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Sundstrom Welcomes Fulbright Opportunity in Ukraine

Published: February 1, 2010

Before she went to Russia for a wedding 10 years ago, Linda-Marie Sundstrom had no real thoughts of visiting that part of the world. Afterward, she knew she would return some day.

This February, Sundstrom will get the opportunity to return to the region after being awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture in the Masters of Public Administration Program in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

“At that point I wasn’t really familiar with anything dealing with Ukraine, but I loved it,” said Sundstrom of her initial visit a decade ago. “As an aside, when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, it wasn’t a country. So, people from Russia would say ‘I’m going to The Ukraine’ with the ‘the’ in front of it. But you wouldn’t say I am going to The Italy or The France. Most Americans still refer to it as The Ukraine, but that is insulting to them to use ‘the’ which we all have a tendency to do.”

In Ukraine, Sundstrom, a lecturer in the Graduate Center for Public Policy and Administration, will teach at Kharkiv’s Regional Institute of Public Administration of the National Academy of Public Administration, which is attached to the Office of the President of Ukraine. Students from the Masters of Public Administration program, along with Ph.D. candidates in economics will attend her classes. Additionally, she will travel throughout the country presenting workshops for elected officials, public administrators, non-governmental organizations and the public.

“In order to tell them why we would do a program like this, we have to understand that the structure is different and the autonomy at local levels is different, so that’s a lot of what I’ll be teaching at the university,” said Sundstrom, now in her fourth year at CSULB. “And then they added additional funding to my award so I can go talk to elected officials and government officials throughout the country and talk to them about what we would call non-profit sectors and their general public. I will be traveling around the country and doing those kinds of workshops.”

Fulbright

Sundstrom, an experienced grant writer, will teach a little on the basis on how U.S. public administration is structured and the techniques used when doing program evaluation, especially for people who get grants. In addition, she says they are attempting to get an accreditation so that might be part of the reason she is being sent there.

“The (Ukraine) president has mandated these public administration programs and there is a chance they will want me to help with their accreditation,” she said. “Then, there is also the possibility that they like what they are teaching and there will be more resistance to an outsider coming in.”

Language is going to be a problem, she noted, especially where she will be, but they will provide interpreters for her as often as possible. In the meantime, “I’m trying to learn the language the best I can with Rosetta Stone,” she said.

Sundstrom earned her undergraduate degree from Cal Poly Pomona, a master’s from CSU San Bernardino and Ph.D. from the University of LaVerne.

She is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. The Fulbright program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is an international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.

–Shayne Schroeder