Researcher examines how Ukrainian immigrants adapt to U.S. life

March 13, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- “Using Indigenous Knowledge-Based Narratives to Facilitate Ukrainian Immigrants’ Adaptation to Life in the United States” will be presented by Svitlana Iarmolenko at noon March 26 in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library. This is the latest seminar in a series on indigenous knowledge that examines ways of knowing passed down orally from generation to generation. Following the presentation, a small reception will be held in the Mann Assembly Room, 103 Paterno Library, sponsored by the Penn State Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management. The event is free and open to the public and can also be viewed live online.  

Iarmolenko is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management. Her scholarly inquiry is grounded in the fusion of American academic tradition and Eastern European traditional indigenous knowledge. Her research project, supported in part by a 2013 Marjorie Grant Whiting Student Indigenous Knowledge Research Award, was aimed at finding ways to help Ukrainian immigrants to the United States cope with immigration-related stress. In a description of her research, she said, “Different ethnic groups have unique histories of immigration that impact their ability to acculturate into the host country. However, adjustment programs provided for immigrants often fail to address the need for social and economic assistance.”

During the summer of 2013, Iarmolenko interviewed fourth wave (late 1980s) Ukrainian immigrants living in New York about their experiences in the United States with a particular focus on the importance of traditional knowledge acquired in Ukraine. Using these stories, she plans to create messages and materials grounded in the traditional knowledge of Ukraine. Her presentation will address the possibility of using indigenous knowledge-based narratives to facilitate adaptation to the United States through the maintenance of a coherent Ukrainian identity. She will be introduced by Deborah Kerstetter, a professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management.

Iarmolenko has recently accepted a job at Georgia Southern University, where she plans to continue her research on the role of traditional knowledge and narratives in immigrant adaptation by studying other ethnic groups in the United States.

For more information, or if you anticipate needing accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, contact Raymond Chappetta at and 814-865-4861.

Last Updated January 10, 2015