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KU News Release

July 26, 2006
Contact: Brandis Griffith, University Relations, (785) 864-8855.

KU centers receive millions to train foreign language and culture specialists

LAWRENCE — For students studying foreign languages and cultures at the University of Kansas, learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom.

This summer, several KU students visited the countries they have spent so much time studying. As they return, the federal government is renewing funds to keep KU’s language and culture centers ahead of similar programs.

The U.S. Department of Education provides the funding under Title VI of the Higher Education Act. The Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies will receive $1.88 million over four years. This Foreign Language Area Studies grant allows eight to 10 graduate students to focus their studies on nations in Eurasia and Europe.

Erik Herron, director of the Center for Russian, East Eurpean and Eurasian Studies, says the program began during the Cold War with goals to train students about critical areas of the world, and at the time, to better understand and respond to national security needs. Now, he says, the program meets goals to train specialists in the lesser-taught languages and cultures.

The Center for East Asian Studies will receive $1.3 million, supplying about three fellowships. The Kansas African Studies Center will receive $1.5 million for four student fellowships. The grand total of awards to the KU centers is $4.6 million.

Fifty percent to 70 percent of the funds awarded are for the centers’ National Resource Center designations.

“The NRC component is also really important because it contributes to curriculum and outreach that reaches out to our communities, to K-12 teachers and schools and other post secondary institutions,” Herron said.

The East Asian and Russian, East European and Eurasian centers have been national resource centers for 47 and 41 years, respectively. The Kansas African Studies Center received similar funding between 1994-97 and 2000-03.

The centers are among 124 in the country to receive funding under the Higher Education Act.

“I think that speaks well to KU’s programs. Not every university gets these centers,” Herron said.

Students studying languages and cultures this summer in programs sponsored by Foreign Language Area Studies are listed below by their hometowns.

DOUGLAS COUNTY
From Lawrence
Jeremy Antley is a master’s degree student in history and the son of Harry and Cindy Herington. He is participating in an Indiana University summer language program in Russian. He received a bachelor’s degree in education from KU in 2005 and is a Lawrence Free State High School graduate.

Danielle Schlesinger, master’s degree student in Russian and East European studies, is studying in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa.

Olena Chervonik-Bearden, master’s degree student in Slavic languages and literatures and in linguistics, is studying in Poland. She has a bachelor’s degree from Kyiv National University of Economics in Ukraine.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Overland Park
Geoffrey Michael Cook, master’s degree student in business administration, is participating in KU’s intensive Chinese Summer Program. He is the son of Michael and Karen Cook. He received a bachelor’s degree in East Asian languages and cultures from KU in 2005. He is a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park.

CONNECTICUT
From Norwalk
Sara Jane Rowden, master’s degree student in Russian and East European studies, is studying in St. Petersburg, Russia. She is the daughter of Cheryl Rowden. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and is a graduate of Green Ridge R-VIII High School in Green Ridge, Mo.

IOWA
From Decorah
Laura Ann Chaney, master’s degree student in Russian and East European studies, is studying in Vladimir, Russia. She is a graduate of Luther College in Decorah.

NEBRASKA
From Omaha
John David Schneiderwind, doctoral student in modern Japanese history, is studying in Yokohama, Japan. He earned a bachelor’s degree in East Asian languages and cultures from KU in 1999 and is a graduate of Millard North High School in Omaha.

OHIO
From Miamisburg
Brian Douglas Frank, master’s degree student in Russian and East European studies, is studying in Lviv, Ukraine. He has a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va.

WISCONSIN
From Madison
Nathan Melvin Gerth, master’s degree student in Russian and East European studies, is studying in Vladimir, Russia. He is a graduate of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

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