Friday, November 3, 2023

Higher Education in the US and Ukraine Panel - Meet the Exchange Students from the Kyiv School of Economics at UMass Amherst

Yesterday was a very special evening at UMass Amherst. The UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter organized a special event, "Higher Education in the US and Ukraine Panel - Meet the Exchange Students from the Kyiv School of Economics."

The 4 exchange students from Ukraine, who are now studying at UMass Amherst, are taking courses in my Operations and Information Management (OIM) Department and in Economics, Resource Economics and Mathematics.

The exchange is part of an outstanding partnership between UMass Amherst and the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE), made possible through the International Programs Office at UMass Amherst and its Director, the Vice Provost for Global Affairs Kalpen Trivedi.

Below is a collage of photos from the panel, which took place at the Isenberg School of Management.

The UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter Officers, under its President, Dana Hassani, did an excellent job of promoting the event and it was featured on the UMass Amherst webpage. They also secured the room for the panel and designed the nice poster below.

Assisting me with the moderation last evening was my great colleague from the Management Department, Bogdan Prokopovych.

In the presentation, background was provided about this unique partnership, which, in addition to the student exchange program, has helped to support 15 Virtual Scholars in Ukraine, who have been matched with faculty hosts at UMass Amherst.

The full slidedeck can be viewed here. The slidedeck contains background on KSE and the partnership and also includes a video provided by KSE Rector Tymofii Brik to welcome the exchange students from Ukraine.

In the slidedeck are also posted questions that our panelists responded to yesterday prior to the Q&A with the audience.

It was a very warm and inspirational evening. The questions began with some "lighter" ones concerning their favorite foods at the award-winning UMass Amherst Dining Commons, to questions on teaching styles of professors at KSE versus UMass Amherst. Questions were also asked on what they will bring back from UMass to KSE. The answers from our panelists were interesting and very informative. I was especially touched by the exchange students' dedication to help in the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine and, hence, their desire to achieve the best education possible.

They delighted the audience with their expressions of joy at seeing a UMass hockey game and various sports; their enthusiasm at using our stunning Recreation Center; their enjoyment of the many student clubs at UMass Amherst, including our OIM Student Club!

Our exchange students from KSE appreciate the expansive size of our beautiful UMass Amherst campus, the lovely Amherst Town Center, the beauty of the surrounding nature and the peace.

In the slidedeck, administrators and faculty are thanked and also 3 special preceding events that we co-organized last year highlighted.

Thanks to all, who, in support of this partnership, have helped to reduce brain drain from Ukraine; have helped to forge new, impactful research collaborations across the miles in wartime, and these collaborations have led to sustained friendships, and are now educating and supporting students from Ukraine. I believe that we are learning even more from the students than they are from us.