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Critically Acclaimed Student Scholarship

Anna Kozan ‘24 and Edy Martinez ‘27 were winners of the scholarship, and Zlata Kodner ’24 and Stefanie Viera ‘25 were selected as alternates.

by Liz Mendicino ’26

It has been a spring semester brimming with academic awards for Roadrunners! Edy Martinez ’27 and Anna Kozan ’24 were awarded CLS scholarships and Zlata Kodner ’24 and Stefanie Viera ’25 were selected as alternates. The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program provides opportunities for American college and university students to study languages and cultures essential to America’s engagement with the world. 

Edy Martinez ‘27, who is a recipient of the CLS Spark for Russian, chose to apply because he knew the program could give him the opportunity to speak with family he could not communicate with before. While he has always had an interest in learning languages, learning Russian would allow him to connect with his family on an entirely new level. Martinez is a computer science major in the 4+1 BS to MS program. Working with Dr. Rebecca Root, director of the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships, has allowed him to pursue such opportunities that he previously would not have thought of. Martinez told himself, “Go for it, because you never know, and you can really gain a lot out of it. It’s always a learning experience, regardless of if you get it or not.” CLS Spark, an initiative of the CLS Program, provides opportunities for American undergraduate college and university students to study Arabic, Chinese and Russian virtually at the beginning level. 

Anna Kozan ’24 was awarded the CLS to study Russian in Moldova this summer. She was also awarded the CLS Spark last year. Kozan was empowered by the Spark program she completed, and decided she wanted to fully immerse herself and reach new levels of language gain in Russian. She is the first nursing and Spanish double major, a Boren Award recipient (also Russian in Moldova), and the first Roadrunner to win a Fulbright-Nehru Student Research award. “Ramapo equipped me to pursue my own path,” said Kozan. “Due to the mentorship of various different faculty members, I was able to find me. I know that at a large school I would not have received such individualized mentorship, encouragement, or advice. Here I was able to become the first double major in nursing and Spanish and joyfully discover how well my two passions, healthcare and language go hand-in-hand.”

Some students find the scholarship writing process overwhelming and are not sure where to begin as they juggle coursework. “Make sure you manage your time well and take your time in writing the application, be sure of what you want to say and what you want your message to be,” said Stefanie Viera ‘25, who has been selected as an alternate. “Make sure what you’re applying to is connected to something you love, you have to really care about it and that has to come through.” Viera, a history and HGS contract (human rights focus) double major, applied to the SPARK program to study Arabic. Her interest in countries speaking the language, specifically in the Middle East and North African region, was piqued after she took a course on Women in Middle Eastern Societies.

To learn more about the fellowship and scholarship opportunities available to Roadrunners, visit the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships website. If you are interested and have questions about how to get started, please contact Rebecca Root