Political Science Student Lands Top State Dept. Scholarship, On Her Way To Expert On Russia

Wednesday, April 12 2023 by Marielle Payton/Richard D. Hunt

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Dunham, center, poses with fellow political science students Jonny Gartner and Sage Showers during her semester in D.C.
Cedarville University
Dunham, center, poses with fellow political science students Jonny Gartner and Sage Showers during her semester in D.C.

It’s no secret Cedarville University students continue to excel postgraduation, and that couldn’t be more true for Hannah Dunham, senior political science major from Southgate, Michigan. Chosen as one of only 80 students nationwide, Dunham will spend her summer learning Russian through the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship Spark Program (CLS).

Dunham will spend eight weeks in an immersive, live online, fully funded program. This program is designed for undergraduate and graduate students who want to learn languages deemed critical to U.S. security and foreign policy interests. After completing the program, Dunham will receive non-competitive eligibility for U.S. government employment for up to three years.

Dunham chose Cedarville based on the quality of the history and government department and the unique internship opportunities, including the university’s D.C. Semester program.

It was during Dunham’s time in D.C. that she learned of this opportunity to study Russian through the CLS program.

“I’ve always been interested in cultural psychology and the intersection between religion and politics,” said Dunham. “Ideally, I’d love to do something where I’m not just doing political work but getting to engage with cultures and people. Learning the language is a huge part of that.”

Securing the critical language scholarship is a big step toward a future career path in Russian and Eastern European security studies. Noncompetitive eligibility for U.S. government employment means Dunham will be able to apply for federal positions without having to compete with non-government applicants, opening up a plethora of possible career opportunities, including jobs in intelligence, international relations and diplomacy.

For Dunham, who hopes to pursue security studies after graduation and has a burgeoning interest in homeland security and foreign policy, learning Russian through a fast-tracked eight-week program will provide her with invaluable critical language skills.

“Cedarville’s history and government program is really phenomenal,” said Dunham. “Whether through summer classes with Dr. Mark Caleb Smith or through the D.C. semester with Dr. Glen Duerr, I learned so much and I really feel my studies have prepared me well for whatever field I decide to go into.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,082 undergraduate, graduate, and dual-enrolled high school students in more than 175 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the department of history and government as well as high graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings. Cedarville has been ranked #4 nationally by the Wall Street Journal for student engagement. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.

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