Shoreline native awarded Critical Language Scholarship from State Department

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sierra Noland of Shoreline
Sierra Noland, a graduating senior from Washington and Lee University in Virginia, has received a Critical Language Scholarships for Summer 2017, for Hindi. Noland is from Shoreline.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and is a fully funded summer overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students.

The goals of the highly selective program are to broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and to build relationships between citizens of the U.S. and other countries.

She is majoring in sociology and anthropology and minoring in poverty studies. Noland worked with an interpreter while living in India and doing fieldwork for her honors thesis – a written ethnography paired with video footage exploring how migration can provide low-caste Indians opportunities to overcome inhibiting social structures.

“I missed out on tearful moments, outbursts of laughter and even mundane explanations because I could not understand Hindi,” said Noland. 
“It is important that I connect on a personal level with my study participants and deepen my cultural understanding, and the CLS will allow me to make huge strides in advancing my research without having to be dependent on an interpreter.” 

After graduating from W&L this spring, then completing the CLS program in India over the summer, Noland plans to pursue a master’s in visual anthropology at the University of Southern California.

“It is a great honor to be accepted into the CLS program,” said Mark Rush, Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law and director of the Center for International Education. 
“It is highly competitive and focuses on broadening participants’ exposure to the world’s diverse cultures and deepening their linguistic abilities. Sierra’s success in applying is a wonderful occasion and reason for the campus community to celebrate.”



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