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Onondaga Professor Named Fulbright Scholar

Onondaga’s Dr. Valerie Melburg has been named a Fulbright Scholar. Melburg is an Associate Professor who teaches Psychology in the Social Science department. The Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

“We are honored to have another Fulbright scholar,” said Margaret M. “Meg” O’Connell, Onondaga’s Interim President. “This award is a testament to Dr. Melburg’s hard work, and vision for the future of education. Our entire campus community is extremely proud of her.”

“This is a great day for Onondaga, our faculty, and Dr. Melburg,” said Cathleen C. McColgin, Ph.D., Provost and Senior Vice President at Onondaga. “It is unique for community college faculty members to be named Fulbright Scholars and it is further evidence of the tremendous faculty we have here and the outstanding education they provide our learners.”

In June 2012, Melburg spent 20 days in Russia as part of her effort to become a Fulbright Scholar. Melburg divided her time between two schools: South Federal University which has 45,000 students and is located in Rostov-on-Bon, and Sochi State University which has 3,000 students and is located in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi. Russia is reforming its education system so it resembles European and American systems. Melburg’s mission at both schools was the same. “In my application to the Fulbright program I proposed to help them develop online courses.” At both schools she met with faculty, staff, and graduates and gave lectures on distance learning and interactive teaching strategies. “In Russia faculty members read their lectures. I propose bringing the concept of active learning, student-centered learning, more about case studies and critical thinking.”

Melburg found her time in Russia to be extremely rewarding. “People were wonderful to me and very accepting of my ideas. They were very gracious and kind. I felt like I was part of their family.” Melburg is planning to return to Russia this June and continue her work as part of her Fulbright. She’s a native of New York City whose parents were born in Russia.

This is Onondaga’s second Fulbright Scholar. Last year, Lida Suchy was named a Fulbright Scholar. Suchy teaches Photography in Onondaga’s Art department. She also teaches advanced studio courses where students develop portfolios.

“I help students edit portfolios and develop strategies for transfer into photography programs at 4-year institutions. I am a passionate teacher and love my community college students.”

In the 1990’s Suchy did a photographic study in a remote community in the Carpathian Mountains of Western Ukraine. Through a series of 8”x10” portraits of individuals, Suchy created a composite portrait of the village. Thanks to her Fulbright, she will be returning to the Ukraine to do research and teach.

Suchy’s portraits will be highlighted in an exhibit opening March 6 at the Dolce Valvo Art Center at Niagara County Community College. The invitation card to the show reads, “Born into a refugee family, Lida Suchy creates photographic portraits of communities in the lost home of her family in Eastern Europe, as well as in her own home in America.” Suchy has also exhibited internationally in London, England and Hamburg, Germany.