Kimairis Toogood-Luehrs

Kimairis Toogood-Luehrs, Level 2

Kathryn Davis Peace Fellow

PhD Candidate, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University

Kim Toogood-Luehrs was seeking an intensive immersion program prior to embarking on her field research in Central Asia. Accepted to both the School of Russian and another highly regarded program, she was faced with a potentially difficult decision. "But the tenets of Middlebury and of the Davis Fellowship made it clear that this was the right choice for me. As a theorist and practitioner of conflict resolution, I truly believe in the importance of language in understanding violent conflict."

For Kim, what further set Middlebury apart was the effectiveness of its cocurricular approach to immersion. "The program's structure is what makes it a success. Students have to navigate every facet of their lives in Russianmovies, concerts, birthday parties, dinners, and, of course, the classroom."

Ryan Wyeth

Ryan Wyeth, Level 7

Kathryn Davis Peace Fellow

BA, Double Major in Professional Writing and Russian Language & Culture, Michigan State University

Ryan Wyeth had already attained a high proficiency level in Russian when he came to Middlebury with true fluency as his goal. Why? "Because I have other interests outside of Russian," he says. "The best thing about Middlebury is being allowed to pursue those outside interests while being immersed in the language."

One of Ryan's interests is the democracy movement in contemporary Russia. Currently, he's using his Russian skills to help fund a documentary film on the topic. He's also considering graduate studies. "I'm lucky in that my problem is having too many options, not too few," Ryan says.