Two Students Win Language Study Scholarships

mayalittle_evanbullmanTwo students have been awarded competitive scholarships from the U.S. government to study languages abroad. Evan Bulman ’16 has a Boren scholarship from the National Security Education Program to study Arabic in Amman, Jordan for the 2014-2015 academic year. Maya Little ’15 has received a Critical Language Scholarship from the State Department to study Chinese in Guangzhou, China this summer.

Both scholarships are intended to support the study of languages that are not commonly taught at U.S. secondary schools and that are spoken in countries critical to U.S interests.

Bulman was one of 165 students selected out of 868 applicants for the Boren scholarship. He has received $20,000 for a year of intensive Arabic study in Jordan. The junior began studying Arabic his first year at Bowdoin because he wanted to pursue a language of a “dynamic and important region of the world…one that is influential politically and economically,” he said.

The Boren Scholarship requires that its recipients commit to one year of service with the U.S. government in a position with “national security responsibilities.” Bulman, who is from Barrington, R.I., says he’s interested in seeking a position with the State Department. “I’m excited to work on behalf of the U.S. and to help define our image internationally,” he said.

Little is one of 550 U.S. undergraduate students selected out of 5,500 applicants to receive a Critical Language scholarship to pursue languages such as Chinese, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Hindi, Turkish or Urdu. Little has just returned from a study abroad semester in Beijing, where she said her Chinese improved enough for her to have discussions with locals about politics and current events. In June, she’ll return to China for the summer, where she has been placed in an advanced Mandarin class. Her scholarship covers tuition for the 10-week course and travel costs, plus offers room and board and a small stipend. Unlike the Boren scholarship, it does not require any post-graduation service.

Little, a history major and Chinese minor, says she became interested in Chinese history when she was in high school in Columbus, Ohio. Since coming to Bowdoin, she has been studying Chinese, and she is working on a history honors project that looks at how China’s premodern tributary system in Korea continues to influence modern Chinese perceptions and interactions with North Korea. Little is a Mellon Mays fellow and last summer received a Goldsmith Adams Research Award from Bowdoin to conduct research in China. Her longterm goal is to become an academic.

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