Polylingual alumna returns to USC to recruit for Critical Language Scholarship Program

When Stephanie Clough was an undergraduate at USC several years ago, she spent countless hours doing two things she dearly loved: reading articles and books in Russian, German and French and listening to Web newscasts from each of those countries.

In her spare time she also sought out native speakers on campus to help build her language fluency.

“I started with French and German in high school and figured out I was pretty good with languages, but I actually don’t know what convinced me to enter Russian as my major when I was filling out my USC application. I’m glad I did, though,” Clough said.

All of that language training landed Clough in the perfect job. She’s now a program officer for the Critical Language Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Clough is coming to USC on Oct. 2 to recruit students for the intensive overseas language program, which fully covers the cost of seven to 10 weeks of summer study at more than 20 sites abroad.

In addition to Russian, Clough’s specialty, the program offers study in the following languages: Azerbaijani, Bangla, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Chinese and Japanese. The program is part of a U.S. government effort to to increase the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages.

Clough’s presentation is sponsored by the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs and will be held at noon in Petigru 108. For her part, Clough is looking forward to returning to her alma mater.

"I’m very excited to come back to USC — I loved every minute of my time there and still can’t believe six years have passed since I left,” said Clough, who graduated in 2007. “It’s strange to think there’s a brand new generation stumbling over bricks on the Horseshoe.”

Earlier this year, Lauryn Lehman, a junior anthropology major in the South Carolina Honors College, became the 15th USC student to receive a Critical Language Scholarship. She attended an intensive Arabic language institute this past summer in Tangier, Morocco.

For more information, contact the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs at ofsp@sc.edu or 803-777-0958.

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