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National Fellowships and Scholar Programs

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Critical Language Scholarships empower USC students to become global leaders

Jahleel Johnson, Josh Hughes and Lex Whalen have been awarded the Critical Language Scholarship for intensive language study. This program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, allows American undergraduates and graduate students to spend eight to ten weeks abroad studying languages that are essential to U.S. national security and economic prosperity.

Why it matters: Participants gain valuable language skills and cultural insights that are increasingly important in our globalized world. These three students represent the University of South Carolina's commitment to fostering globally-minded scholars who can help tackle the world's most pressing issues.

Who they are: 

  • Jahleel Johnson is a political science and German major who is currently participating in a youth exchange in Germany. He will use the Critical Language Scholarship to study Turkish at Ankara University. He plans to graduate this summer and will pursue a career in foreign affairs and domestic politics.
  • Josh Hughes, a first-generation college student in the South Carolina Honors College, is majoring in political science and Russian. Hughes will use his scholarship to study Russian in Kyrgyzstan. There, he plans to conduct research for his senior thesis, exploring the effects of Soviet state atheism on the Muslim population of the region. He has also received research funding from the Walker Institute, Honors College and Office of Undergraduate Research. Hughes plans to graduate in the fall.
  • Lex Whalen is a computer science major and an 1801 Scholar, one of the university's top undergraduate merit scholarships. Whalen was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship after teaching himself Japanese. He will study abroad this summer at Toyo University while helping teach English to Japanese adults in the workforce. He aims to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science, with a focus on encryption or artificial intelligence.

Anusha Ghosh has been named an alternate for the Critical Language Scholarship in Bangla and is currently awaiting final results from her program.

National Fellowships & Scholar Programs provides support for Critical Language Scholarship applicants. Students interested in learning more should contact USC’s national fellowships team.

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