Madison Ann “Maddy” Clough, an international studies major with an interest in working as an Arabic speaker for the United States government, is the first Elon student to receive a William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship to study at the American University in Dubai.
An Elon University junior has been named a William Jefferson Clinton Scholar through the American University in Dubai, which awards full scholarships to college students with an interest in the Middle East to study for a semester in the United Arab Emirates.
Madison Ann “Maddy” Clough, an international studies major from Southbury, Conn., will continue her studies of the Arabic language and Islamic civilization in Dubai for five months this spring with the goal of one day working for the United States government. She is the first Elon University student to receive the fellowship.
The scholarship program furthers the goals of the Clinton Presidential Foundation, which developed the award in partnership with the American University in Dubai to provide American students opportunities to expand their educational and cultural horizons.
“This award, by granting me access to the linguistic and cultural richness of the Arab world, will enhance my ability to make informed decisions and intelligent judgments in a career working toward national security,” Clough said. “The opportunity to spend an extended amount of time in the United Arab Emirates is an honor that will further my growing proficiency in Arabic, a critical language that contextualizes my intellectual curiosity and professional interest in the Middle East.
“My varied coursework, independent travel experiences, and immersion in Emirati culture will privilege me in linking my career pursuits to a region that has captured my heart from a young age.”
As a presidential scholar at Elon, Clough has maintained a perfect grade point average while serving as president of the Arabic Language Organization, and working as an Arabic tutor and world languages lab supervisor. She is president of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi academic honor society.
Clough intends to pursue a graduate education in the Middle East to seek advanced proficiency in the Arabic language and a deeper understanding of its accompanying cultures before seeking work “to address the security objectives of the U.S. by meeting an increasing need for Arabic speakers involved in analytical and decision-making positions.”
Clough also plans also to visit Elon students in Jordan for several days this spring, and she’s scheduling shorter trips to Kuwait and Oman. Such plans are part of why professors praise her for a remarkable work ethic and desire to go above and beyond in seeking opportunities for language study and cross-cultural immersion.
“She puts a lot of her own time into enhancing what it is that I introduce in class. All I need to do is introduce a concept or a suggestion and she runs with it,” said Shereen Elgamal, Clough’s Arabic instructor for the past three years. “She’s an inspiration to other students, who see how much progress with the language one can make in just a couple of years.”
Elgamal said that Dubai will be a perfect opportunity for Clough and that spending time in the Middle East will do more than bolster foreign language skills. “Being there and living there, watching how it’s not only the language but the context that the language is used within, is the more beneficial part for Maddy,” Elgamal said. “It’s enlightening to experience a culture and not just read about it, but to live it.”
Clough is the daughter of David and Laura Clough of Southbury, Conn.
Elon students and recent alums interested in this award or other nationally competitive fellowships are invited to contact the Office of National and International Fellowships in Lindner 200 or by calling (336) 278-6434.