UB students awarded Critical Language Scholarship by the U.S. Department of State

University of Bridgeport students Diane Doodnauth and Amy Siranaula

Two University of Bridgeport (UB) students, Diane Doodnauth, and Amy Siranaula, have been awarded the highly competitive Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Doodnauth is a graduate student in the Master’s in Global Development and Peace program while Siranaula is an undergraduate student studying International Business.

The CLS is an intensive language program intended to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering languages identified as critical by the U.S. government. Scholarship winners are assigned to spend eight to ten weeks oversees, taking intensive language courses at international universities, research centers, and other institutions.

Doodnauth and Siranaula are the 11th and 12th UB students over the past decade to win the CLS scholarship. Doothnauth also received her undergraduate degree from UB in International Political Economy and Diplomacy. Both students will study advanced Korean language in Gwangju, South Korea, this summer.

Thomas Ward, former dean and professor of Doodnauth, complimented her strong academic background: “She is a very capable, impressive young woman and an outstanding student whom I can definitely see in the Foreign Service in the future.”

Doodnauth was in disbelief when she heard the news that she was awarded the scholarship. She understands the competitive nature of the CLS program. “Throughout the entire application process and waiting on the acceptance, I had adopted a false confidence in telling myself that I would get accepted. It was an attempt to speak something into existence. But when I actually got the email saying that I was accepted, I was ridiculously happy.”

Siranaula was also overcome with emotion upon receiving the news of the scholarship, “I screamed when I saw the acceptance email. I couldn't believe that I was being offered something I dreamed of since high school.”

Upon hearing of their acceptance to the CLS program, their Korean professor at UB, Seung Kim, was delighted to hear the news. She stated, “Both worked so hard on all the overall preparation process, and I just wrote a letter of recommendation about how hard and sincere they were in my class.”

Doodnauth said that she looks forward to the experience of living in a different country, “I think that actually living there (South Korea) for a few months will allow me to have many fun adventures and experiences.”

Doodnauth believes that the CLS program will open up many opportunities for her. She said that just adding a new language to her skill set will be a great advantage and set her apart.

Siranaula is looking forward to the immersion experience, stating: “I look forward to meeting other U.S. students who won the scholarship and see what brought them here. Also, I look forward to having a Korean language partner, and really getting to practice my speaking ability.”

Doodnauth and Siranaula said that another benefit of the CLS program is that they will receive 12 months of a non-competitive advantage if they apply for government jobs after completing the program.

In the future, Doodnauth would like to work in the field of human rights or women’s rights, either with NGOs or at the United Nations. Siranaula would like to work for a non-profit called Liberty in North Korea, an organization that focuses on helping North Korean refugees settle into a new country without fear of repatriation.