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New Mexico State University welcomes Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellow

An international student from Europe began pursuing her master's degree at New Mexico State University this fall as part of the United States Department of State Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program.

Tatiana Perju, from Moldova in Eastern Europe, earned the fellowship and is pursuing her Master of Arts in education with a concentration in "Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages." Perju is the third Muskie Fellow to study at NMSU.

"The program brings in other perspectives. It is also nice to have an international focus in our classes," said Maria Mercado, associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction for the NMSU College of Education. "It provides alternative ideas for students, and the international students also are enriched by hearing some of the issues we face near the border concerning TESOL."

The Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program was established by Congress in 1992 to encourage economic and democratic growth in Eurasia. It is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the International Research and Exchanges Board.

The program selects emerging leaders from 12 countries of the former Soviet Union and aims to promote mutual understanding, build democracy and foster the transition to market economies in Eurasia through academic study and professional training.

Muskie fellows gain exposure to American values through a community service experience and develop professional skills through a full-time internship in their field of study. Perju's internship will focus on TESOL, with specific focus on adult learners.

"The internship aspect of the program is great because it is not only valuable to the student's studies, but it also will benefit the community at large," Mercado said.

The program is highly competitive, averaging 4,000 applications per year with a four percent rate of acceptance.

For more information, visit www.irex.org/programs/muskie.