The Ellison Center Welcomes New Faculty and Visiting Scholars
Inga Mezinova joins us from Rostov-on-Don, Russia as a George Russell Fellow researching the role of international outsourcing in improving the competitiveness of Russian enterprises on world markets. Mezinova comes to the University of Washington from Rostov State University of Economics in Russia, where she teaches economics. Mezinova has an extensive background in international business, having majored in the subject as an undergraduate and worked for the Russian agricultural equipment company Rostselmash before earning her PhD in Economics from Rostov State University of Economics.
During her four months at UW, Mezinova would like to collect as much information as possible in her research area. She plans to attend international business classes to compare approaches to teaching and students’ perspectives on what they are learning here at UW to teaching methods and students’ points of view at her own university, where she also teaches international business. Professor Judith Thornton of the Economics department is serving as Mezinova’sadvisor while she is at UW.
This is Mezinova’s second visit to the United States. She first came in 2006, on a Center of Citizen Initiatives exchange, visiting Ohio and New York City to observe US business practices. Seattle’s fine September weather helped the city make a good initial impression on Mezinova. “I like [Seattle],” she said, “The weather is wonderful so far. I was expecting a lot of clouds and rain, but it’s like Rostov-on-Don.” Mezinova has also taken advantage of the opportunity to explore Seattle’s diverse neighborhoods, spending time in Fremont, Capitol Hill and Belltown. She also plans to take a trip to Canada to see Vancouver while she’s here.
Upon returning to Russia, Mezinova would like to continue with her research into outsourcing and ways to improve the competitiveness of Russian enterprises in the realm of international business. She hopes to stay in contact with her colleague in the field from the U.S. since she sees them as a great resource for her future pursuits.
Veronica Neagu comes to the University of Washington as a George Russell Fellow studying distance education/learning. Neagu, Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Language at Moldova State Institute of International Relations in Chisinau, Moldova, is specifically looking for a theoretical and practical approach to teaching courses online in her native Moldova. She holds a PhD in Pedagogics and studied methods of teaching English in her doctoral work.
While at UW, Neagu plans to establish contacts with people working in distance education and examine its successes and failures. She remarked that resources are lacking in Moldova. She also plans to attend workshops, seminars and conferences during her visit and is hoping to present her own findings as well. Stephen Kerr, Professor and Area of Curriculum and Instruction Chair in the College of Education, is mentoring Neagu during her time at UW.
While Neagu has been to the United States twice before, first as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Maryland in 1997 and later as a visiting scholar in an exchange program with Pace University on its Manhattan campus, this is her first time on the West coast. Her initial impression has been a positive one. Neagu remarked, “Seattle is a place to be kept in mind. The weather is changeable. I read about the rains but the autumn has been sunny. The people are very nice and the academic environment makes me happy: the activity of the students, they are very busy. It's really the way a campus should be. It's a real student's life here.”
Neagu has a clear set of goals for when she returns to Moldova. She hopes collaborate with UW in getting her own courses online. In order to do so, she will attempt to involve the Ministry of Education in Moldova, which should help “move a step towards implementing distance learning in the national system of education,” according to Neagu. She says that the system of education in Moldova is reforming and the possibility of modern, online teaching is opening up as a supplement to more traditional classroom instruction. Neagu said that her ultimate goal is “to make education available anywhere, anytime and to anyone” within Moldova.
Maryana Zakharchuk comes to the University of Washington as a Carnegie Russell Fellow from Lviv, Ukraine, where she teaches inclusive education and English language at Ivan Franko Lviv National University and social studies at Ukrainian Catholic University. She is primarily interested in the formation and development of inclusive education (when students with disabilities attend the same schools as students without) in the United States and Canada.
While at UW, Zakharchuk plans to search resources, materials and different public actions and laws concerning the formation and development of inclusive education in the United States and Canada, something she says is quite difficult to do in Ukraine. To accomplish this work, Zakharchuk has joined two organizations and associations here: Northeastern Educational Research Association and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. She said that both “have been very helpful in accessing materials online and I can communicate with other members of the associations.” Charles “Cap” Peck, Director of Teacher Education in the College of Education, is serving as Zakharchuk's mentor while she is at UW.
When not buried in the stacks of Suzzallo-Allen, Zakharchuk has been spending a lot of time with new friends in Seattle. Although she spent October and November of 2006 as a visiting scholar at the University of Alberta, this is her first time in the United States and she is taking full advantage of the Pacific Northwest's attractions. She has visited the aquarium in Seattle, the Space Needle, Alki Beach, the Burke Museumand the Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art in Bellevue and she saw the ocean for the first time in her life. Zakharchuk marveled at the whale skeleton monument which commemorates William Clark’s observation of the remains of a whale near that spot in 1805.
Although she's only been in Seattle a few weeks, the city has left an indelible impression on Zakharchuk. She commented, “Seattle is a huge city, like Lviv. I am amazed by how many bridges there are here. There are not so many in Lviv; maybe two, three or four. The bridges here look like a spider web [when viewed collectively]. I think that 'Evergreen State' is a very appropriate name [for Washington].”
While Zakharchuk is enjoying her time in Seattle, she remains focused on what she calls her “golden idea”: to establish an inclusive school in her neighborhood of Lviv. She explained, “Lots of people in the neighborhood have children with special needs like autism, cerebral palsy and down syndrome. The city has different centers where these children can go. The centers are highly specialized: one school for autistic children, one for Down Syndrome and so forth. I would like all special needs children to go to school together in one place.” To accomplish her “golden idea”, Zakharchuk hopes to raise money at home in order to remove logistical obstacles. She also wants to teach teachers who are already in special needs schools how to better teach these children and she plans to organize multidisciplinary group of specialists who can help her. Zakharchuk hopes that her time at UW will be instrumental in helping her achieve her vision for inclusive education in Lviv.