For the fifth year in a row, students from UNM's Arabic program were awarded the prestigious U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). Two students were awarded scholarships this year.

Here is the list of current and past UNM winners:

  • 2016: Matthew Chavez (studied in Ibri, Oman)
  • 2017: Tucker Berry, (studied in Meknes, Morocco)
  • 2018: Galiana Loorem, (studied in Ibri, Oman)
  • 2019: Tucker Berry, (studied in Ibri, Oman)
  • 2020: Riazullah Alkozai (canceled due to COVID)
  • 2021: Jamini Sahu and Osa Kyrie Day (virtual)

Jamini Sahu is a third year UNM student and third year Arabic student who is studying engineering and computer science. She is interning at Sandia Labs.

Osa Kyrie Day is a freshman who was a student in the UNM Arabic Program's high school summer outreach Arabic program STARTALK. She is majoring in speech and hearing sciences.

The U.S. Department of State’s CLS Program is part of a U.S. Government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. CLS scholars gain critical language and cultural skills that enable them to contribute to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. Nearly 700 competitively selected American students at U.S. colleges and universities received a CLS award in 2021.

The CLS Program provides opportunities to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to spend eight to ten weeks studying one of 15 critical languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, or Urdu. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. The CLS Program is developed in partnership with local institutions in countries where these languages are commonly spoken. CLS scholars are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future careers.

The CLS Program provides its scholars intensive language and cultural instruction in an environment designed to maximize their language gains at every level.

Alumni apply their critical language skills in a variety of professional fields in public and private sectors as well as government, helping to support America’s competitiveness across the board.

CLS scholars represent the breadth and diversity of the United States. Through personal engagement, they help to spread American values and develop mutual understanding with the people of other countries.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of State CLS here. For further information about the CLS or other exchange programs offered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, contact