Q & A with Mayya Nguen, 2016 ISKRAN Visiting Fellow

September 12, 2016

Soon after arriving in College Park, MD, for her fellowship earlier this fall, Mayya Nguen sat down with CISSM to discuss her background and goals for her visit.

What attracted you to the ISKRAN Visiting Scholar Program at CISSM?
I was attracted by CISSM itself. I participated in week-long ISKRAN scholar visits in the spring of 2015 and 2016. During those visits, we met with officials from think tanks in D.C. and had workshops with Prof. Nancy Gallagher and her students. Together, the ISKRAN students and our American counterparts tried to identify common ground between Americans and Russians on a variety of international issues. My group addressed the Syrian crisis, and we worked together productively. I applied to visit again this fall, because I knew the University of Maryland and CISSM in particular, and knew that CISSM is home to outstanding practitioners and scholars. I’m glad to be a guest.

Tell us about your educational and professional background?
I am a junior research fellow at the Institute of USA and Canada Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN). I earned my international relations specialist degree at the State Academic University for Humanities, which is based at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Last year, I entered ISKRAN’s economics Ph.D. program and would like to focus on U.S. domestic issues in my doctoral studies.

What are your current research interests?
I’m interested in the topic of state and local pension funds in the United States. Russia doesn’t have such programs yet, and I’d like to learn about their mechanism of functioning and their impact on national well-being.  

What do you hope to achieve during your time here?
I would like to contribute to CISSM’s research focused on Russian-American cooperation. There are plenty of international challenges that could be common ground for Russian-American cooperation: nuclear arms control, cybersecurity, counter-terrorism efforts, humanitarian aid to the people of Syria. An example of successful recent cooperation is the Iran Nuclear Deal. 
I also hope to advance my doctoral studies while here. I’m hoping to meet with a number of specialists in social security and state and local pension funds, so that I can better understand the challenges and trends in their development. Moreover, I find this year particular interesting due to the presidential elections. Being at the University of Maryland will allow me to take advantage of Washington D.C.’s proximity.