DuVall is one of approximately 500 finalists selected for the CLS Program. Finalists for the 2024 CLS Program were selected from a diverse pool of over 5,000 applicants from colleges and universities in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

DuVall expressed her enthusiasm toward being selected as a scholarship recipient after serving as an alternate for the program last year.

“To finally be selected is tangible proof that I have been improving these last few years,” said DuVall. “It is proof that my writing skills and life experiences have bolstered me, and the person I am today is different and better and more prepared for the real world then the person I was sophomore year when I first applied.”

The CLS Program – sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, funded by the U.S. government and administered by American Councils for International Education – is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion group-based program where students spend eight to 10 weeks abroad studying one of 14 critical languages.

“I hope to become a much better at my Persian language skills,” said DuVall. “I also hope to come away with a better understanding of Tajikistan and western Asian culture. I'm getting thrown into the deep end of this language immersion program and hopefully I'll come away with the ability to swim.”

DuVall is a senior at USD and is pursuing a double major in international studies and anthropology. While at the university, she has served as the Honors president, a Student Government Association senator – holding the positions of president pro tempore and director of operations during her tenure – a ritualist for Kappa Alpha Theta and a resident assistant for the Honors floor. DuVall is also involved in the President’s Senior Leadership Institute and Rotaract.

Originally from Chamberlain, South Dakota, DuVall said USD’s professors, students and scholarships have greatly helped her in securing this opportunity.

“In just the application process and writing the essays, I had a ton of support from my professors Ilmira Dulyanova, Timothy Schorn and Melissa Berninger,” said DuVall. “I also credit the USD Farber Fund for giving me a scholarship that allowed me to study beginner Persian in Arizona two summers ago. I think that experience really bolstered my application and gave me a stronger love for the language.

“Plus, through USD, I met Ryan Conover, who has been the biggest inspiration to keep working at Persian and applying for CLS,” she continued. “Ryan's confidence in me is what gave me the strength to keep applying again and again.”

Ultimately, DuVall hopes to become an anthropology professor and teach courses about cultures, religions and music.

“The CLS Program’s biggest help for me and my goals is simply the Persian education I will receive,” said DuVall. “Persian is a language and culture that hopefully I'll be involved in with research as a professor and will allow me to spice up future anthropology lectures with personal experience. Plus, the exposure it gives me will help me learn more about myself and the world around me.”

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