Five Students Awarded Scholarships from the State Department to Study Foreign Languages

Five Students Awarded Scholarships from the State Department to Study Foreign Languages

Five WT students were awarded full scholarships to study languages by the U.S. Department of State's National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y), a highly selective, intensive language program open to high school students who are U.S. citizens.

  • Sophomore Tommy Gordon was selected for the NSLI-Y Summer Chinese program.
  • Sophomore Alex Peris was selected for the NSLI-Y Summer Russian program.
  • Sophomore Aria Narasimhan was selected for the NSLI-Y Summer Arabic program
  • Junior Mitra Nourbakhsh was selected for the NSLI-Y Summer Persian program
  • Senior Cayla Gancy was selected for the NSLI-Y Academic Year in Moldova program to study Russian.

In past years, NSLI-Y has immersed participants in the cultural life of the host country, providing formal and informal language practice and sparking a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures. Participants receive intensive language instruction, live with a host family for all or part of the program, and participate in community service and a variety of cultural activities.

In addition to the NSLI-Y program, Cayla Gancy was also accepted to the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study (Yes) Abroad Academic Year in Senegal program for French. The YES Abroad program funds 65 U.S. high school students to serve as "youth ambassadors" in select countries with significant Muslim populations.

Participants will experience both programs virtually this year.

Congratulations to all!


The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program was launched in 2006 to promote critical language learning among American youth. The U.S. Department of State, in cooperation with American Councils for International Education, awards and administers merit-based scholarships to high school students for participation in summer and academic year immersion programs in locations where the eight NSLI-Y languages are spoken.  

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study (YES) Abroad provides merit-based scholarships for eligible high school students to develop a perspective of a Muslim culture first-hand. Participants spend an academic year attending a high school while living with a host family in select countries with significant Muslim populations.