Iaryna Iasenytska: Outstanding Graduating International Student

Iaryna Iasenytska of Kyiv, Ukraine is the Outstanding Graduating International Student in the Honors College. She is an international affairs major with a concentration in international security, with minors in Spanish and in legal studies. Her honors thesis is “One-Eyed Man and the Wicked Boar.” Last year, Iasenytska was a research assistant with the Marine Fisheries Partnership and is an assistant in the Office of International Programs. She has had internships in Kyiv with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Relocation VIP Servis. Iasenytska has held leadership positions in the International Student Association. She plans to pursue a career in international politics.

What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals? 
I think UMaine’s education had a big role to play in building up the first steps to who I am striving to become. In other words, UMaine gave an opportunity to learn from many great people who have taught me and challenged me to dig and think deeper.

Have you had an experience at UMaine that has changed or shaped the way you see the world?
I think the overall experience of being in the academic place provided a lot of insight on how the future is built out. Thus, while sitting with future engineers, chemists, teachers, computer scientists, diplomats and politicians, it all created that perspective that each generation is built not in a single day. Furthermore, UMaine also has shown me that although we live in a more globalized world today, the flow of information, or rather misinformation, is rather concerning. Hence, it is at best to set one’s values, research those topics that are important and continue educating oneself every day.

Why UMaine?
I visited the campus my senior year of high school and UMaine felt right. At that time, I was debating between going to a university in the city versus those more campus oriented they seemed more intact and less hectically dispersed. As a result, the day of my visit, as I was walking by Fogler Library and through the Mall, I saw students being so engaged in what they were doing, flicking through the pages; maybe an exam or an upcoming midterm? It was something that I was looking for too! Plus, when I got to know the faculty at UMaine, it definitely reassured me that I was at the right place.

How would you define the opportunities for student success at UMaine? 
UMaine has many good resources. Nonetheless, by the end of anyone’s fourth year, Fogler Library, its librarians and resources all become your best friends since they can get almost any paper, research article or document that you need.

Have you worked closely with a professor or mentor who made your UMaine experience better?
There were a couple of professors I found extremely inspirational, with whom I gladly worked, met, and chatted with day to day, including Kristin Vekasi, Paul Holman, Stefano Tijerina, Asif Nawaz, Maria Sandweiss, Robert Ballingall, Robert Glover and Lora Pitman. The first professor I have gotten to know well and who has served as a big inspiration for me was Michael Palmer. I would say that he was that unique professor who you had to get to know better to appreciate. Long story short, somehow, my freshman year, I ended up having him for Intro to Political Philosophy and then the next day, saw him in my Honors Seminar. Overall, professor Palmer helped me learn extremely valuable lessons not only in regard to academics, but also life.

What advice do you have for incoming students to help them get off to the best start academically
Academic life is similar to jogging. The result depends solely on you, and you are the one who has to keep pushing no matter what. The finish line might be sweet or bittersweet, and it all comes to you and how much of “you” was put into those four years. So relax, focus, dream and achieve!

Contact: Margaret Nagle, nagle@maine.edu