VCU student named Critical Language Scholar

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A Virginia Commonwealth University student has received a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Mandarin Chinese in China.

Charlene Gaw, from Cupertino, Calif., is a junior majoring in both chemistry and psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences. Gaw will study Mandarin Chinese at the advanced level at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China from June 11 to Aug. 10.

Gaw will use the scholarship to help her to communicate with a growing population of Chinese-speaking patients and to learn more about Eastern medicine and health care policies. She one day hopes to participate in overseas trips as a physician  to provide medical care to the people in underserved, rural areas in China and Taiwan.

“VCU is proud of Charlene’s selection for the Critical Language Scholarship,” said Beverly Warren, Ed.D., Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at VCU. “Global engagement is an important part of our mission at VCU and students like Charlene help to further that mission.”

Gaw is one of approximately 550 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who received a scholarship from the U.S. Department of State’s CLS Program in 2014. CLS participants will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes this summer in one of 13 countries to study Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish or Urdu.

The Critical Language Scholarship Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. It provides fully funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

Students interested in learning more about the Critical Language Scholarship should visit the National Scholarship Office, which assists VCU students and alumni who wish to compete for prestigious national and international scholarships.