Ukraine students work on Indiana farms
Purdue agronomy professor Herb Ohm instructs Ol'Ha Reva on extracting plant DNA from wheat to determine which genes they have. A Ukrainian student, Reva worked in Ohm's lab on the Purdue campus in early August before returning to Fulton County to complete her work in Indiana agriculture. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue Extension educator in Fulton County has made it possible for two graduate students from Ukraine to stay with Indiana farmers to work and learn this summer.
Mark Kepler came up with the work-study idea after he visited the Poltava State Agrarian Academy in Ukraine three years ago.
"I corresponded back and forth to figure out this program, and we were able to put it together," he said. "This is an opportunity to bring students from Poltava, give them jobs and let them experience American agriculture."
Kepler last winter found two farmers in Fulton County interested in hiring students from Poltava to work on their farms this summer. The farms are family operations with more than 1,000 acres and exemplify farming life in Indiana.
Two graduate students - Ol'Ha Reva and Sergii Panchenk - arrived in Indiana in May to begin their work.
As part of the program, Reva came to Purdue University for three days in August to learn more about DNA extraction in plants. Working in a laboratory for the first time, she studied plants and genotypes with agronomy professor Herb Ohm.
"It's a chance for Reva to see what labs are like. In Ukraine they have book work but not laboratories," Kepler said.
After finishing her studies in the lab, Reva returned to Rochester to continue working on the farm with her host family, Tom and Jill Weaver.
"I help with different jobs," Reva said. "I was helping to clean the fields of roots and rocks. I like my role with my family here. I'm discovering new jobs and new people."
Panchenk is staying with Alan and Nancy Gohn in Rochester, working in the fields and helping around the farm.
Panchenk and Reva will fly back to Poltava in September.
Writer: Erica Sullivan, 765-494-8402, email@example.com
Source: Mark Kepler, 574-223-3397, firstname.lastname@example.org