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Three UW Students Receive Langlois Fellowships to Study Abroad

February 7, 2017

Three University of Wyoming students from Casper and Wheatland are the recipients of the Sheila Langlois Memorial Fellowship for Study Abroad in Art History and the Humanities offered through UW International Programs.

Recipients are Casper’s Brent Bihr and Mikalah Skates, both international studies majors; and Trena Tackitt, Russian major, from Wheatland. Fellowships are for up to $10,000 for a semester or yearlong study abroad experience, says Mary Katherine Scott, International Programs acting director. This is the third year fellowships have been awarded.

The Langlois fellowship is for UW students in disciplines within the humanities, including art, art history, history, literature, philosophy, religious studies, languages, international studies or interdisciplinary fields.

Named in honor of Sheila Langlois, an accomplished watercolorist, the fellowship preferences intensive study at the undergraduate level or research at the graduate level. Through a generous donation in 2014 from her husband, Walter Langlois, UW professor emeritus in French, the fellowship helps support students to study abroad.

The scholarship supports students who share Sheila Langlois’ artistic passion, and also the couple’s shared belief in the importance of international education, Scott says. The couple each spent their junior year studying in France and found the experience of being in a foreign culture to be life-changing.

Bihr plans to spend the 2017 spring semester studying in Guanajuato, Mexico, as an exchange student.

“I am confident that the Spanish skills I will acquire will be immensely valuable upon my return to the U.S. and for my future academic and professional careers,” Bihr says.

He will take courses that fit into both his degrees in Spanish and his Latin American focus within his international studies degree. He will live with a host family to ensure his full immersion into the Mexican life, language and culture.

Bihr’s goal is to be fluent in Spanish, which will help him when he attends law school in the future, while also pursuing a dual master’s degree in Latin American studies.

Skates, also a double major in French, plans to study in Ifrane, Morocco, this fall and to take courses at Al Akhawayn University. During her UW career, she has focused on global governance, conflict resolution and humanitarian efforts.

With a regional focus in Africa and a growing knowledge of the French language living in Morocco, a French-speaking country in Africa, Skates will use her language skills and hopes to enhance them. She also believes that studying in Morocco will allow her to think critically through experiencing a new culture and to have tolerance for cultures different than her own.

“There is no better way to learn about a new culture than by being fully immersed in it,” she says. “Interacting with the locals, learning a new language and seeing how different societies operate provides a new perspective on life and how different cultures gain an understanding for one another.”

Skates has traveled extensively to such destinations as London, Paris, Barcelona and Ghana, which she says will help her enhance her education and prepare for her future goals. Skates plans to attend law school after graduation to study international human rights law.

Tackitt will travel to Saratov, Russia, studying for 11 months beginning this fall. She hopes to become a Russian/English interpreter, with illustration, art and freelance writing as side careers.

“I hope to have a more authentic taste of Russian culture,” she says. “In order to become an effective interpreter, I need a solid grasp of not only the language itself, but also on Russian expressions, sayings, idioms and euphemisms that cannot be interpreted directly.”

Tackitt will participate in extensive cultural programs including visits to Saratov museums, churches, opera, ballet, city businesses and local points of interest. She will participate in the summer program in Russia that will help familiarize her with Saratov State University, some of the faculty, her host family and, potentially, other students.

“The artistic inspiration such as the architecture, literature, music and artwork in relation to the Russian culture is unique, and having this opportunity will be extremely beneficial for my art career,” Tackitt says.

After finishing her study abroad program and UW graduation, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree at Saratov State University.

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