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Critical Language Scholarship selects two seniors as finalists and three as alternates

April 12, 2021

Last month, six University of North Georgia (UNG) students were elated to learn that they were semifinalists for the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). But they still had one more step to go.

In late March, two were designated as finalists and three were deemed alternates for the highly competitive national program that funds American undergraduate and graduate students to complete intensive language study abroad in the summer.

Finalists are Bailey Pieplow, a senior pursuing degrees in Spanish and modern languages with a Chinese language and literature concentration, and Zoe Rumbaugh, a senior pursuing degrees in East Asian studies and modern languages with a Chinese for global professionals concentration.

Pieplow said being named a finalist feels almost surreal.

"I was about to give up hope on doing any kind of summer program this year until I was named a CLS finalist," she said. "When I received the email notification, I immediately called my mom. I was in tears. It was as if I was finally being rewarded after years of dedication to language study, and I felt an overwhelming feeling of contentment."

Dr. Victoria Hightower, assistant director of the nationally competitive scholarships office and associate professor of history, noted that submitting an application in and of itself is a big accomplishment for each of our students.

"NCS is always proud of their hard work," she said "We are so excited that their work is being recognized as they are designated alternates and awardees."

UNG students designated as alternates are:

  • Roderick Selman, a senior pursuing a degree in modern languages with a concentration in Arabic, is a member of the Corps of Cadets.
  • Daniel Shearer, a junior pursuing a degree in East Asian studies and a minor in leadership, is member of the Corps of Cadets.
  • Maggie Simmons, a junior pursuing a degree in modern languages with a concentration in Chinese for global professionals, is a member of the Chinese Language Flagship program.

Since 2016, 12 UNG students were finalists with seven alternates.

Megan Shockley was the CLS finalist in 2020 with three others alternates, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented her and others finalists from going. Dr. Anastasia Lin, assistant vice president for research and engagement, said the worldwide health crisis has accounted for a reduction in on-the-ground programs. She said most of CLS programs will be virtual this year as they were last year.

Students interested in learning more about nationally competitive scholarships should contact ncs@ung.edu for more information.

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