Above: Tom Cuchta (left), assistant professor of mathematics at Fairmont State University, and Alexander Lyapin (right), Fulbright Scholar from the Siberian Federal University in Krasnoyarsk, Russia (Fairmont State University)
Fairmont State University welcomed its first Fulbright Scholar since the 1999 – 2000 academic year earlier this semester.
Fulbright Scholar, Alexander Lyapin, from the Siberian Federal University in Krasnoyarsk, Russia is visiting the University for nine months while teaching and conducting research with his host through the Fulbright Program, College of Science & Technology faculty member, Tom Cuchta. Lyapin is one of only four scholars to be hosted at Fairmont State through the prestigious Fulbright Program.
“Our lives become more economically, intellectually and culturally global each and every day,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “Through this Fulbright Scholar experience, our students will experience new ideas, and have the opportunity to broaden their perspectives, all while Dr. Cuchta and Dr. Lyapin jointly conduct important research. We are honored and excited for this prestigious opportunity.”
The Fulbright Scholar Program is the flagship international exchange initiative sponsored by the United States government, which provides grants to 850 foreign scholars from more than 100 countries to study, teach and conduct post-doctoral research at institutions within the U.S. Participants are selected for their academic merit and leadership potential for placement lengths ranging from an academic semester to a full academic year.
Cuchta explained hosting a Fulbright Scholar allows students to think from a broader perspective, while serving the University’s mission to educate global citizens.
“The Fulbright Program is a federal program with the goal of promoting cultural exchange between the U.S. and other countries,” Cuchta said. “Our students are participants in this cultural exchange – many students at Fairmont State have never met someone from another country before, let alone having such a person as a teacher.”
When reflecting on his journey to become a visiting Fulbright Scholar in the U.S., Lyapin noted several of his colleagues from his home institution at the Siberian Federal University received scholarships from Fulbright when he made the decision to “roll up his sleeves” and pursue one himself.
Lyapin described his first several attempts as, “crowned with an ill success.” In 2018, he was granted a Fulbright Scholarship and preparing for a placement at the Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, but he was unfortunately unable to travel to the U.S. at the time.
Lyapin applied again for the Fulbright Scholar Program in 2020, but had a tight deadline to submit his application materials due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained that Cuchta agreed to work with him despite the time constraints and prepared the required documentation from Fairmont State, allowing for Lyapin’s scholarship to be granted.
“I can firmly say I made the right choice,” Lyapin noted regarding his decision to select Fairmont State University for his Fulbright institution placement.
Looking ahead to the remainder of his time spent at Fairmont State, Lyapin said he’s aiming to reach several goals while teaching calculus and programming courses at the University and conducting research alongside Cuchta through his placement ending in August.
“Tom and I have ambitious plans for preparing several articles, which will continue after my departure. It raised my eyebrows, but we have found much more ideas for collaboration than I expected before,” Lyapin concluded.