Chapman sophomore Tatum Lenberg is thrilled to pack her bags for Indonesia this summer! A double major in film production and global communication and world languages, Lenberg was recently awarded the prestigious Critical Learning Scholarship (CLS).

Lenberg headshot

Tatum Lenberg is a sophomore at Chapman University where she double majors in BFA Film Production and BA Global Communication and World Languages.

CLS is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the amount of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are critical to the nation’s security and economic prosperity. Those who are selected to be CLS participants undergo rigorous academic instruction and act as citizen ambassadors.

“The goal is to try to make the next generation of Americans more literate in global issues, and ensure that the United States has good relations with others,” Lenberg explained.

Lenberg, who will be studying Indonesian, was encouraged to apply for CLS because of her aspirations to work in international media, potentially even at the United Nations, and to elevate people’s stories that are often underrepresented. As a current intern for NBC Universal at the International Television Department, she recognizes the value of learning various languages and cultures to support her professional goals.

Tatum and three other girls in Switzlerland

Tatum (second from left) celebrating Oktoberfest with her host sisters when she was a high school foreign exchange student in Switzerland.

“The more languages I learn, the more I can improve my international literacy. And that would make me a better job applicant so that I can serve communities that aren’t already represented in the media,” Lenberg said.

Lenberg is a true model of Chapman’s global citizen. During her senior year of high school, she studied in Switzerland as part of a Rotary Exchange Program, and learned Swiss and High German.

Tatum and two young girls smiling

Tatum (middle) in Bolivia, volunteering for The Wheelchair Foundation. Her passion for community service has taken her all over the globe.

“After going abroad, I knew I wanted to go to a college that had an emphasis on being a global citizen. That was a big reason why I chose to go to Chapman,” Lenberg said.

Next semester, Lenberg will be studying abroad in New Zealand.

Lenberg reached out to Dr. Julye Bidmead, the director of the Center of Undergraduate Excellence, last spring as she was considering applying to CLS. Dr. Bidmead then helped her navigate the application process in time to apply by October.

“Dr. Bidmead was from my hometown, and we got along super well. She was on board with my goals from the first time we met,” Lenberg said.

For Chapman students who are considering applying to CLS, Lenberg says “definitely go for it,” especially if you are interested in learning another language and having a deeply immersive cultural experience.

Interested in applying to CLS or another scholarship or fellowship? Contact the Center for Undergraduate Excellence at or stop by our office for more information and guidance!

Unfortunately due to a travel advisory prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lenberg will not be able to attend the CLS Program.  All CLS summer language institutes for 2020 have been suspended for the health and well-being of all participants.