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Fearless Fulbrights: Dr. Olga Gresko

Dr. Olga Gresko shares her experience as a Ukrainian Fulbright scholar at UMD, collaborating with the Philip Merrill School of Journalism.

1. For those who may be unfamiliar with you and your work, can you share a little bit about yourself, your research interests at UMD, and the scope of your Fulbright?

The Fulbright program is the best opportunity for me to exchange professional experience with colleagues from the US and other countries. As a participant of FRDP 2023-24 from Ukraine, I focus on exploring American approaches in teaching journalism at the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at UMD. Designing a new course in broadcast journalism is one of the purposes of my project. 

My research is also devoted to media in the USA, especially connected with academic society including student media, public and private sector, and NGOs. Having the experience as a journalist since 1997, I present the modern media system of Ukraine within the European media landscape—best Ukrainian practices against disinformation, propaganda, and fake news. 

I also promote Ukrainian achievements and contributions of Ukrainians to world civilization, cultural peculiarities, and the ability of Ukrainian people to be united and unite the whole world! The scope of my Fulbright could be implemented globally by means of presenting common American-Ukrainian research results, media production, etc.   

2. What inspired you to start this process of becoming a Fulbright participant? What was your process in approaching the application?

My student dream of becoming a Fulbright participant finally was realized by my status as an Associate Professor within the Educational and Scientific institute of journalism at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. This more than 20-year dream reflects the ambitions and desire of my generation of Ukrainians to live in democratic, successful, sovereign Ukraine. It was not easy for me to make one more attempt to apply for the Fulbright program again, especially during the Russian invasion which began on Feb. 24 of 2022. 

I was inspired by my relatives and friends with the strong argument that my activity promoting Ukraine could be much more helpful and efficient abroad. In addition, the Fulbright office in Kyiv always presents alumni’s practical results using soft power to impact the world. Despite the air attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, the absence of electricity, and other circumstances inherent in war, I applied and got it!

3. In 2022, the university released their new strategic plan, Fearlessly Forward. One of its core tenets is to take on the world's grand challenges. In what ways does your work contribute to supporting the common good?

My work contributes to supporting the common good in a few ways: empowering independent media, preventing disinformation by improving journalistic education in Ukraine and globally, as well as implementing successful case studies of sustainable development into syllabuses in Journalism disciplines through American-Ukrainian media production. 

4. What has been the most surprising thing you've found in your research and scholarship?

The most surprising thing I’ve found in my scholarship is people in the USA who put Ukrainian flags next to American ones on their houses, who say “Slava Ukrayini! Heroyam Slava!” upon seeing me dressed with Ukrainian national costume in Washington D.C. Additionally, those who kindly remark “what nice sunflowers” when I carried them to the Holodomor Memorial to Victims of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1933-1933 on the 90th anniversary. I appreciate all the support of Americans who stand with Ukraine fighting for freedom and democracy, especially in this hard time of aggression from the Russian Federation since 2014.

5. How do you plan to carry forward what you learned and the relationships you formed while abroad?

Americans have impressed me with their positive thinking and ability to move on with new ideas and projects. I’m going to maintain and develop professional relationships I’ve formed via teaching, researching and other activities in future. 

 One of such initiatives we’ve started alongside my supervisor Associate Dean, Prof. Sarah Oates, is continuing to build bridges between the USA and Ukraine in different fields. 

6. For others that are interested in becoming Fulbright participants, what advice do you have for them?

As a Ukrainian Terrapin at UMD, let me wish all potential Fulbrighters all over the world to move forward! Follow your dreams, be united, successful and free!

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Visit our Fulbright Scholars gallery to meet our fearless scholars engaging with the world. For general program information and application guidance, visit our "How to Fulbright at Maryland" section at the bottom of the page. Interested in applying for your own Fulbright, or want to learn more about the program? Email UMD’s Fulbright U.S. Scholars liaison at Scholten@umd.edu. 

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