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Ogden Honors Freshman Receives Critical Language Scholarship

LSU freshman Bridget Seghers, a native of Covington, La., has been awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Swahili during the summer of 2021. 

The CLS program is part of an intensive effort by the U.S. Government to expand the number of students studying 15 world languages deemed vital to America’s security and economic standing. CLS plays an important role in preparing students for the 21st century's globalized workforce and increasing national competitiveness.

While the program is usually hosted overseas, due to the pandemic the majority of CLS institutes for summer 2021 will be offered as virtual programs. "Unfortunately, it's not safe to travel to the program's host university in Tanzania due to COVID, so the program will be virtual. However, at over 20 hours per week of language instruction and cultural activities, the program's intensity hasn't changed. I still feel that this summer will greatly improve my language skills and expand my worldview — which is the ultimate goal,” Seghers said.  

Seghers was selected from a diverse pool of over 4,600 applicants, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Finalists represented 628 different higher education institutions across the country, including 151 Minority-Serving Institutions, 14 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and 57 community colleges. 

Seghers applied for this scholarship with the support of the Office of Fellowship Advising. “It felt like there was a team behind me throughout my application process, and I couldn't have asked for better support than what I found within the Honors College,” she noted. “I was doubtful of my chances of earning the scholarship since I'm a freshman, but Dr. Arms gave me the encouragement I needed to believe in myself and submit my application.” 

“I’m so pleased that more and more Honors College students are applying for the amazing opportunities CLS offers,” said Drew Lamonica Arms, Associate Dean of the Ogden Honors College.  “Bridget had clear goals for language study and a compelling vision of using her language skills in a future career.  These components are essential for a successful application, and I have no doubt Bridget will excel in her CLS program this summer.”

Seghers is an Honors College and College of Agriculture student who is majoring in animal sciences with a concentration in science & technology. She will graduate from LSU in May 2024.