Critical Language Scholarship Program | CLS Alumni News

CLS Alumni News

Spring 2022

The CLS Program is as exciting and busy as ever this spring! CLS Refresh and Alumni Mentoring Circles wrapped up in February and we welcomed the new 2022 Alumni Ambassadors to Washington, D.C. in March for the first in-person event since before the pandemic. We are also pleased to announce a new program: CLS Spark!

Announcing CLS Spark

Tanajia Moye-Green (Swahili 2021)

CLS Spark is a pilot virtual initiative for U.S. undergraduate students to learn three of the CLS languages that require previous study to be eligible for the CLS summer program: Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. 

Designed to leverage best practices in online language learning developed by the CLS Program during the pandemic, CLS Spark provides American students the access and opportunity to start their language learning journeys even when these critical languages may not be offered on their campuses or when they may have responsibilities that limit their ability to go overseas. Participants will spend an academic year on the program virtually learning with our partner institutes abroad.

Because CLS Spark is designed to provide an opportunity to students who do not otherwise have access to critical language study, CLS alumni are not eligible to apply for CLS Spark. We encourage you to share this news with your networks to inspire others to learn critical languages. You can learn more about the program on the CLS website here:

Introducing the 2022 Alumni Ambassadors

2022 Alumni Ambassadors in Washington, D.C.

At the end of March, we welcomed the new 2022 Alumni Ambassadors to Washington, D.C. for the twelfth annual Alumni Ambassador Forum, the first in-person event held by the CLS Program since before the pandemic. The Alumni Ambassadors learned about representing and supporting the program and had a lively discussion with Ethan Rosenzweig, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs at the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

This year’s group of 22 ambassadors come from fifteen U.S. states and have attended or currently attend 33 higher education institutions, including four community colleges. Many study in fields that are less commonly represented in intensive language study programs, such as animal sciences and engineering. The ambassadors represent a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, and we look forward to the diverse perspectives they bring as leaders of the alumni community.

We’ll be publishing their profiles on the Alumni Ambassador page throughout the spring—follow along to get to know them.

CLS Refresh Recap

Chisom Obasih (Japanese 2017)

Last fall, the CLS Program launched CLS Refresh, a new language learning offering for alumni to contribute to the continued development of critical language skills with the goal of integrating those language skills into their academic and professional careers. Alumni from 49 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia participated, receiving two hours per week of individualized virtual tutoring sessions of varying durations between October 2021 and the end of February 2022.

Alumni who participated in CLS Refresh reported on their experiences with this pilot program, with most sharing that they enjoyed the flexibility of working individually with their tutors and the opportunity to continue their language learning. 95% of the alumni who completed the evaluation reported that CLS Refresh was a valuable experience and that it helped them further develop their language skills. Many remarked on their progress over the course of CLS Refresh with one sharing, “I was generally very pleased with how much progress I made. The difference between the first lesson and the last was quite dramatic in terms of my ability to speak and comprehend.”

Over the last few months, we’ve talked with several alumni participating in CLS Refresh – check out our social media to see where they are now!

Alumni News

Keep up to date with CLS alumni in the news by following our News and Stories page!

Abiodun Adeoye (Swahili 2020)

Abiodun Adeoye (Swahili 2020), Salamata Bah (Korean 2018), Anna Baker (Arabic 2019), Keightley Dudgeon (Arabic 2018), Jenna Iskandar (Chinese 2021), Ramatu Muhammed (Turkish 2021), Kelly Nguyen (Portuguese 2021), and Joy Woods (Japanese 2021) were all selected to be 2022 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellows. A U.S. Department of State program administered by Howard University, the Rangel Fellowship seeks to promote greater diversity and excellence in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. The Rangel Program provides financial support for graduate study for students planning to serve in the Foreign Service.

Salamata Bah (Korean 2018) was featured by her alma mater, Pomona College, for being selected as a 2022 Rangel Fellow.

SUNY Potsdam published an article congratulating Ramatu Muhammed (Turkish 2021) on being selected as a 2022 Rangel Fellow.

Anna Baker (Arabic 2019) was interviewed by her alma mater, Rutgers University, after being named a 2022 Rangel Fellow.

Hannah Cole (Korean 2018) was interviewed by her alma mater, University of Hawaii at Manoa, after being selected as a 2022 Presidential Management Fellow.

Keightley Dudgeon (Arabic 2018) was featured in an article by her alma mater, Western Kentucky University, congratulating her for being selected as a 2022 Rangel Fellow.

Kelly Nguyen (Portuguese 2021) spoke with her alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University, after being named a 2022 Rangel Fellow.

Victoria Gilbert (Chinese 2019) was interviewed about her story in VoyageDallas. She discussed her upbringing, academic journey, participation in the CLS Program, and current professional pursuits as well as her new podcast, Aftergrad.

Brandon Ramsay (Arabic 2016) participated as a panelist during the 13th annual HBCU Foreign Policy Conference, a U.S. Department of State event. Brandon’s panel, “Study Abroad and International Academic Exchange as a Path to Service, Policy, and Practice” focused on alumni experiences of government-funded programs. Brandon is an alumnus of Howard University and Georgetown University and is now a Foreign Policy Legislative Correspondent in the Office of U.S. Senator Chris Coons, where he covers the Middle East.

CLS Alumni Society

The CLS Alumni Society (CLSAS) is an independent, alumni-led organization that provides alumni with avenues for professional development, community engagement, and language retention. To learn more about CLSAS, including how to become a member, visit their website:

Send Us Your Updates

Do you have updates to share with the CLS Program? We love it when alumni keep in touch—email us any time at to share what’s new in your life. We also love being tagged in your posts on social media! (Facebook and Instagram @CLScholarship, Twitter @CLSscholarship)

As alumni are always interested in the process of using their Non-Competitive Eligibility for Federal Civil Service hiring, we’d like to hear from you if you’ve been through the process. If you’ve successfully used your NCE for a new job, please email us about it.

Posted Date

April 13, 2022