Two UA Students Receive Critical Language Scholarships from State Department

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Two University of Alabama students have received Critical Language Scholarships from the U.S. State Department to study languages during the summer of 2015.

They are Dana Sweeney, of Kingsland, Georgia; and Charlotte Sheridan, of Vienna, Virginia.

Dana Sweeney
Dana Sweeney
Charlotte Sheridan
Charlotte Sheridan

Sweeney and Sheridan, who are both members of the Honors College and The University Fellows Experience, are among the approximately 550 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who received a scholarship from the U.S. Department of State’s CLS Program in 2015.

CLS participants will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes this summer in one of 13 countries.

Sheridan will study Arabic in Ibri, Oman. She found her passion for languages when she began studying French in an immersion program in first grade.

“It’s so rewarding, after studying a language, to be able to communicate with native speakers and explore the cuture more fully,” Sheridan said. “When I arrived at UA, I knew I wanted to learn another language and chose Arabic because I’ve long found all the layers of Middle Eastern politics fascinating.

She is majoring in environmental engineering and hopes to combine her language and engineering skills to pursue international development work after graduation. Her parents are Patrick and Elizabeth Sheridan.

Sweeney will study Chinese in Dalian, China. He studies English at UA, where he is also pursuing minors in Chinese and social innovation and leadership. He began studying Chinese during his freshman year at UA, and he plans to continue to develop his language skills to pursue a career in public service.

“While this will be my first time abroad, I expect that this will be the first of many trips to China in the years to come,” Sweeney said.

On campus, Sweeney has served as the president of Chinese Link, a student organization dedicated to plugging Chinese exchanges students into campus, and he is the co-founder and director of Outlet, a literacy-based poetry initiative housed in UA’s Honors College.

The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. It provides fully-funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences.

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


RIchard LeComte, media relations,, 205/348-3782


Nancy O'Brien, director of intercultural experiences, University Honors Program, 205/348-5534,