College of Ag Sciences announces recipients of CURAD Virtual Fellows Program

February 12, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has named the recipients of its first-ever Consortium for Ukraine’s Rural and Agricultural Development Virtual Fellows Program.

Iryna Lytvynchuk, of Polissia National University in Zhytomyr, Ukraine; and Maksym Klymenko, of Kyiv-based National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, will support the consortium’s work to help Ukraine realize its full potential related to land market privatization.

Penn State is a founding member and chair of the Consortium for Ukraine’s Rural and Agricultural Development, referred to as CURAD. Ohio State University, Louisiana State University and University of Missouri also are members.

These land-grant universities have pledged support for continued reform and development of the agricultural and rural sectors in Ukraine, explained Deanna Behring, assistant dean and director of international programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

“CURAD builds on our college’s long-standing relationship with partners in Ukraine, driven in large part by real estate developers Helen and Alex Woskob and their family, who have invested much time, expertise and resources in the local community and Penn State,” she said. “We are thrilled to have these exceptional leaders join us in advancing progress in Ukraine.”

The fellowship provides scholars at Ukrainian agricultural universities with the opportunity to study educational methods, to take and co-teach courses, and to establish links with Penn State researchers. Due to COVID, the scholars will collaborate via online interactions during the 2021-22 academic year.

During the fellowship, Lytvynchuk plans to investigate community economic development and community engagement. Tim Kelsey, co-director of the Center for Economic and Community Development and professor of agricultural economics in the college, will be her mentor.

CURAD Fellow Iryna

Iryna Lytvynchuk is director of the Center for Intellectual Property, Innovation and Project Management at Polissia National University.

IMAGE: Iryna Lytvynchuk

As director of the Center for Intellectual Property, Innovation and Project Management at Polissia National University, Lytvynchuk has responsibilities related to external and internal university development projects. She also organizes educational programs for rural youth to prepare them for the labor market.

Polissia National University, she explained, is expanding its focus to support regional and local development. “We are trying to establish a wide cooperation network with local rural communities to serve them as an extension center,” she said. “That is why I have a strong interest in the extension model and American experience with its implementation.”

Additionally, she wants to implement new master’s degree programs at Polissia, helping to advance the cooperation and development of relations with the American universities.

“I aim to establish dual-education models and rural ecosystem development projects that will accelerate the scaling of the economic outputs for the society,” she said. “I intend to start by preparing a new cohort of talented specialists based on knowledge gained at Penn State.”

Growing up in a small village in central Ukraine, Klymenko witnessed many challenges the agricultural and rural sector communities faced, including what he described as “backward” social services, deterioration of natural resources and rural outflow.

CURAD Fellow Max

Maksym Klymenko is a doctoral candidate in finance at Kyiv-based National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine.

IMAGE: Maksym Klymenko

“The CURAD Fellowship is a great chance to enhance my knowledge in agricultural development, sustainable land management and land reform process,” said Klymenko, a doctoral candidate in finance. “Also, taking part in such a high-level program allows me to reach the global scientific community, collaborate with them, absorb their experience and share mine.”

This is not his first time working with Penn State — he took a food safety course at his university that was led by Penn State faculty. He was impressed with how the class was conducted and with the helpfulness of the instructors.

“The CURAD Fellowship is a perfect continuation and a positive platform,” said Klymenko, who will be mentored by Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural and regional economics. “With the generous support from Penn State, the Woskobs and Professor Goetz, I hope to improve Ukraine’s agricultural and rural development, its ecological footprint, and the welfare of its rural inhabitants.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 12, 2021