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U.S. Department of State Scholarship
Allows UW-Eau Claire Student to Study in Turkey

RELEASED: May 16, 2007

South Campus of Bosphorus University
South campus of Bosphorus University.

EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire geography major has received a Critical Language Scholarship for intensive study of Turkish in Istanbul, Turkey, from the U.S. Department of State and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.

Katherine Nolan, a sophomore geography major with an emphasis in international studies, was one of 35 students chosen from more than 550 applicants for this scholarship, which included recipients from Harvard, Yale, Georgetown University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Critical Language Scholarships are part of the National Security Language Initiative, a coordinated federal effort designed to increase dramatically the number of Americans learning and teaching critical need foreign languages. Critical Language Scholarships provide funding for U.S. citizen undergraduate, master's and doctoral students to participate in beginning, intermediate or advanced level summer language programs at American Overseas Research Centers and affiliated partners.

Nolan, who is from Fall Creek, will spend eight weeks in Turkey studying Turkish four hours a day at Bosphorus University, one of Turkey's leading universities, as well as traveling and learning about the culture.

"I will be able to make direct connections between the concepts that I am being exposed to in my classes and the real-life settings in which they are being carried out," Nolan said."By the time I return I hope to be able to speak Turkish conversationally as well as have an understanding of the culture. Upon my return, I will be building on the skills that I acquire this summer through independent study online Turkish courses and working with Dr. Kaldjian, who speaks the language."

Nolan is an assistant to Paul Kaldjian, a UW-Eau Claire professor of geography. Kaldjian, who has done extensive academic work in Turkey and is also the secretary and treasurer of the international Turkish Studies Association.

"With emerging Turkish language skills Katie will be far more valuable to the organization," Kaldjian said. "Further she will be valuable as a research partner, and we expect to pursue funding for collaborative research which could well take her back to Turkey. This is a fantastic opportunity not only for Katie, but for the university and for critical and intellectual capacity in the United States. This sets her up for continued study and research opportunities here at UW-Eau Claire and on into graduate school."

The scholarship provides funding for all program costs, travel, orientation fees, room, board and travel within Turkey.

"One of the reasons that I am so excited about this opportunity is that I am very interested in the Middle East — its politics, religions, languages," Nolan said."The current elections inTurkey are a perfect example of what I find fascinating about the region. In the near future, I will be applying for a student/faculty research grant with Dr. Kaldjian based on some aspect of my experience in Istanbul. I will also be applying to graduate schools that have Middle Eastern Studies departments. This scholarship is a critical step in the direction that my academic career is heading."

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KH

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