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SLU Student Receives Critical Language Scholarship from U.S. State Department

03/09/2022Media Inquiries

Maggie Rotermund
Senior Media Relations Specialist

Reserved for members of the media.

Saint Louis University’s Office of Competitive Fellowships and Scholarships announces that first-year student Maryum Khaja has been selected as a recipient of the Critical Language Scholarship.

The Critical Language Scholarship Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. It is a summer study abroad opportunity for American college and university students to learn languages essential to America’s engagement with the world. Programs have continued to operate virtually during the pandemic. 

Maryum Khaja
Maryum Khaja. Submitted photo.

Khaja is a biology major and a member of the University Honors Program. She applied for the CLS to learn Arabic and worked with Brooke Taylor, Ph.D., in the Office of Competitive Fellowships & Scholarships to craft her application and polish her essays.

“The CLS is such an amazing opportunity because students participate over the summer, so it can work for virtually every major,” Taylor said. “Intensive study of a critical language is an excellent way to expand your horizons and enhance your career in a wide variety of disciplines.” 

Khaja’s motivation for applying was both personal and professional.

“As someone who grew up learning fragmented Arabic through religion and culture, I have always wanted to get a comprehensive grasp on the language, which isn’t easy to do in the United States,” she said. “Receiving the CLS scholarship has given me the opportunity to spend my summer deepening my understanding of the Arabic language and culture while cultivating my world view.”

CLS applications go through two rounds of selection panels and are ultimately selected on the basis of merit with consideration of the applicant’s commitment to language learning, the connection between language and applicant’s goals, the applicant’s adaptability, sensitivity, and resilience, and their contribution to the CLS Program’s goal to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the host communities.

Students who wish to know more about the Critical Language Scholarship can reach out to SLU’s Office of Competitive Fellowships & Scholarships at