Price Tarbet of Big Spring, a senior history major and Russian minor at Angelo State University, has been awarded a 2022 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) for Russian language studies by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Shortly after he graduates from ASU in May, Tarbet will depart June 5 for 12 weeks of intensive Russian language and cultural training at the American University of Central Asia in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan.
“It’s super exciting and a little nerve wracking,” Tarbet said. “I’m incredibly grateful because it wouldn’t have been possible without the advice of several of my professors, including Dr. Shirley Eoff, history professors Dr. Robert Briwa and Dr. Laurie Dickmeyer, and Ewa Davis, my Russian instructor. She’s amazing. She’s hard on us, but she definitely guides us, not only in the language, but also the Russian culture.”
“The U.S. Department of Defense has a need for Russian speakers,” he added. “That’s why the CLS Program sponsors Russian as one of its languages. It’s a very difficult language and takes a lot of time and dedication to get to the point of fluency. I’m just beginning my journey, and I’m excited to be able to get to that point.”
The U.S. Department of State sponsors the CLS Program as part of a larger U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans mastering foreign languages deemed critical to U.S. national security and economic prosperity. Typically, Tarbet would have conducted his studies in Russia, but the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine influenced the move to Kyrgyzstan. The CLS Program was launched in 1972, and Tarbet is the first ASU student to earn the scholarship.
“Price’s selection is impressive as this is a very competitive program, which draws a nationwide applicant pool,” said Dr. Shirley Eoff, ASU national fellowship advisor. “I am proud of him for accepting the challenge of completing a very competitive and time-intensive application process. The basic training in Russian that he has received at ASU will serve him well in this intensive language program, and I am excited to see how this plays out in his future scholarship and career.”
In addition to his studies at ASU, Tarbet represents the Dr. Arnoldo De León Department of History as a senator in the Student Government Association, serves as president of the History Society and Russian Club student organizations, and has been inducted into the prestigious Alpha Chi national honor society.
Following his CLS Program experience, Tarbet hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in history and a career as a university professor and researcher.