ATU’s Babst Chosen for Department of State Program

Lucas Babst
Lucas Babst

Arkansas Tech University student Lucas Babst is among the inaugural cohort of American college and university students selected by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to participate in the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Spark program.

According to information provided by the U.S. Department of State, the program is “part of a U.S. government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are critical to national security and economic prosperity.”

Babst, who is a sophomore international studies major from Monticello, will study Arabic through the CLS Spark program. He hopes that by learning about the language and cultures of the Middle East he will be prepared to travel to one or more Arabic-speaking countries in the future.

“CLS Spark is a virtual initiative designed to leverage best practices in online language learning developed by the CLS Program during the pandemic, CLS Spark provides American students the access and opportunity to start their language learning journeys even when these critical languages may not be offered on their campuses or when they may have responsibilities that limit their ability to go overseas,” reads text concerning the program provided by the U.S. Department of State. “Participants will spend an academic year learning either Arabic, Chinese or Russian through online classes and activities facilitated by native speakers at a host institution abroad.”

Learn more about similar opportunities for Arkansas Tech students by visiting the ATU Office of Distinguished Scholarships online at