Katlyn Frey ’17, has been awarded a highly competitive U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CSL) to study Chinese in Suzhou, China, during the summer.

The program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages, defined as those that are less commonly taught in U.S. schools, but are essential for America’s engagement with the world. CLS scholars gain critical language and cultural skills that enable them to contribute to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.

Frey, who was a psychology major from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is one of approximately 550 selected U.S. students selected for this award. While at Colorado College, she studied abroad in China twice, first in Shanghai during her freshman year and again in Beijing during her junior year.

She hopes to become fluent in Chinese, so that as a psychology major, she can make psychological therapy more cross-culturally effective. She is greatly influenced by the work of Arthur Kleinman, a clinical psychologist who conducted cross-cultural therapy research in Taiwan.

“If I wish to follow in his footsteps, then I need to be able to conduct therapy sessions in Chinese. By doing so, I can test therapies effectiveness on populations that are largely underrepresented in psychology,” Frey says. “In addition, I can learn about healing practices outside of Western academia, broadening my perspective on what constitutes ‘therapy.’ Therefore, I hope to enter a career that would allow me to input more internationalism into an established school of thought, such as psychology.”

She notes that “many psychologists assume that certain well-studied therapies are bound to work on every patient. Yet, most therapies have only been empirically tested on white European and North American participants. I want to challenge psychologists’ assumptions by using Chinese-speaking participants in empirical studies on therapies.”