My Fulbright lectureship was spent at the Ternopil Academy of National Economy, where I taught advanced computer science courses to Ukrainian students and advised the department chair on organizing a contemporary computer science academic program. This lectureship was highlighted by four special experiences that I will never forget:
- Helping the Department Chair Dr. Anatoly Sachenko organize the first-ever Ukrainian International Computer Science Research Conference in Foros, Crimea from July 4-7, 2001. The conference was attended by researchers from all over Europe and former Soviet states. Since then, the conference has been held every two years at a different Ukrainian location.
- Helping two of my brightest Ukrainian students, Andrey Fedorov and Andriy Kot, gain acceptance to the College of William and Mary’s Computer Science PhD program, which was facilitated by my William and Mary colleague, Prof. Bob Noonan. Both Andrey and Andriy completed their PhD’s and have settled permanently in the US. Andrey Fedorov is now a leading researcher in digital imaging at the Harvard Medical School, and Andriy Kot is a professional software engineer.
- Supporting Dr. Sachenko’s subsequent Fulbright visiting scholarship at the University of Maine and Bowdoin College in 2002. Dr. Sachenko came with his wife Svitlana and daughter Vera to Maine, where he took graduate courses at the University of Maine in computer science. This provided valuable experiences that would help him further develop his computer science academic program in Ternopil.
- Attending many social events, like picnics in the forest, parties, church services, and Easter dinner with Anatoly’s extended family of 30. During a break between courses of the Easter dinner, the “men” of the family walked downtown to the local cemetery to pay respects to ancestors and victims of the recent Chernobyl disaster. That day was an incredibly powerful experience.
This entire Fulbright experience was life-changing for me and my wife Meg, who taught ESL to university students and staff while I was teaching computer science. We retained life-long friendships with Ukrainians whom we met during this Fulbright experience.
Since finishing his PhD, Andrey Fedorov has married and become a leading researcher in medical imaging at the Harvard-Brigham and Women’s research center in Cambridge, MA. He and his Wife Tanya have a young 6-year-old son Lev, and they are on a path to full US citizenship. We remain close friends with them. Another good friend named Ira Kvasnitska, a fellow ESL teacher with Meg, has since emigrated to the US with her husband and daughter, and is on a path to US citizenship in the Chicago area. She’s now expecting her second child and we remain good friends with them as well.
Needless to say, our lives have been enriched in immeasurable ways by this Fulbright experience, and we will be always grateful for having had this opportunity. Thank you, thank you!!!
Allen B Tucker – Fulbright to Ukraine 2001