Andriy Shymonyak is an accomplished NC State history and political science double major. The Park Scholar and University Honors Program member has earned several awards and scholarships – including being named a finalist for the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship.
Through his deep exploration of Ukrainian politics, history, and how they relate to eastern and central Europe, he has also built an impressive resume as an undergraduate, both here and abroad.
His studies have taken him overseas on several occasions, including to Poland, and a trip to Ukraine in the midst of the political upheaval in 2014. And while his specific line of research has fluctuated, it’s largely related back to Ukrainian national identity, he said.
“What does it mean to be Ukrainian?” Shymonyak said. “It grew from there and was nurtured by classes I took, professors and the Honors Program.”
Part of those research curiosities stem from a connection he shares with the area. He was born in Ukraine before his family moved to the United States when he was five years old. After starting at NC State on a path toward a business degree, he shifted his interest toward political science and history after taking an introductory course in international relations.
“The topics that were being addressed in that class were things I wanted to ask about and think about,” Shymonyak said.
SPIA professor Mark Nance said Shymonyak’s questions about national identity are vital, as they revolve around an issue that’s often contentious in that region. Nance, who taught Shymonyak in an introductory course in European politics, said helping students narrow their research interests is something he and other faculty do fairly often.
Professors at NC State are extremely willing and enthusiastic about working with students, he said, especially those who challenge themselves.
“The students who are interested and motivated to learn more and see different perspectives are the ones who are really exciting to us,” Nance said. “Andriy has a personal stake in what’s going on in the Ukraine, and his approach to that has been remarkably balanced.”
In addition to all his academic interests, Shymonyak took part in campus activities, including serving as Dean for a Day, when he switched places with Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Jeff Braden.
After earning his bachelor’s degree, Shymonyak wants to continue studying European history overseas in graduate school. Looking back at his time at NC State, he said he’s appreciative of the support he received throughout his undergraduate career — from Humanities and Social Sciences faculty to alumni, the Honors Program, Park Scholarships and the Fellowship Advising Office.
“That’s sort of not surprising,” Shymonyak said. “From the time I got to NC State, everybody has mattered in different ways.”
By Nash Dunn