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14 Duke Students Win Nationally Competitive Scholarships for Language Study and Cultural Immersion

DURHAM, N.C. — Fourteen Duke students and alumni were recently awarded the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Scholarship, the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), and the Boren Scholarship. These scholarships enable recipients to enhance and improve their language skills as they carry out their academic studies and research in countries across the globe.

Seven applicants from Duke were awarded DAAD Scholarships. DAAD is the German national agency supporting academic cooperation and offers a range of scholarships and grants to Germany, including one-year research grants and study scholarships. The DAAD program provides funding for living expenses, travel, and support for research efforts.

The Duke students and alumni awarded the 2024 DAAD Scholarships are:

  • Harrison Branner, Class of 2020, Environmental Science and Public Policy
  • Rebecca Liu, Class of 2024, Cell & Molecular Biology and Chemistry
  • Alexandra Masgras, Ph.D. candidate in Art & Art History.
  • Riya Mohan, Class of 2024, Program II titled “The Ethical and Regulatory Issues of Human Genome Editing”
  • Kajal Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D. candidate in German Studies
  • Anna Smirnova, Class of 2022, Chemistry
  • Grace Sorensen, Class of 2024, Cell & Molecular Biology and German

Five Duke students were named recipients of the Critical Language Scholarship. Affiliated with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program and CLS Spark are fully funded, language-immersive summer programs. The award includes financial support for travel and living expenses in the host country. Dating back to 2007, the CLS program is part of a US government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and learning foreign languages that are critical to national interest.

Since the scholarship’s inception, 43 Duke undergraduate and graduate students had been awarded the CLS. The CLS programs begin in June.

Recipients for the CLS summer program 2024 include:

  • Prisha Gupta, Chinese, Class of 2026 [CLS Spark recipient]
  • Michelle Schultze, Russian, Class of 2025
  • Abby Spiller, Korean, Class of 2026
  • Samyuktha Sreeram, Arabic, Class of 2024
  • Taliyah Thomas, Chinese, Class of 2026

Two Duke students were awarded the 2024 David L. Boren Scholarship. Funded by the National Security Education Program, the Boren Scholarship supports students studying abroad to pursue less commonly taught languages, cultures, and world regions that are critical to US interests and are often underrepresented in study abroad programs. Awarding up to $25,000, Boren scholarships fund study abroad programs for durations ranging from summer, academic semesters, and full year experiences.

The students awarded the Boren Scholarships for 2024 are:

  • Dena Levin, Senegal to study West African French, Class of 2024
  • Quaid Sutherland, Taiwan to study Mandarin Chinese, Class of 2025

Duke students and alumni can receive support for opportunities like the CLS, DAAD, and Boren Scholarships from the Nationally Competitive Scholarships team at the Office of University Scholars and Fellows. For more information on these scholarships and other awards, visit the Office of University Scholars and Fellows website.