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State Department awards scholarship to Elon senior

Madison Ann “Maddy” Clough is studying Arabic in Morocco this summer with the support from the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship Program.

Elon University senior Madison Ann "Maddy" Clough

A rising Elon University senior is spending her summer in Morocco studying Arabic as part of a federal scholarship program aimed at developing fluent speakers of languages critical to American diplomacy and outreach.

Madison Ann “Maddy” Clough, an international studies major from Southbury, Connecticut, is among the approximately 550 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students selected for the 2014 U.S. Department of State's Critical Language Scholarship Program.

The program supports the study of Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish or Urdu languages and provides fully funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to increase language fluency and cultural competency.

Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers. 

“As a committed student of Arabic, I regard this award as an opportunity to develop a sophisticated understanding of Middle Eastern societies through rigorous immersion,” Clough said. “My interactions with native speakers in an authentic environment will thoroughly prepare me for a career that demands elevated competency of the language. Twenty hours per week of intensive formal and colloquial Arabic study will qualify me to navigate the linguistic nuances that often produce security challenges and cultural misunderstandings. 

“Upon my return, I hope to serve my country by advancing regional security aims, capitalizing on my significant practical experience in the Middle East and North Africa.”

The program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Selected finalists for this summer’s program hail from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia and represent more than 200 institutions of higher education from across the United States, including public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, minority-serving institutions and community colleges.

Participants are among the more than 40,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. 

As a presidential scholar at Elon, Clough has served as president of the Arabic Language Organization and worked as an Arabic tutor and world languages lab supervisor. She also served as president of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi academic honor societies.

Clough spent the most recent spring semester studying at the American University in Dubai as the recipient of a William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship, an award that covers full tuition for college students with an interest in the Middle East to study for a semester in the United Arab Emirates.

She plans to apply for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship and the Qatar Scholarship for a year of intensive Arabic language study in Doha.

“I intend to pursue a career pertaining to national security, using my proficiency in Arabic as the centerpiece of my skill set,” Clough said. “In my postgraduate employment, I hope to obtain career placement in the Middle East in order to best serve the needs of the U.S. government.”

Clough is the daughter of David and Laura Clough of Southbury, Connecticut.

Elon students and recent alums interested in this award or other nationally competitive fellowships are invited to visit the Office of National and International Fellowships in Lindner 200 or by calling (336) 278-6434.

Eric Townsend,
Staff
6/5/2014 9:00 AM