Critical Language Scholarship Program | 2019 Alumni Ambassador Year…
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2019 Alumni Ambassador Year in Review


In January, Jane Palomera Moore (Japanese 2018) had an article published in Public Diplomacy Magazine on research inspired by her time on the CLS Program about the history and status of the Ainu people, an indigenous population in Japan.

In early March, Tyler Young (Russian 2018) and Sarah Juarez (Chinese 2018) attended the Diversity Abroad Global Student Leadership Summit in Boston, Massachusetts. Sarah shared, “This conference inspired me to continue telling my story and to continue encouraging others to study abroad.”


In late March, 2019 CLS Alumni Ambassadors gathered in Washington D.C. for the Alumni Ambassador Forum, where they built community together, took part in professional development, and advocated for continued public support of the program with their Representatives and Senators on Capitol Hill. 

Following the CLS Alumni Society conference at the end of March, Naimul Chowdhury (Chinese 2018) was elected to the Leadership Board as Data Coordinator.

Ambassadors began recruitment activities, with Holden Fitzgerald (Chinese 2018) giving information sessions to upper-level Chinese classes at the University of Denver and Naimul Chowdhury (Chinese 2018) collaborating with Gilman Scholarship and Fulbright alumni to give a presentation on Department of State exchange programs at the New College of Florida. Tyler Young (Russian 2018) also gave a workshop on the CLS application process at Santa Monica College.

Bringing alumni together, Camille Bismonte (Indonesian 2018) collaborated with the CLS Alumni Society Leadership Board to organize a happy hour for DC-area CLS alumni.


Camille Bismonte (Indonesian 2018), Sarina Haryanto (Indonesian 2018), and Olivia Moffett (Chinese 2018) shared their valuable insights on CLS Indonesian and Chinese programs with 2019 participants during pre-departure orientations in Washington, D.C.

Camille Bismonte (Indonesian 2018) was awarded Best Speech in the 2019 Indonesian Speech and Storytelling Competition, sponsored by the government of Indonesia through the Ministry of Education and Culture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The competition was part of a larger event celebrating 70 years of Indonesian and American relations. Camille’s speech, which was given in Indonesian, discussed the mottos of Indonesia and the United States, “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” (Unity in Diversity), and “E Pluribus Unum.”

Sarina Haryanto (Indonesian 2018) and Olivia Moffett (Chinese 2018) joined the CLS-Gilman Advisor Workshop hosted by Towson University, where the Alumni Ambassadors shared their experiences of the CLS Program and application process with advisors from around the country.

In August and September, several 2019 Alumni Ambassadors were selected to attend one of the three U.S. Future Leaders Topical Seminars hosted by University of Colorado Colorado Springs, University of Wyoming, and University of Texas at Austin. Simone Yuille (Swahili 2018) attended the first of the Topical Seminars in Colorado, on the topic of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Mahli Knutson (Chinese 2017, Japanese 2018), Sarah Juarez (Chinese 2018), Taina Orellana (Chinese 2018), Naimul Chowdhury (Chinese 2018), and Sarina Haryanto (Indonesian 2018) were all present at the seminar hosted in Austin, which included a site visit to Google.

Jane Palomera Moore (Japanese 2018) wrote an in-depth and engaging article for students interested in applying to the CLS Program, explaining the application process and why students should consider applying.

Continuing outreach to prospective applicants, Jason Chen held both an information session and essay writing workshop at the University of Utah. Naimul Chowdhury (Chinese 2018), continued to spread the word at New College of Florida and Sarina Haryanto (Indonesian 2018) gave a presentation to a Social Innovation Fellows class at the University of Maryland-College Park. Ethan Jewell (Korean 2018) also held an information session at the University of Texas at Austin.

Ambassadors also attended study abroad fairs, with Mahli Knutson (Chinese 2017, Japanese 2018) representing the CLS Program at the Castleton University Study Abroad Fair in Vermont and Jane Moore (Japanese 2018) spreading the word about the program at the CUNY Queens College Study Abroad Fair. Holden Fitzgerald (Chinese 2018) talked to students about the program at a study abroad fair for three Denver-area institutions: University of Colorado-Denver, Metropolitan State University, and Community College of Denver. He also worked with the University of Denver International Studies School and advisors from the Career Center to hold a CLS presentation and application workshop.

Bethany Mazurek (Korean 2018), who is currently a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in South Korea, gave a virtual presentation to the Korean Culture Club at her alma mater, Grand Valley State University.


With the application for the 2020 CLS Program open from mid-September to mid-November, Alumni Ambassadors were quite busy in the fall spreading the word to as many students as they could reach about the wonderful opportunities the CLS Program offers.

  • Jacob Burch-Konda (Chinese 2018) represented the CLS Program at the Oklahoma State University Fellowships Fair, including sharing photos of his time on the program and souvenirs from Turkey and Azerbaijan. 
  • Tara Casebolt (Hindi 2018) gave an information session in coordination with the Center for Global Initiatives at the University of North Carolina.
  • Jason Chen (Chinese 2018) gave a writing workshop at the University of Utah, where he worked with students applying for the CLS Program.
  • Holden Fitzgerald (Chinese 2018) visited language classes at the University of Denver to inspire students to consider applying for the 2020 program.
  • Sarina Haryanto (Indonesian 2018) gave an information session at the George Washington University, assisted CLS Program Assistant Sulianys Hernandez Leon and Outreach Specialist Jessica Klink with an information session at Howard University, and supported CLS Program Officers Syejoeng Kim and Jay Forrester at the Gallaudet University Go Global Fair.
  • Olivia Moffett (Chinese 2018) represented the program at the University of Virginia Global Fellowships Fair, where she also gave an information session and visited Lord Fairfax Community College to spread the word about the CLS Program. She also joined CLS Program Officer Syejeong Kim for a visit to Northern Virginia Community College.
  • Aasha Shaik (Arabic 2018) represented the CLS Program at the Rutgers University-Camden Campus study abroad fair on the day of the 2020 CLS Program application deadline. She spoke to several students who were getting ready to submit their applications.
  • Tyler Young (Russian 2018) gave an information session to Russian Flagship students at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Jacob Burch-Konda (Turkish 2018) wrote an article for his university’s news about a delegation of the Azerbaijani government to Oklahoma State University to celebrate a new partnership focused on agricultural education. This topic is of particular interest to Jacob, as a student in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources as well as the Animal Science Department and having studied Turkish in Azerbaijan.

Jacob said, "As part of the forums I got to speak to a lot of Azerbaijani business owners, which was really neat because some of them did not speak English and I was likely one of very few Oklahomans able to communicate with them without a translator. I loved that I was able to welcome several members of the delegation to my state in a language they understood and as someone who had an understanding of their culture."

Jason Chen (Chinese 2018) collaborated with the Utah Fulbright Alumni Association to hold an alumni networking reception at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.

Oliva Moffett (Chinese 2018), along with several other CLS Chinese alumni from over the years, attended the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of U.S.-China Student Exchanges, organized by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Jane Palomera Moore (Japanese 2018) wrote an article elucidating Non-Competitive Eligibility from the perspective of a U.S. Department of State exchange alumna, including tips for using NCE and places to find jobs that use it.

Continuing her work as a Boren Scholar in Indonesia this year, Camille Bismonte (Indonesian 2018) represented the U.S. at the 12th Annual Bali Democracy Forum under the 3rd Annual Bali Democratic Student Conference, where 156 participants from 45 countries came together to discuss inclusive democracy. Camille was also selected to be one of fifteen participants to serve on the selection committee for the final outcome document of the forum.

Posted Date

December 30, 2019

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