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UW Students Receive Walsh Fellowship for Russian and International Studies

May 24, 2017
photo strip of female student and male student

Two University of Wyoming students have been awarded the prestigious Jade Walsh Fellowship for Russian and International Studies. The UW International Programs Office and Center for Global Studies sponsor the award.

Recipients are undergraduates Tyler Yocom-Blum, from Laramie, majoring in Russian and Spanish, with a minor in Chinese; and Abbie Coberly, from Walnut Cove, N.C., majoring in humanities and fine arts.

The Jade Walsh Fellowship for Russian and International Studies supports UW undergraduate and graduate students studying abroad in Russia, while enrolled at UW. The fellowship covers travel, housing, tuition and other costs related to their education. The fellowship is open to any graduate or undergraduate student who intends to pursue research related to the Russian language and/or Russian cultural studies.

This fellowship was established by David Walsh in honor of his wife, Jade, who studied Russian and developed a lifelong passion for Russian literature and culture. The couple lives in Jackson.

“It’s a pleasure to help students, such as Tyler and Abbie, to fulfill their lifelong dreams to study abroad in Russia,” says Jean Garrison, Center for Global Studies director and chair of the Walsh Fellowship committee. “Friends, like David and Jade Walsh, open up the world for UW students.”

By providing opportunities for students such as Yocom-Blum and Coberly, Jade Walsh highlights the importance of international experiences and understanding another culture.

“We have a global economy, and any decisions that you make, at some point, may have an international impact. It’s really our interest in giving an opportunity to students to see their issues through the broader spectrum of the world,” she says. “And speaking a language is one achievement, but understanding the culture from which that language derives is of infinite value.”

David Walsh adds that “the scholarship is really motivated by the desire to do something for the state of Wyoming that has been good to us for the last 19 years.”

Yocom-Blum is a language enthusiast who speaks multiple languages, but has found a particular challenge with Russian that has sparked a love for learning Russian culture and the language. He will study in Saratov, Russia, for the 2017 summer and fall semesters. He plans to spend as much time as possible engaging with Russians, including on a train trip across Siberia on the Trans-Siberian Railway, fulfilling a lifelong dream to travel the rails in Russia.

He will graduate when he returns to the United States this December and plans to seek employment in either the private or public sector. His ultimate hope for a career is to join the U.S. Foreign Service and serve abroad as a member of the U.S. diplomatic corps.

Having been influenced by family friends at a young age who spent considerable time living in Russia, Coberly has developed a deep passion for languages, particularly French and Russian. She was drawn to UW’s humanities and language programs because of the university’s extensive study-abroad program.

Coberly says she is excited to participate in the summer study-abroad program at Saratov, taking advantage of the opportunity to become immersed in a Russian language environment. Developing a stronger sense and understanding of Russian culture, traditions and geography also is high on her list of goals to accomplish as takeaways from her summer experience in Russia.

Coberly plans to use her knowledge of Russian and the country to perhaps pursue a career in intelligence, international business or international development.

For more information, call Garrison at (307) 766-6119, email her at, or visit the website at

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