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Political Science Major Receives State Department Scholarship to Study in the Middle East this Summer

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    Louisa Keeler

Louisa Keeler will study Arabic in Oman.

Junior political science major Louisa Keeler has been awarded a scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to study Arabic this summer.

The Critical Language Scholarship Program is part of a U.S. government effort to increase the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. The program provides all-expense paid intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences that last seven to 10 weeks.

Keeler is one of approximately 550 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who received a scholarship for the CLS Program in 2014. She will be studying at the Noor Majan Training Institute in Ibri, which is a city in northwest Oman.

Keeler took two years of Arabic at Emory University before transferring to Southwestern last fall, but this will be her first time traveling to the Middle East. She is interested in terrorism and security − specifically how greater cultural understanding can help increase security and prevent violence, both for the United States and within the Middle East. 

“What makes Louisa ideal for this prestigious scholarship are her interests in and commitments to what is new and different, her desire to make a difference in the world, and her fascination with the wider world and where she − and we − fit in it,” said Eric Selbin, a professor of political science who nominated her for the award.

Only about one out of every 10 students who apply for the CLS program are selected to participate. The program received more than 5,500 applications for its 2014 summer institutes from students at more than 650 colleges and universities. Keeler is the third Southwestern student to be selected for the program in the last five years.