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WMU duo gets prestigious international study awards

June 8, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Daniel Hadley and Jaime LeBlanc-Hadley, a husband and wife team from Western Michigan University, have received major awards to study international policy at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif., beginning in the fall.

MIIS awarded the Kalamazoo couple merit scholarships valued at $10,000 a year. In addition, Jaime is one of only 20 students nationwide to receive a 2010 Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship, which will fund her graduate studies up to $50,000 annually.

The Hadleys majored in global and international studies at WMU and married while working on their bachelor's degrees and minoring in Chinese. Jaime graduated in April 2009 and Daniel, a former Marine who served in Iraq and previously lived in Newago, Mich., graduated this past May.

The duo will be students in the same MIIS program this coming fall, but Daniel's studies will focus on international trade policy while Jaime's will focus on international development policy.

"It was very important to me that I not only study international trade policy in an academically challenging program, but that I also attend a program that will help me gain the practical skills necessary to work effectively in an international career," Daniel says. "Although some graduate programs in this field require their students to have advanced foreign language skills, MIIS is unique in that it not only requires students to have advanced proficiency, but also to continue studying their foreign language in a professionally relevant context during the program."

MIIS, an affiliate of Middlebury College in Vermont, offers graduate degrees with an international focus in such areas as business, conflict resolution, development, human rights, language learning, nonproliferation, terrorism studies and trade.

Before the Hadleys start their graduate work there, they are taking advantage of full fellowships that MIIS awarded them to attend the Middlebury College Chinese School this summer. Middlebury College is renowned for its intensive language schools, which require students to study and speak 24 hours a day exclusively in the language of the school.

The couple's competitive summer fellowships will cover tuition, fees, housing and food while the two earn the equivalent of an academic year's worth of undergraduate instruction in Chinese.

Jaime and Daniel already have an impressive record of furthering their Chinese language skills and cultural understanding as well as their global perspective.

They spent the 2008-09 academic year taking courses in Chinese and other subjects at Beijing Language and Culture University in China. Both also have gained professional experience by working in WMU's Haenicke Institute for Global Education this academic year. Jaime served as the assistant for International Institutes and Centers and played an integral role in launching the Confucius Institute at WMU in 2009. Meanwhile, Daniel provided administrative support for the Haenicke Institute's senior management.

To support her year at Beijing, Jaime received a highly competitive Boren Scholarship, which is similar in prestige to America's Fulbright awards and is funded by the National Security Education Program. Boren Scholarships allow students to study overseas in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests, in exchange for a commitment to seek federal-government work.

The Pickering Fellowship that Jaime recently received specifically prepares people for Foreign Service positions within the U.S. Department of State. As a condition for receiving the fellowship, she will serve in the Foreign Service for a minimum of three years after graduating from MIIS.

The fellowship will pay for tuition, mandatory fees and books and includes a stipend to offset living expenses. It also covers some travel for a domestic summer internship between Jaime's first and second year of graduate school, and an overseas internship in the summer following her second year.

"Many a student dreams of receiving a full fellowship to attend graduate school. Being awarded such a prestigious fellowship and the opportunity to serve in the U.S. Foreign Service is at the top end of what I've dreamed about for my future," Jaime says. "My experiences as a global and international studies major at WMU, coupled with my study abroad experience in China, are what really drove me to set my sights on the Foreign Service as a career goal. I cannot imagine a higher honor than being a representative of my country overseas."

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Media contact: Margaret von Steinen, (269) 387-3993, margaret.vonsteinen@wmich.edu

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