Winners of U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Scholarships
Eight University of Pittsburgh students have been awarded 2016 Critical Language Scholarships from the U.S. Department of State. Pitt’s scholars—three graduate students and five undergraduates—are separately spending this summer in the countries of Azerbaijan, China, Indonesia, Tajikistan, and Tanzania.
A part of the U.S. government’s efforts to expand foreign language fluency, the Critical Language Scholarship Program supports language instruction and cultural enrichment projects abroad. Recipients, who already have some degree of fluency in their scholarship language, typically spend eight to ten weeks in their host countries, honing reading and speaking skill sets.
The 2016 scholars come from the University’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and the Swanson School of Engineering.
Nicholas R. Caskey, of Romulus, N.Y., will study Farsi through a program administered by the American Councils for International Education in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. A student in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Caskey’s research focuses on governance and security issues in Central Asia and the Middle East. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Caskey served in Kabul and Afghanistan.
Emilie R. Coakley, of Lexington, Mass., will study Indonesian at the State University of Malang in Malang, Indonesia. A graduate student studying ethnomusicology, she also is a recipient of Pitt’s Indo-Pacific Graduate Student Research Grant. Coakley has had prior trips to Indonesia through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grant and a Southeast Asia Fund Award. She plans to study Indonesian Christian music.
Alexis T. Crossland, of Rochester, Pa., will study Chinese at the Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China. Previously, she completed a six-month intensive language program at the Beijing Foreign Studies University during the spring and summer of 2015. A senior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese language and environmental studies, Crossland intends to specialize in environmental issues in China.
Steven R. Moon, of Cranberry Township, Pa., will study Turkish at the Azerbaijan University of Languages in Baku, Azerbaijan. A graduate student in ethnomusicology, Moon has also received the Department of State’s Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship and has been a member of the Society for Ethnomusicology since 2014. Moon will use the Critical Language Scholarship to study issues related to gender and sexual identity in Turkish culture.
Andrew C. Nitz, of Upper Darby Township, Pa., will study Turkish at the Azerbaijan University of Languages in Baku, Azerbaijan. A senior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian studies, his previous honors include Pitt’s Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship. In the summer of 2015, he participated in an intensive Turkish language program in Istanbul. Nitz plans to pursue a career as an interpreter.
Roisin O’Dowd, of Stroudsburg, Pa., will study Persian through a program administered by the American Councils for International Education in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. A junior majoring in molecular biology, she is a recipient of Pitt’s Brackenridge Research Fellowship and Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s NPHS-STEM Scholarship. O’Dowd looks to explore the cultures and global health issues of the Middle East.
Ashley N. Saxe, of Omaha, Neb., will study Swahili while working with the nonprofit organization Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke Training Centre for Development Cooperation in Arusha, Tanzania. She is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in rehabilitation sciences. In the summer of 2015, she studied community development at the University of Iringa in Tanzania. Saxe intends to work as a physical therapist in East Africa.
Zoe Toigo, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., will study Mandarin at Soochow University in Suzhou, China. A sophomore majoring in electrical engineering, she is the recipient of Pitt’s Merit Scholarship and the Outstanding Student Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Other Stories From This Issue
June 13, 2016
On the Freedom Road
Follow a group of Pitt students on the Returning to the Roots of Civil Rights bus tour, a nine-day, 2,300-mile journey crisscrossing five states.
Day 1: The Awakening
Day 2: Deep Impressions
Day 3: Music, Montgomery, and More
Day 4: Looking Back, Looking Forward
Day 5: Learning to Remember
Day 6: The Mountaintop
Day 7: Slavery and Beyond
Day 8: Lessons to Bring Home
Day 9: Final Lessons