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Baruch College Graduate Student Wins Fulbright Award to Conduct Research in Ukraine

Samantha Shokin, a graduate student at Baruch College's Weissman School of Arts and Science, will conduct research on the revitalization of Yiddish music and culture. Samantha Shokin, a graduate student at the Weissman School of Arts and Science, will conduct research on the revitalization of Yiddish music and culture

Samantha Shokin (’20), a graduate student pursuing a Master’s in Arts Administration from the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award for the 2020-2021 academic year to conduct research in Ukraine.

Since high school, Shokin viewed the Fulbright award as an “incredible opportunity.” “I didn’t think I was ready to apply as an undergrad,” she explained. “I’m glad I waited until graduate school to apply and am in disbelief and amazement that I was selected as a Fulbright awardee.”

Shokin is among 2,100 U.S. citizens who will study, conduct research, or teach abroad for the 2021 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. (Normally the grant period would begin in September, but it has been postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19 precautions.) Fulbright award recipients are selected based on their “academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.”

Research Focus: Yiddish Music and Culture

While in Ukraine, Shokin will conduct research about the revitalization of Yiddish music and culture. The extensive project will have two overlapping parts: tracing the arc of the post-Soviet Yiddish cultural revitalization, and researching current initiatives and opportunities for the continued development of Yiddish music and culture in Ukraine.  

Yet, Shokin’s goals do not stop there. During her Fulbright experience, she also plans to launch a podcast, improve her Ukrainian and Russian skills, and audit Yiddish courses at her affiliate university, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

“Traveling to Kyiv in summer 2018 offered a glimpse into the cultural fabric of Ukraine and made me want to return there with a concrete purpose,” Shokin said. “My goal is to understand how Jewish folklife and Yiddish programs—festivals, concerts, workshops, etc.—are shaping Ukraine's cultural landscape, and identify new avenues for public engagement.”

She added, “Through these efforts, I hope to build local and international support for Yiddish life in Ukraine, helping to ensure its continuity for future generations.”

Baruch College’s Office of National & Prestigious Fellowships Advising supported Shokin throughout the Fulbright application process. Office staff are available to assist students who are interested in applying for fellowships and scholarships. Learn more about the office’s resources here.   

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(Story published on 4/27/20)

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