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Pictured left to right: Tom Cuchta and Alexander Lyapin

Collaboration continues beyond Fulbright Scholar’s placement at Fairmont State

Earlier this year, Fairmont State University welcomed its first Fulbright Scholar in more than two decades.

Fulbright Scholar, Alexander Lyapin, from the Siberian Federal University in Krasnoyarsk, Russia visited the University for nine months while teaching calculus and programming courses, conducting research and publishing articles alongside his host through the Fulbright Program, Fairmont State Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Tom Cuchta.

“This was such a great experience for our students and faculty, and we were fortunate for Alex’s presence on campus. This program has provided a perspective that most of us wouldn’t have without his time spent here,” Cuchta said. “That little bit of knowledge of a different part of the world can really change an individual’s outlook and how they see things.”

Lyapin noted that he enjoyed his tenure at Fairmont State while devoting himself to teaching, research and self-development. He also explained that he benefitted culturally by traveling throughout the state and surrounding areas, including Cleveland, Ohio for the Fulbright Scholar Conference in May.

“It was a really good experience for me, in both direction and scientifically,” Lyapin said. “It was absolutely a positive experience.”

Prior to his placement at Fairmont State University, Lyapin applied to the Fulbright Program but was unsuccessful for several years. In 2018, he was granted a Fulbright Scholarship and preparing for a placement at the Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., but was unfortunately unable to travel to the U.S. due to unforeseen circumstances.

Lyapin submitted another application to the Fulbright Scholar Program in 2020. However, deadlines for application materials had become much tighter due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained that several faculty members from the University agreed to work with him despite the time constraints, crediting Cuchta, along with Fairmont State University College of Science & Technology Dean, Steven Roof, and Fairmont State University Department Chair of Computer Science & Mathematics, Mahmood Hossain, ultimately allowing for his scholarship to be granted.

“They worked to arrange for the required documentation from the University in a very timely manner to get everything prepared,” Lyapin said. “I’m so grateful to them and the hospitality I received at Fairmont State.”

Although his placement at the University has ended, Lyapin and Cuchta are continuing their research and collaborative work in mathematics disciplines, specifically in difference equations.

“We work in difference equations, which give ways to describe what happens ‘at the next moment’ in terms of ‘what happened in some previous moments,’” Cutcha explained. “Mathematics collaborations often involve sharing problems to work on.”

Cutcha noted that he and Lyapin each brought different problems to each other for consideration, both of which have a common “multivariable flair.”

“For me personally, I have a new research colleague who I will collaborate with for decades to come,” Cuchta said. “There’s lots of places to go with the work that we’ve done.”

Echoing Cuchta’s sentiments, Lyapin added, “I now have a new co-author.”

Lyapin is one of only four scholars to be hosted at Fairmont State through the prestigious Fulbright Program. To learn more about the Fulbright Scholar Program, visit www.exchanges.state.gov.

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