Back to News

Dr. Natalia Smirnova Accepted for US Embassy Policy Specialist Program


Riverdale, NY- Dr. Natalia Smirnova, Assistant Professor of Economics at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, was selected in May for the U.S. Embassy Policy Specialist (EPS) Program, which is coordinated through the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). This program supports U.S. embassies and consulates overseas by providing policy specialists-in-residence. Dr. Smirnova will be at the U.S. Consulate in Vladivostok, Russia, during the 2009-2010 academic year researching the current and future state of economic development in the Russian Far East and the opportunities for improvement of labor market participation for Russian women.

The Russian Far East is an important regional power, both within Russia and within the Pacific Rim.  During this assignment, Dr. Smirnova will conduct an economic analysis of policies and projects of the infrastructure, economic diversification, competitiveness, entrepreneurship, environment and energy efficiency of the region.  The focus is to discover ways to attract U.S. businesses and investors to the Russian Far East.

The second part of the project will study the participation of women in the labor force with the aim of identifying policies that would increase the employment opportunities for American companies doing business in Russia.  Dr. Smirnova will study the factors affecting women’s labor market outcomes, especially in foreign firms.

These projects are intended to ultimately lead to the development of several new courses to be taught at the College, through the multidisciplinary Center for International Studies.  Curriculum-enriching courses, such as “Economics of Russia,” “Labor Market Developments in Russia,” and “Women in the Labor Market,” are offered as special topics for Business and Economics majors as well as in conjunction with the International Studies and Women’s Studies minors.

“I am very excited about the opportunities offered by this program in terms of my own professional growth and in terms of enrichment of the academic curriculum for students at the College,” said Dr. Smirnova.

IREX was established in 1968 by leading US universities to administer exchanges with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Over 6,000 American scholars have participated in IREX programs. For over 20 years, IREX has been the recipient of Title VIII funding from the US Department of State.