UT Dallas Student Wins Critical Language Scholarship

McDermott Scholar Will Spend Summer Studying Arabic in Tunisia

April 11, 2008

Molly Wurzer, a 21-year-old political science junior from Houston, has become the first person from UT Dallas to win the Critical Language Scholarship for Intensive Summer Institutes offered by the U.S. State Department.

Wurzer is one of 30 students chosen to study in Tunisia at the Center for Maghrib Studies in Tunis, where she will be learning Arabic. The scholarship provides for travel, room and board, and a weekly stipend.

The scholarship program is administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers. Last year, about 6,000 American students applied for 367 slots at foreign language institutes across the globe, and this year the number of slots was increased to 525.

The program is a part of the National Security Language Initiative, a government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are needed for American diplomacy and trade including Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Turkish, Urdu, Chinese, Korean, Persian and Russian.

Students of all levels of experience can be involved in this program because they have institutes for beginners, intermediates and experts in the various languages. The Tunisian program is completely for beginners in the Arabic language.

“I know this summer is going to be a great opportunity and tons of fun,” said Wurzer. “Although I was very surprised to receive the award, learning Arabic will enable me to be in a key position for the Foreign Service and international legal work.”

Wurzer plans to attend law school and then be an attorney for the U.S. State Department. She interned at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., as a part of the Bill Archer Fellow Program in the spring 2007 semester, and studied abroad in Guanajuato, Mexico, in the summer of 2006 and in Nice, France, in summer 2007.

Wurzer is a McDermott Scholar, a Student Ambassador, Student Government senator, member of Collegium V and president of the UT Dallas Model United Nations. She also does volunteer work at North Junior High School and the Day Spring Retirement Home in Richardson.


Media contact: Meredith Dickenson, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2293, meredith.dickenson@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Molly Wurzer will study Arabic under a U.S. State Department program designed to dramatically expand the number of Americans mastering foreign languages that are needed for diplomacy and trade.

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