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K-State Today Student Edition

April 3, 2012



Mastering Mandarin: Student receives scholarship to study in Beijing

By Communications and Marketing

Half a world away in Beijing, a Kansas State University student will experience a new meaning to summer school in order to fine-tune his international language skills and better understand the culture.

Justin Prelogar, senior in political science and philosophy with a secondary major in international studies, is a 2012 recipient of the Critical Language Scholarship for intensive summer institutes. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Prelogar, Leawood, will receive four to five hours of Mandarin Chinese language instruction a day, five days a week, while in China. The program will cover a year's worth of language study during the 10 weeks of his visit. He will also have the opportunity to participate in cultural enrichment activities and excursions.

More than 5,200 students applied for the scholarship, with 631 recipients from 240 educational institutions selected.

The purpose of the scholarship is to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages such as Arabic, Hindi and Mandarin. The scholarship covers all of Prelogar's costs to Beijing, including travel, room and board.

Prior to leaving for Beijing, Prelogar will participate in a group orientation in Washington, D.C., where he will meet other students from across the nation participating in the program and traveling with him to China.

After graduation Prelogar is interested in applying for graduate school in international relations followed by law school and possibly a career with the State Department or United Nations.

At Kansas State University, Prelogar has served two terms as president, three terms as vice president and one term as scholar delegate of Smith Scholarship House. A Putnam scholar, he also is the Relay for Life committee chair and Philosophy Club president. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Eta Sigma and Golden Key honor societies; Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society; and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Prelogar is an Eagle Scout with seven palms and a graduate of Blue Valley High School in Stilwell. He is the son of Madeline Prelogar, Leawood, and Jeffrey Prelogar, Windsor, England.