Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch Fellowship for Political Science

During the 2023-2024 academic year, two UM students were selected for the Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch Fellowship. JCB Fellows receive $2,000 of research funds each to complete a research project in the field of International Relations or Comparative Politics, involving one or more East Asian countries/territories (including China, Japan, Mongolia, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, and Macao SAR) and their engagement with the rest of the world. The award is named after Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, a Chinese American diplomat who has more than 60 years of experience in public and non­profit service. She has had an illustrious career in international affairs, beginning as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sabah, Malaysia and culminating as US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Nepal, the first ambassador of Asian descent in US history.

Ambassador Bloch is the founder and Executive Chair of the US-China Education Trust, a Washington, DC-based NGO that supports US-China relations through education and exchange that promote dialogue and strengthen mutual understanding.  

Learn more about our 2023-2024 Fellows below:

Skylar Bentlin

Skylar Bentlin, Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch Fellow

Ms. Skylar Bentlin is an undergraduate at the University of Miami. She has three majors in Political Science, Mandarin Chinese in Language and Culture, and Religious Studies. She also has a minor in Military Science. The last two summers she has received two international scholarships to study Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan.
Outside of the classroom Ms. Bentlin is in the Army ROTC program where she serves as the Company Commander. She will commission into the United States Army this spring and she hopes to work in the Indo-Pacific field. She is also involved in other organizations such as Women’s Club Lacrosse, It's On Us and she is a Global Ambassador, where she assists the Study Abroad office.
Ms. Bentlin has interests in International Affairs in the Asia region and she plans on researching US-China relations, China-Russia relations, and China’s Global Dominance in the 21st Century and their changing global presence.

Nolan Dietz Velarde

Nolan Dietz Velarde, Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch Fellow

Mr. Nolan Dietz Velarde is an undergraduate student at the University of Miami pursuing studies in Political Science and Philosophy with minors in Environmental Science and Music Business. With roots in academic excellence, Mr. Dietz Velarde has distinguished himself at American Heritage School, blending formidable academics, advocacy, and a talent for music.
His academic journey at the University of Miami led to accolades including the Albright, Carter, Campbell, and Ohana Scholarship for Academic Excellence, the Provost's Honor Roll, and the Dean's List. Recognized as a College Board National Hispanic Recognition Scholar, his commitment to uplifting academic and legal discourse is evident through his role as Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Collegiate Law Journal at the University of Miami. Additionally, as a Writer and Researcher at the Columbia Undergraduate Law Review, Mr. Dietz Velarde consistently bridges legal frameworks with pressing socio-environmental concerns, enhancing academic repositories through his published articles. Beyond academic confines, Mr. Dietz Velarde has received recognition at Empire Mock Trial, competing in two international competitions. Additionally, his musical skill is underscored by several Superior awards from the Florida Bandmasters Association. Currently, Mr. Dietz Velarde is also engaged in conducting heat-related environmental research for Miami-Dade County, reflecting his commitment to local community issues.
Through the Julia Chang Bloch Fellowship, he seeks to delve into the nuanced influence of key environmental NGOs, notably WWF and Greenpeace, on the environmental rapport between the U.S. and China. With planned on-site visits to WWF's Beijing office and Greenpeace's Washington D.C. branch, Mr. Dietz Velarde intends to acquire an in-depth perspective on their grassroots initiatives and policy advocacy. Looking ahead, he envisions furthering his research in international environmental diplomacy, underlining the role of transnational entities in global sustainability efforts.