Engineering Undergraduate student awarded Critical Language Scholarship

May 21, 2024

Madison Arenaz, Josh Donaldson, Ilay Kielmanowicz, Emily Swain and Liliana Perez

May 21, 2024
Contact: Courtney Perrett, 573-882-6217,

Five University of Missouri students were recently awarded the highly coveted Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), an overseas language and cultural immersion program available to students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Additionally, one alternate was named.

Granted by the U.S. Department of State, this prestigious award provides students the opportunity to spend up to 10 weeks abroad, where they will study one of 14 critical languages.

“I’m so excited for our awardees because the CLS and CLS Spark Programs present an excellent opportunity for them to broaden their language skills outside the classroom,” said Lauren Pike, fellowships coordinator for Mizzou’s Office of Global and National Fellowships. “Their commitment to studying not just their target language, but also its culture, is inspiring. It takes fearlessness to open yourself up to the unknowns that await during intensive language study, and I can’t wait to hear what our awardees soak in.”

As part of a wider government initiative aimed at expanding the number of Americans mastering foreign languages that are foundational to national security and economic prosperity, the program plays a key role in preparing students for the 21st century’s globalized and increasingly competitive workforce.

This year’s Critical Language Scholarship recipients include:
Joshua Donaldson
  • Sophomore studying biological engineering and pursuing the Honors Certificate from St. Joseph, Missouri.
  • Language: Swahili

“I am incredibly grateful for the Critical Language Scholarship and all those who guided me toward it, including the Office of Global and National Fellowships and my family.  I am excited to be pushed outside of my comfort zone in an unknown, yet supportive environment. Exploring this beautiful culture and learning from people’s stories will enable me to better contribute to our community here at Mizzou, and I cannot wait to grow as a listener, a learner, and a community member.”

Meet the other four recipients by reading the full story, published by Show Me Mizzou.