Eight CLASS Students Awarded Critical Language Scholarships

The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) is pleased to announce that eight CLASS students of various fields of study are the recipients of the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), setting a new record for the University of Houston. Four students, Omar Harb, Tia Hufstetler, André Mikhail and Kareem Soussan were selected to study Arabic through the CLS program. The other four awardees, Kainat Aziz, Hamad Khan, David Paul Hilton and Nimra Zubair, were chosen to pursue Russian, Urdu and Mandarin.


Kainat Aziz is a CLASS junior studying psychology and minoring in biology and business management and leadership. Various leadership positions and experiences as a pre-med student have strengthened her passion to study medicine. She participated in the Academic Associates Program for two consecutive semesters at the Texas Children's Hospital, and after completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to pursue medical school. Aziz will be studying Urdu this summer through CLS.


Harb Minoring in Arab studies, Omar Harb is a junior double majoring in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Coming from the Middle East, Harb has tried to strengthen his linguistic efforts and further expand his knowledge of his home region. He co-founded a non-profit organization named “One Small Step” to help combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on his local community and plans to begin an initiative to help underserved Arab American youths. Through the Critical Language Scholarship, Harb intends to sharpen his Arabic linguistic skills and draw on his experience to aid the Arab American community.


Huftsteter A CLASS sophomore majoring in political science and minoring in marketing at the Bauer College of Business, Tia Hufstetler has taken Arabic classes at UH and will continue her studies through the Critical Language Scholarship program in the summer of 2021. She has always been fascinated by the Arabic language and the cultures of Arab countries. This opportunity will provide her the chance to continue studying Arabic and understanding the Arab culture.


Khan University of Houston graduate earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in management, a Bachelor of Arts in strategic communication and a minor in Arab studies, Hamad Khan is a teaching assistant with UH’s Language and Cultural Center (LCC), a former president of UH’s Arabic Club and a Global Guide with the Learning Abroad Office. Additionally, with fluency in several languages, including Turkish and Urdu, Khan seeks to build understanding across the international sector. His varied experiences have expanded his academic and professional goals, increasing his interest not only in the Middle East, but also in West, Central and South Asia. Khan plans to pursue a career as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer.


Mikhail André Mikhail is a modern and classical languages major with a focus in Middle Eastern studies and minor in history. He is a recipient of the CLS for Arabic and studied in the Arabic Language Intensive program at American University in Cairo. His professional background is in entrepreneurship, sales and writing.


Hilton A second-year Honors College student majoring in political science, David Paul Hilton is actively involved in a variety of campus organizations and groups, such as the UH Student Government Association, Bonner Service Leadership Program, Model United Nations and the Houston Scholars program. Following graduation, Hilton intends to pursue public service as a Foreign Service Officer. He has taken two years of Russian language courses at the University of Houston and plans to continue his language study. Hilton aims to further expand his knowledge of the Russian language and culture and is excited to take full advantage of the CLS Russian Language Program.


Soussan Kareem Soussan is an economics major with a minor in Phronêsis. Interested in the economies of Middle Eastern countries, Soussan is actively involved in economic research and studying the Arabic language. As a CLS recipient, he is excited to improve his proficiency in the language and network with other economics students interested in the Middle East. He plans on using this opportunity to delve deeper into his studies of the Middle Eastern economy.


Zubair Nimra Zubair is a graduate student pursuing a master’s in public administration with a specialization in nonprofit management. She is also a graduate adviser in the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards, where she connects students with major awards opportunities, assists them through the application process and manages the offices’ social media platforms. As a first-generation student, Zubair began her undergraduate studies at Houston Community College and transferred as a political science major with minors in business administration and Phronêsis. She has interned in various industries and speaks seven languages, including Urdu, for which she was awarded the 2021 Critical Language Scholarship. After completing her master’s, she plans to attend law school and continue working with the integration of marginalized populations.