received a CLS award in 2019.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. CLS scholars gain critical language and cultural skills that enable them to contribute to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. CLS provides scholarships to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to spend eight to ten weeks overseas studying one of 15 critical languages. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. CLS scholars are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future careers.  CLS plays an important role in preparing U.S. students for the 21st century’s globalized workforce, increasing American competitiveness, and contributing to national security. CLS scholars serve as citizen ambassadors, representing the diversity of the United States abroad and building lasting relationships with people in their host countries. CLS participants represent a broad diversity of backgrounds and perspectives.

Since 2006, CLS has awarded scholarships to more than 5,700 American students to learn critical languages around the world. CLS scholars are among the more than 50,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. These exchange programs build respect and positive relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The CLS program is administered by American Councils for International Education.

For further information about the Critical Language Scholarship or other exchange programs offered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, please contact and visit our websites at and


Bradley is a sophomore SCHC McNair Scholar majoring in International Business and Finance with minors in French, Islamic World Studies, and African Studies. She serves as Chief Operating Officer of Sigma Omega Upsilon, an International Business Fraternity at USC. Other activities involve tutoring English to refugees at a local clinic and conducting research under Dr. Stanley Dubinsky on ethnolinguistic conflict. She hopes to use her Arabic skills to pursue a career in both national security and emerging markets.

Ferguson is a junior and member of the International Business and Chinese Enterprise cohort. He is a 2017-2018 Boren Scholar, Army ROTC National Scholarship recipient, and a brother of the professional fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. Following the CLS, he will continue his language studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong for the fall semester. His plan after graduation is to commission as an officer in the US Army.

Kral is a sophomore SCHC Stamps Scholar studying Classics, Philosophy, and Global Studies. His current activities include Philosophy Club, Ink! Undergraduate English Association, Green Room Productions and English tutoring. In the future he hopes to use his language skills while working as a professor, NGO legal consultant, or journalist.  

Quehl is a SCHC McNair Scholar majoring in International Business, Management and Marketing and minoring in Chinese Studies. He was elected as a writer for Off Off Broadway – a student-run musical theatre organization at USC and wrote a full-length musical named The Restaurant for their fall show. He also participated in the Palmetto Chinese Start contest on campus where he played piano and sang in Chinese. In the future he hopes to be an entrepreneur working in Southeast Asia.

Ramey is a Russian and Global Studies student in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a past recipient of the National Security Language Initiative for Youth Scholarship for language study in Moscow, Russian American Foundation IEW Scholarship for her work promoting global understanding during international education week, and she lives in the Russian language annex at Thornwell. In the future she hopes to pursue a career in the Foreign Service.

Stewart is a senior Capstone Scholar majoring in Russian and International Studies. She was selected as a Boren Scholar to study in an immersive Russian-language program in Latvia for the 2017-2018 academic year. She writes historical fiction and serves as the President of the Russian Club at USC. In the future she hopes to use her Russian to work for a non-profit organization.

Yturralde is a sophomore SCHC McNair Scholar pursuing a Baccalaureus Artium Scientiae MD degree with a focus in Biology. She is a member of Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity and Han’Go International. She works in two different labs researching FMR1 Permutation and LIS1 Mutation. She is also a member of the ultimate frisbee team, Scorch. Her future goal is to become a pediatric surgeon.


CLS candidates were supported during the application process by the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs (, established in 1994 to assist students applying for national fellowship competitions.  To visit and to access the CLS website, visit

Students interested in the CLS and other national fellowships are assisted by the Office of Fellowships & Scholar Programs. For more information contact the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs at 777-0958, or visit us online at

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