Gemma Sunnergren

Gemma Sunnergren, MES, is the 2018 recipient of the Winthrop-King scholarship. In this picture, she could be seen in front of the famous treasury in the ancient rock-cut city of Petra.




Courtney Reed

Courtney Reed, MES, in Wadi Rum, a desert valley cut in granite and sandstones in southern Jordan. The valley is known for its Martian-like landscape.



Adrienne Resha

Adrienne Resha is a junior from Naples, Florida. She is majoring in international affairs, with a regional focus in the Middle East, and anthropology. Adrienne is the proud recipient of an Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award in Arabic from the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics for the 2012-2013 academic year.


Deanna Bousalis

My name is Deanna Bousalis and I received an "Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award" from the FSU Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, Program in Arabic for the 2012-2013 school year. I am a first-year biomedical engineering student here at FSU. This fall, I will be taking my third semester of Arabic while serving as treasurer of the Arab Cultural Association for the 2013-14 school year. As I greatly enjoy the Arabic language and culture, I hope to complete a second major in Middle Eastern studies. Last fall I was on the Dean's List, and aim to maintain my 4.0 GPA for the entirety of my college career.

Steven Firmin

Steven Firmin is the recipient of the Sultan Qaboos Arabic

Studying Arabic at FSU has without a doubt been one of the defining events of my academic career thus far. In every way the experience has been challenging, rewarding, and a lot of fun. I enjoy the fact the Dr. Schenoff and Professor Awad always push me to do my absolute best in every area of the language, never allowing me to settle for a mediocre level of understanding. In addition to this they have both been instrumental in encouraging me to study abroad, and have both helped me immensely during the application process. They both take a great interest in life and are like family to me. Meeting together 4 to 5 times a week in such small settings has also fostered a strong sense of community among the students of the language. The solidarity we experience while studying together makes for lots of laughter, joking, and helping when times get tough. I would not trade the experience for any other!

I have received the award from Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center Summer Arabic Language and Media program (SQCC SALAM).

It is a fully funded 7 week intensive Arabic program with added cultural components and trips around Oman for students who have completed at least 4 semesters of Arabic studies. This is a joint program funded by the Sultan Qaboos Cultural center in Washington D.C. and hosted by the Sultan Qaboos College for Teaching Arabic Language to Non-Native speakers. This year the program is located in the city of Manah

Sebastian Boron

Sebastian Oliver Boron is a rising Senior from New York City, New York, the 2013 recipient of Winthrop King Scholarship for Arabic Study, and a double Applied Economics and Chinese Language and Culture major at FSU. He will be using the funds from the WK Scholarship to study Arabic in Amman at Qasid Institute, Jordan during the Summer of 2013, after which he intends to return to FSU to complete the Arabic Minor. He plans to pursue his Arabic studies, possibly in graduate school or abroad, after he graduates by applying for the Critical Language Scholarship and for a Boren Award or a Fullbright Fellowship.

Critical Language Scholarship Recipients

Cornelius (C J) Canton and Annie Lippitt - have been awarded the prestigious and very competitive Critical Languages Scholarship, a program run by the Department of State and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, for intensive Arabic studies in the Middle East for summer 2010.

  • Cornelius Canton, a rising senior from Lutz, Fla., is the recipient of a Critical Language Scholarship provided by the U.S. State Department. Canton, a Middle Eastern studies major, will travel to Muscat, Oman, this month to continue his Arabic studies over the summer. Only advanced-level Arabic language students are sent to Oman.
  • Anne Lippitt, who just graduated in the spring with a bachelor's degree in international affairs, also received a Critical Language Scholarship. The Merritt Island, Fla., native will be studying in Amman, Jordan, this summer before beginning a one-year master's program in global governance and diplomacy at Oxford University in the fall.

Full article @ Scholarships enable students to study foreign languages abroad

William Crawford

William Crawford, MES and recipient of the Critical Language Scholarship, enjoying a swim in the Dead Sea. As the lowest point on dry land, its hyper-saline water allows you to float effortlessly, and its mineral-rich black mud is used for therapeutic and cosmetic treatments.



Kelly Baker

Kelly Baker (left), MES, is the recipient of the David L. Boren Scholarship. She stands in front of the Siq, which is a narrow passage carved in rocks and extends for about 0.75 miles. It serves as the main entrance to the ancient city of Petra. Petra was lost for five centuries until its rediscovery in 1812.




Dr. Zeina Schlenoff posing with students during the Arabic Program Awards Night. Outstanding students across all language levels were given certificates and gifts for excelling in their Arabic coursework. Students put exceptional effort while studying the language and exceeded the language proficiency goals set for them at the beginning of the academic year.




The Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics awards four outstanding Arabic students with certificates honoring their overall language achievements throughout the academic year. From left to right, Carolina Feliciano, Anna Griffith, Matthew Henderson, Justin Biro and Dr. Zafer Lababidi.





Fulbright Language Teaching Assistants

Eliane Aoun

Eliane Aoun wore the traditional Lebanese outfit " 'abeye " at the Fulbright FLTA conference in Washington, DC. She is shown in the picture with a Tunisian Fulbright fellow. As a cultural ambassador, she shared her culture and traditions with Fulbrighters from over 50 countries around the world.

Eliane Aoun did a presentation about her first semester experience in the US. She talked about Florida State University, the Arabic program, and the cultural and extracurricular activities that she participated in and helped organizing at FSU.

My Blessed Year

story image
Maysa Abu Ammar, 2008-2009,
Egypt (center), with her students

by Maysa Abu Ammar, 2008-2009, Egypt

I feel blessed to have been selected as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) at Florida State University (FSU). In fact, this past year has been one of the best years of my life.

The Fulbright Program allowed me to meet people from places I previously thought I never would. I met people from the Arab world, Africa, Europe and Asia - all of whom came to the U.S. for the same purpose: to teach their language and share their culture. Needless to say, meetings at the Binational Fulbright Commission in Cairo prepared us for the experience. We were encouraged to participate in orientations and workshops. The meetings were so well planned and organized. They helped us to understand the big responsibilities we were about to undertake during the coming year.

My journey started in Cairo, Egypt where I met 113 Arabic Fulbright FLTAs. I had never felt so proud in my life - 113 bright Fulbright FLTAs ready to fulfill their roles as Arabic teachers and cultural ambassadors in the U.S. Then, I took part in the orientation held at Brown University in Rhode Island. I met more Fulbright FLTAs from all over the world. We represented more than 30 languages in one place! Over the course of a few days, we became good friends who later traveled together, visited each other and kept in touch throughout the year. Then, there was the final workshop in Washington, D.C. - the workshop we had all waited for. We were eager to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones, to catch up, share amazing stories and wonderful experiences. We all were so proud of our students, their progress, our methods of teaching and our American friends.

I have gained many things during the course of my program. I feel (and there is proof!) I grew professionally while working as an Arabic Fulbright FLTA. Every morning, I was so happy when I entered the classroom and saw my students waiting for class to begin. The students' devotion, love and commitment to Arabic, my language, deeply touched me. Our classrooms were full of eager students from everywhere who had different reasons to study this unique language. Some wanted to study Arabic because it is not commonly taught in the U.S., some because it is holy, others because it is their grandparents' language and some because it is the language of their future business endeavors, etc. Along with loving the language came an interest in the culture. Language and culture are one and not to be separated. In our Arabic department, we integrated language with culture. Every now and then, we talked about a different aspect: family, education, holidays, respect, food, marriage, music and more. The students were encouraged to be inquisitive so as to gain a better cultural understanding. The students would leave the classroom in awe, happy to have learned something new and profound.

I got involved in a lot of cultural activities at FSU. I joined different campus organizations and helped to set up events. I joined the Muslim Student Association and we held events in which I gave lectures about Islam, Ramadan and the Islamic faith in general. I participated on a panel in which students asked questions freely about the Hijab, women in Islam, prayer, fasting and more. The best reward for me was when people approached me and told me I had changed the way they perceived Islam, or that I had changed their way of thinking about my religion. Those reactions made me feel that I had accomplished something great. I joined the Arabic Culture Association and we also had Arabic culture events where we introduced foods, textiles, books, etc. Students loved those events and participated with a willing desire to learn more.

I'm glad I taught at FSU for many reasons. First, I had an amazing supervisor, Dr. Zeina Schlenoff, who supported me and never hesitated to tell me how proud she was of me. Second, God knows I made such great friends at FSU - friendships that will last for a lifetime. They helped me from the very first day and never left my side. I love how diverse they are. They come from Lebanon, Palestine, Pakistan, the U.S., Peru, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Puerto Rico to name only a few places. Lastly, I had amazing students who loved me, my language, culture and classes. I love them too and it was heartbreaking to leave, but I know I must give the next group of FSU Fulbright FLTAs the opportunity to have great experiences such as mine. I absolutely have no doubt that I am blessed.

Source: Fulbright FLTA Newsletter ( Issue 23 | September 2009)

To comment on Maysa Abu Ammar's article on State Alumni, please click here.

Legacy Sort
Legacy Priority
title-inside title-centered