Andriy Shymonyak '15 Spending Summer Researching the Polarization of Ukraine

Andriy Shymonyak ‘15, a student in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Poole College of Management, is a recent recipient of the Atlantic Coast Conference Inter-institutional Academic Collaborative (ACCIAC) Creativity and Innovation Fellowship. Shymonyak is using his award to fund a two month research trip to Ukraine this summer.

Shymonyak will spend time in the cities of Kharkiv, Kyiv, Lviv, and Odessa conducting interviews with professors and students to determine the causes of the increasing polarity in Ukraine, along with the resulting political, economic, social, and cultural consequences of polarization.

Shymonyak (left) as an objective observer at a protest outside of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) in Kyiv, Ukraine.

“When considering Ukrainian polarization, the country is divided into east and west,” says Shymonyak. “Traveling to both areas promises to provide a range of perspectives so that I will be able to gain a better understanding of the atmosphere in both regions and gather applicable source material.”

Shymonyak attributes his research interests to his strong ties to Ukraine, having been born in Novoyavorivsk prior to moving to the United States at age five. Shymonyak’s interest in Ukraine’s economy and politics was fostered under the guidance of his Park Faculty Mentor Clifford Griffin. Griffin serves as associate professor of political science and director of international programs in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Upon Shymonyak’s return to campus this fall, the two will collaborate on submissions for future annual meetings of the North Carolina Political Science Association and the Southern Political Science Association.

“I have been working with Dr. Griffin since the beginning of my freshman year on my interests in international relations and the geographic region of Eastern Europe,” says Shymonyak. “His mentorship thus far has been priceless and I look forward to continuing to work with him in the future.”

As a member of the University Honors Program, one of the core ideals of the honors experience is for students to engage in undergraduate research and prepare for graduate level research work. Shymonyak intends for his summer to serve as a springboard as he begins laying the foundation for his honors capstone project and Fulbright grant application.

Shymonyak has served as a leadership board member for Triangle Youth Leadership Services, co-founder and marketing chair for NetImpact, and discussion leader for the Park Global Steering Group. After graduating, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in international relations with a regional focus on Eastern Europe.

The ACCIAC Fellows Program in Creativity and Innovation provides funding for undergraduate projects based on five selection criteria: originality, creativity, innovation, experimentation, and intellectual risk. The NC State awards are coordinated by the Office of Undergraduate Research. Shymonyak will present the project’s results at the Atlantic Coast Conference Meeting of the Minds and the North Carolina State University Undergraduate Research Symposium in the upcoming academic year.

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