Care, Connection, and Country: Dalton Dahle ’22

The Gustavus junior intends to pair nursing and language study to prepare him for career in the U.S. Army.
Posted on June 23rd, 2020 by

Dalton Dahle '22

Gustavus Adolphus College rising junior Dalton Dahle ‘22 is the winner of the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) in Persian to study in Tajikistan and the Project Global Language Scholarship (GO) for domestic study of Arabic. Unfortunately, the CLS program has been cancelled due to COVID-19 but the GO program will continue online. Dahle’s excellence shown in his applications was recognized by three national selection committees.

“I was pretty excited when I won the scholarships. Instead of working at a gas station this summer, I wanted to go somewhere so I was excited to apply for the two opportunities presented through the fellowship office,” Dahle said.

The CLS Program is a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. A scholarship fully funds intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences in countries essential to America’s engagement with the world.

The GO Program  is a Department of Defense initiative aimed at improving the language skills, regional expertise, and intercultural communication skills of future military officers. The Scholarship funds critical language education, study abroad, and intercultural dialogue for Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) students.

Dahle (middle) during a training exercise.

“Thankfully, they [GO Program] offered me the opportunity to do online courses. I hope to learn enough Arabic to be able to have a basic level conversation. Be able to read signs and navigate in the speaking country,” Dahle said.

Dahle transferred from Rochester Community Technical College and began his Gustie journey Fall 2019. “I knew at Gustavus I would have assistance with getting study abroad opportunities. Thankfully, a lot of staff have helped me out to get where I’m at right now,” Dahle said.

Currently, Dahle serves as a member of the Army ROTC and a nursing degree candidate. With a packed schedule, he takes things one day at a time. Dahle enlisted in the Army in September 2017, where he spent a year and a half completing basic training and additional schooling as a medical lab tech and phlebotomist.

“Enlisting as a medical laboratory specialist was probably the best decision I have ever made. The most enjoyable thing was being able to give medical care to those in need,” Dahle said.

During Army training, he had the opportunity to learn phlebotomy, where he was able to draw blood from soldiers, families of soldiers, and retired veterans from various cultures and ages.

“This really was a huge confidence booster in my medical experience. It was duties like this which inspired me to apply to the Gustavus nursing program.” Dahle said. “I heard great things about the program and figured the department would help me gain a solid foundation to further become an RN. Then I can provide care in a more hands-on and patient-contact environment,” Dahle added.

Dahle’s ability to speak the Arabic language enhances his rapport as a future RN working in Middle Eastern countries. He started learning Arabic at his previous institution and wanted to learn a language that was valuable and useful not only in the military.

“Arabic is not a common language but being able to have a conversation would be awesome. I think it’s good to respectfully learn the culture of Arabic speaking nations to create better ties in the future,” Dahle said.

After passing nursing boards and receiving his degree, he plans to serve as an Army Reserve nurse aiming to work in an intensive care unit or emergency room.

“Gustavus is a great place,” Dahle said. “I’m glad to have the many opportunities presented to me.”

For more information about the Gustavus Fellowships Office and the support it gives to students, please visit the fellowship website.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad



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  2. Find ways to connect with t 6722 he world–on campus and around the globe. The Gustavus support network is with you every step of your journey. We want your education to improve your mind and enrich your well-being. Find ways to connect with the world–on campus and around the globe. The Gustavus support network is with you every step of your journey. We want your education to improve your mind and enrich your well-being.

  3. Mark Sallmen says:

    As a Gustie nurse (class of 1975) and former US Army Nurse Corps officer, I commend Dalton on his career choices. He will go far in the Army. I will always remember my Army nursing days with pride and honor.