Baylor Student Awarded State Department Language Scholarship

April 24, 2007
News Photo 4063Gary Guadagnolo, a senior University Scholar from Arlington, has received a prestigious U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship.

by Paige Patton, coordinator of news and information, (254) 710-3321

Gary Guadagnolo, a junior University Scholar from Arlington, has been awarded a prestigious U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship, which he will use to study Russian in St. Petersburg this summer. Guadagnolo was one of 30 award recipients from more than 550 applications.

"The Critical Language Scholarship will provide me with an opportunity to fully immerse myself in Russian language and culture this summer, not only through my class work, but also in day-to-day interactions with my host family and the rest of the city of St. Petersburg. It will be a learning experience unlike any that I have encountered before, and it is a great honor to have been selected for this award," Guadagnolo said. "It is my goal to become a fully-functional Russian speaker by the time I begin graduate school, and I know that this can only be achieved with a significant amount of work. This award is an important step to the realization of that goal."

The United States Department of State and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) offer intensive overseas study in the "critical need" foreign languages of Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish and Urdu, according to the Department of State web site.

To apply for the program, Guadagnolo provided extensive information about his academic performance, honors, language courses and previous study abroad experience. He also had to answer three essay questions and submit a letter of recommendation.

The eight-week program covers all travel expenses, housing costs and program fees and offers concurrent course credit.

"Gary combines so many of the extraordinary qualities one can hope for in an undergraduate student," said Elizabeth Vardaman, associate dean of special academic projects in the College of Arts and Sciences. "He has leadership, academic seriousness, ambition to make a difference in the world, social skills, and he's a lot of fun. I can't imagine a finer package of traits in one student."

"Gary possesses a great deal of initiative in pursuing a language," said Dr. Wallace Daniel, The Ralph and Bessie Mae Lynn Professor of History, who served as Guadagnolo's mentor through this process. "He has a commitment to becoming fluent and exemplifies a model student--he is creative, driven and passionate about international studies."

As part of the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI), the Department of State Critical Language Scholarships will provide funding for U.S. citizen undergraduate, Master's and Ph.D. students to participate in beginning, intermediate and advanced level summer language programs at American Overseas Research Centers and affiliated partners. Recipients of these scholarships are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their critical language skills in their professional careers.

At Baylor, Guadagnolo is a member of Phi Kappa Chi fraternity, the Student Development Council, Alpha Chi honor society and is a Carr P. Collins Scholar.

More information about the Critical Language Scholarships can be found at

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