Ekaterina, new Muskie Fellow, in the Grady College.

New Muskie Fellow From Russia Begins Graduate Program in Public Relations

Ekaterina Shmykova from Russia enrolled in the graduate program of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in August after being selected as a Muskie Fellowship finalist.

Ms. Shmykova plans to specialize in public relations.

Ms. Shmykova is being hosted at the University of Georgia by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, a unit of the Grady College.

The Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program is operated by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affair (ECA) of the United States Department of State and is administered by IREX, the International Research & Exchange Board. The program was established in 1992 to promote mutual understanding between the United States andformer Soviet Republics.

Nearly 4,000 applicants from 12 countries competed for the Fellowships in 2006. In the end, 144 finalists were selected and placed in various U.S. universities, depending on their field of specialization. In Russia, the competition was particularly strong, with more then 30 people competing for each of the slots.

Before coming to the United States , Ms. Shmykova worked simultaneously for two companies as a marketer. In one of her assignments she was responsible for building positive image of the consulting company Xclusive Consulting she analyzed the company relationships with its clients and introduced several changes to make these relationships more beneficial for both sides.

In the second assignment, Ms. Shmykova closely worked with local and national mass media to provide them with up-to-date information on the children contest computer Genius. This contest was administered as a part of presidential program for talented Children of Russia and in 2006 was held on the territory of the Siberian Federal Region, which includes 16 areas.

Ms. Shmykova, who is from Novosibirsk in Siberia , graduated from Novosibirsk State University with a diploma in economic sociology. She spent academic year 2002-2003 as an exchange student at Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, VA.

"I believe my knowledge of sociology will help me in obtaining the Master's degree in the Grady College," Ms. Shmykova said. "Good theoretical and practical background in conducting research should be very helpful while working on any research project in the area of mass communication."

Ms. Shmykova said that in her work she had "done a lot of marketing communication and just a little bit of PR communication." She said in her graduate study at Grady she "wants to gain more practical experience in PR and learn the theoretical basis of it."

The Cox Center previously has hosted three Muskie Fellows, two from Ukraine and one from Armenia .

"This is an excellent program," Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox Center, said. "I feel the Muskie Fellows enrich graduate studies here in the College. We're pleased to have been selected once again to host a Muskie Fellow and very delighted to have Ekaterina here with us."