Critical Language Scholarship Program | Alumni Development Fund

Alumni Development Fund

The CLS Alumni Development Fund (ADF) periodically offers small grants to alumni of the CLS Program through a competitive application process. The ADF has provided opportunities for alumni to continue their language learning, pursue career development goals, and participate in community outreach related to CLS languages and their corresponding world regions. Particular emphasis is placed on projects with an impact beyond the individual applicant, reaching students, CLS alumni, or others in their community.

The ADF is not currently open for applications.

Examples of previous Alumni Development Fund projects can be found below.

Mrinalini Watson (Hindi 2018), Nicholas Thomason (Hindi 2018), Sophia Seidenberg (Hindi 2018), and Ella Parsons (Hindi 2018), 2018 ADF recipients, completed a project to support teenage girls’ literacy in rural Rajasthan. They engaged 28 girls between the ages of 12 and 20 who had dropped out of school in their unique program, which included an intensive two-month onsite literacy camp followed by…
Mrilalini Watson
Hindi 2018
Ella Parsons
Hindi 2018
Nicholas Thomason
Hindi 2018
Sophia Seidenberg
Hindi 2018

Amanda Yao (Chinese 2019), Benjamin Gertsen (Chinese 2008, 2009), and Christopher Yao (Chinese 2015), with their global health diplomacy organization, Kids Change the World, have worked in recent years to raise funds to provide corrective surgeries for children born with cleft lip and/or palate. To further their work, they applied for a 2020 Alumni Development Fund grant to develop their Stories …
Amanda Yao
Chinese 2019
Benjamin Gertsen
Chinese 2008
Chinese 2009
Christopher Yao
Chinese 2015

In 2017, CLS Alumni Development Fund recipient Troy Spier (Swahili 2017) and several African colleagues who sought a venue for advanced graduate students and junior scholars to share their work founded the Arusha Working Papers in African Linguistics, an open-access journal. In recent years, Troy and his colleagues formed an editorial board, reached out to universities across Africa, developed an…
Troy Spier
Swahili 2017

Olivia Moffett (Chinese 2018) used her Alumni Development Fund grant to host a successful Chinese New Year celebration for Washington D.C.-area CLS alumni in early February 2020. She offered a learning opportunity by engaging a speaker from the George Washington University Confucius Institute and sharing traditional games and snacks. Alumni from a variety of languages attended and enjoyed the opp…
Olivia Moffett
Chinese 2018

Supported by a 2020 CLS Alumni Development Fund grant Aubrey Menard (Russian 2013) ran a Mongolian short story and essay writing competition as part of her commitment to help more Mongolians, who are very underrepresented in publication, share their own stories with the world. She engaged nine prominent Mongolian authors to serve as judges and received 248 submissions, with entrants ranging from …
Aubrey Menard
Russian 2013

Rawan Mandwee (Arabic 2018) received a CLS Alumni Development Fund award to host the first annual Chai & Chobi: Iraqi Culture night with the Iraqi Student Association at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in early March. The aim of the event was to provide a space for students with Iraqi backgrounds to celebrate their cultural heritage and allow those unfamiliar with it to learn about Iraqi cul…
Rawan Mandwee
Arabic 2018

Krizia Lopez (Chinese 2010) founded Puentes Community Translators in Queens, New York with the mission of reducing language and resource barriers for immigrants by training local bilingual young adults in the community as translators. Supported by a 2020 CLS Alumni Development Fund grant, Krizia had partnered with a local high school to hold in-person training for Spanish and Chinese-speaking stu…
Krizia Lopez
Chinese 2010

Yasin Khan (Urdu 2014) formed an Urdu Club with heritage Urdu speakers of varying fluency in the San Francisco Bay Area. The club was formed when Yasin found that many Urdu heritage speakers, although they may have older relatives who speak the language fluently, were not comfortable having open conversations due to their respect for their elders. The club met virtually for the first few months o…
Yasin Khan
Urdu 2014

Andi Kao (Indonesian 2019) organized an exhibit of artwork produced by Indonesian migrant fishermen in Taiwan, held in-person in September 2020. Andi’s goal was to provide a showcase for items of self-expression by people from a community that is marginalized in the dominant culture of Taiwan, thereby contributing to a more holistic picture of the lives of Southeast Asian migrant fishermen there.…
Andi Kao
Indonesian 2019

Damian Harris-Hernandez (Turkish 2012) sought support from the 2020 ADF to improve his oral and aural Turkish language skills with the purpose of assisting refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. In 2017, Damian founded the Refugee Translation Project, a non-profit that provides free translation services to refugees. While he frequently provides translation services, he found himself unable to fulfil…
Damian Harris-Hernandez
Turkish 2012