Slavic and Eurasian Studies

IREX US Russia Experts Program Fellowships Awarded to Two CREEES MA Students

Tue, January 22, 2019
IREX US Russia Experts Program Fellowships Awarded to Two CREEES MA Students
Award Recipients Molly Adler & Ellery Cushman

We are proud to share that CREEES graduate students Molly Adler & Ellery Cushman were awarded IREX's prestigious US Russia Experts Program Fellowships this year.

The US Russia Experts Program program is designed to "deepen expertise and knowledge, strengthen US-Russian connections and linkages, and improve US-Russian understanding." By granting fellowships to US graduate students, it "supports and develops the talents, skills and proficiencies" of those interested in Russia and US-Russian relations.

Molly Adler, a dual-degree Master's student at CREEES and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, used her funding to intern at the Institute for the Study of War in DC last summer as an analyst, focusing on active Russian disinformation campaigns in Ukraine and Hungary. She says, “The IREX US Russia Experts Program Fellowship allowed me to take an unpaid internship working directly in my area of study—national security and emerging technology. I gained really valuable area knowledge, as well as learned how small think-tanks approach problem solving.” The funding also allowed her to focus on her research of sport diplomacy and culture exchange for her thesis on unmoderated forums in video game chats—specifically looking at Russian and US relationships and whether people who have these cross cultural exchanges via video games are more or less tolerant of the other country). As an alumna of this IREX program, Molly was also able to apply for and receive additional funding to attend the national Association of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) conference in Boston, MA, where she attended panels and networked with academic area specialists on the region.

Ellery Cushman, a CREEES Master's student also studying in the dual degree program for Global Policy Studies and Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, applied her fellowship towards attending the University of Pittsburgh’s renowned Summer Language Institute to further her Russian language skills. She says her favorite part was "getting to see the Russian-American community in Pittsburgh. We had cooking classes, singing classes, and performances from people in the community and it was really interesting to get to see how Russian culture is preserved in the American context." She also was able to use some of her funding to attend the national ASEEES conference: "I think that going to ASEEES was the highlight of my IREX experience because it gave me the confidence to try to speak at a conference in the near future. The feedback that people in the audience gave was really helpful to the speakers, so I saw how speaking at a conference can strengthen your research as well."
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