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September 1, 2011

ULM Welcomes Global UGRAD Fellows

The University of Louisiana at Monroe recently welcomed five new international students as part of the U.S. Department of State's Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Eurasia and Central Asia.

Joining the ULM family are Volha Burak of Belarus, Anton Dudko of Ukraine, Dana Nugmanova of Kazakhstan, Maria Petrosyan of Armenia, and Yana Pliskanovskaya of Russia.

The Global UGRAD Program aims to advance youth leadership and promote mutual understanding by providing one year of non-degree U.S. study to undergraduates from 12 countries of the former Soviet Union.

In addition to their academic studies, Global UGRAD fellows perform community service, explore American traditions through the unique Cultural Passport to America program and hold one-semester internships.

"These are some of the brightest, most motivated and engaged students I have ever worked with," said Dr. Mara Loeb, director of ULM International Student Programs and Services.

"Since the programs require them to give two talks each on their home country and engage in 20 hours of public service, I expect them to leave a strong positive impression on the community as well. "

The program is highly competitive, averaging over 3,000 applications per year with a five percent rate of acceptance. It is one of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' programs within the Department of State and is administered by the International Research & Exchanges Board.

Since 1992, nearly 4,000 participants have completed the program, increasing diversity on over 140 campuses throughout the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.

If organizations would like to request a Global UGRAD Program fellow as a speaker or volunteer, they may call Loeb at 318-342-5225 or

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State fosters mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and those of other countries to promote friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations.

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