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Weiser Professional Development Fellows

Since 2009, the Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia at the University of Michigan has been awarding Weiser Professional Development Fellowships to faculty and artists at institutions of higher education in select countries in Europe and Eurasia. Fellows work on projects with a faculty partner at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. See below and on past fellow pages the profiles of successful Weiser Professional Development Fellows.

For more information about the fellowship, and to apply, see our Visiting Fellows page.

Sona Hakobyan
Weiser Professional Development Fellow, 2020

Sona Hakobyan is the head of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at Eurasia International University in Yerevan, Armenia. She holds a Ph.D. in philology from Yerevan Brusov State Linguistic University. Her recent research focuses on linguistic semantics, corpus linguistics, political discourse, political linguistics, and pragmatics. Her dissertation was titled “Event-based Semantic Analysis of U.S. Official Announcements on Armenian Genocide.” Currently, she is engaged in research on TEFL methodology, curriculum development, instructional design, classroom action research, and preparation of standardized international tests (e.g., TOEFL and IELTS) in Armenia. Professor Hakobyan will visit U-M in March to work on the research project, “Event-semantics Analysis of the American Political Discourse on Armenian Remembrance Day and the Implementation of Curricula on Discourse Studies,” with Professor Kevork Bardakjian, Marie Manoogian Professor of Armenian Languages and Literatures. 

Meruyert Ibrayeva
Weiser Professional Development Fellow, 2020

Meruyert Ibrayeva is an assistant professor of philological science in the School of Sciences and Humanities at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. She holds a PhD of philology in comparative linguistics from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, and previously was senior teacher in the Department of Cross-cultural Communication at Innovative University of Eurasia, Pavlodar. Her research focuses on theory and practice of mastering a second language, comparative linguistics in the context of modernity, and university management. Professor Ibrayeva will visit U-M in March to work on the research project, “The Effect of the Social Aspect of Code-switching on Academic Writing in the United States, and Its Application/Significance for Academic Writing at English-Medium Universities in Kazakhstan,” with Carmela Romana Gillette, lecturer at the English Language Institute.

Zhamilya Nugmanova
Weiser Professional Development Fellow, 2020 (postponed to Fall 2021)

Zhamilya Nugmanova, M.D., Ph.D., D.Med.Sci., is a founding chair of the Division of HIV Infection and Infection Control at the Asfendiyarov Kazakh National Medical University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She plays a key role in developing HIV training curricula and works closely with the Almaty AIDS Center, one of the largest HIV clinics in Kazakhstan. She teaches about biomedicine, clinical care, and social issues related to HIV, and provides country-wide training on standard precaution for medical doctors, nurses, and epidemiologists to prevent healthcare associated blood borne infections. Dr. Nugmanova has played a key role in enhancing the nation’s ability to respond to the epidemic of HIV and has worked closely with many of the implementing agencies in Kazakhstan. Her current research is focused on evidence-based models for HIV prevention, epidemiology, and clinical care. Dr. Nugmanova will visit U-M in September to work on the research project, “HIV Epidemic in Kazakhstan,” with Elizabeth J. King, assistant professor of health behavior and health education.

Michal Pastorek
Weiser Professional Development Fellow, 2020 (postponed to Fall 2021) 

Michal Pastorek is a fellow at the Institute of Molecular Biomedicine, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. His research interests include innate immune system activation in pathology of various diseases, biology of extracellular DNA, and hypoxia in tumor microenvironment. He received his Ph.D. in oncology at Comenius University, where he teaches courses at the Medical Faculty and Faculty of Natural Sciences. In 2008, he was awarded the Young Oncologist Award by the Slovakian Academy of Sciences. Professor Pastorek will visit U-M in May 2020 to work on his research project, “Potential Role of Caffeine as a Regulator of Neutrophil Extracellular Trap Formation,” in collaboration with Jason S. Knight, Marvin and Betty Danto Research Professor of Connective Tissue Research and associate professor of internal medicine.

Sherzod Rakhmonov
Weiser Professional Development Fellow, 2020

Sherzod Rakhmonov is an associate professor in the Department of Geodesy and Geoinformatics at the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers (TIIAME) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He studied geographic information system (GIS) mapping in a joint master’s program at the Universidad Jaume I (Spain) and the University of Muenster (Germany), and later completed a one-year internship in planning at the GIS department of Wasco County, Oregon. He holds a Ph.D. in land management from TIIAME. During his professional career, he has been involved in a number of Uzbek government and Erasmus+ funded projects as a consultant and a research fellow. His professional interests are mainly in urban and regional planning, GIS, and remote sensing. Professor Rakhmonov will visit U-M in March to work on a research project titled, “Spatial Prediction of Tashkent City Using Remote Sensing,” with Kathleen Bergen, associate research scientist of environment and sustainability, and Joshua Newell, associate professor of environment and sustainability.

Gayrat Urazboev
Weiser Professional Development Fellow, 2020 (postponed to Fall 2021) 

Gayrat Urazboev is a professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Mathematics Physics and vice-rector of international collaboration at Urgench State University in Urgench, Uzbekistan. He graduated from the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics at Moscow State University and has a Ph.D. (Doctor of Sciences) in mathematics physics from the National University of Uzbekistan. His research interests are inverse scattering method, nonlinear evolution PDE with self-consistent source, solitons theory, and integrability. Professor Urazboev will visit U-M in September to work on the project, “The Finding of Analogies between Continuous and Discrete Properties of Korteweg de Vries Type Equations with Self-consistent Source,” with Peter D. Miller, professor of mathematics.

Zhanat Zakiyeva
Weiser Professional Development Fellow, 2020 (postponed to Fall 2021) 

Zhanat Zakiyeva is an associate professor and head of the Department of Economics at Abai University, Institute Sorbonne-Kazakhstan in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She graduated from the Faculty of Economics at Eastern Kazakhstan State Technical University and has a Ph.D. in economics from Kazakh State Economic University. Professor Zakiyeva is a graduate of the Oxford University Foreign Service Program (UK) and the Business Administration Program of Swinburne University (Australia). For 20 years she worked for the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs in various diplomatic roles, and for the Kazakhstan National Commission for UNESCO and ISESCO as an expert in the field of multilateral and regional cooperation. Her recent books include The European Union and the Migration Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities (2016), Kazakhstan in the Eurasian Union: New Opportunities and Prospects (2015), and Eastern Vector of European Politics (2015). Professor Zakiyeva will visit U-M in May 2020 to work on her research project, “Regional Connectivity in Central Asia in the Context of the Global Powers’ strategies,” with John Ciorciari, associate professor of public policy.