Two Gusties Earn Critical Language Scholarship

Caroline Southworth ‘24 and Dalton Dahle ‘22 have both been awarded the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship.
Posted on March 11th, 2022 by

Gustavus Adolphus College students Caroline Southworth ‘24 and Dalton Dahle ‘22 have both been awarded the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) is a rigorous language and cultural immersion program where students spend eight to ten weeks abroad mastering a language and discovering new cultural experiences. CLS is part of a larger government initiative to increase student participation in studying foreign languages that are critical to national security and economic prosperity, in addition to preparing students for the modern globalized workforce.

“Dalton and Caroline are devoted global citizens,” said Pamela Kittelson, advisor and director in the fellowships office. “This scholarship honors their future professional contributions toward promoting diplomatic and cultural understanding.”

Southworth, pursuing an individualized major combining political science, economics, and psychology, chose to study Russian because she enjoys learning languages and finds Russian culture and history fascinating. As Russian is a critical language, she also hopes to set herself apart from other candidates when applying to jobs pertaining to international relations or national security.

After completing the CLS program, she will be eligible for 12 months of non-competitive hiring status for federal government jobs, and the competitiveness of the scholarship and the skills she develops through the program could benefit her in future job searching. The program will also aid her in applying for summer internships and graduate school. “I view CLS as a good stepping stone to other opportunities,” she said.

Southworth serves as a Collegiate Fellow residence hall adviser, a student worker in dining service and the Provost’s Office, the German Academic Assistant, and president of the German Club. She is also a member of Model UN and Russian Club. Such positions have allowed her to demonstrate skills that will prepare her for the CLS program. She awaits notice if her program will take place virtually or in person.

A nursing major and member of the Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society, Dahle holds a holistic perspective regarding the needs of his patients. He hopes learning the Arabic language and culture will make him “culturally competent,” allowing him to connect with a broader range of patients he may treat in the future.

Dahle applied for the CLS because he strongly desires to study abroad. In his own words, “studying abroad helps students gain a broader understanding of cultures different from their own.” Participating in the CLS program will provide valuable insight on the cultural diversity of the world while also solidifying his Arabic speaking skills.

Dahle has earned 15 college credits in the Arabic language, providing a significant foundation to prepare him for the rigorous program. Additionally, he has taken part in Project GO, an Arabic language immersion program for future military officers, but due to COVID-19, the program was moved online. Dahle looks forward to having the immersive experience he missed with Project GO, helping him reach true proficiency in Arabic.

As Vice President for the Habitat for Humanity volunteer group at Gustavus, Dahle has practiced the value of collaborating with new people to achieve a common goal. His position as a Medical Laboratory Specialist in the Army Reserve and as an ROTC cadet with the Maverick Battalion at Minnesota State University has taught him the value of leadership and the ability to adapt to stressful and unfamiliar environments.

Students interested in applying for a fellowship are encouraged to fill out the Fellowship Office’s first meeting form to schedule an appointment. For more information about the Gustavus Fellowships Office and the support it gives to students, please visit the fellowships website.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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