Belarusan student, sociology major wins award for paper

Yuliya Dudaronak, a senior sociology major from Minsk, Belarus, earned the top prize for her paper Friday, Feb. 17 at the North Carolina Sociological Association meeting. Details...

Dudaronak won the undergraduate paper award for four year colleges and universities for her research titled “Post-Soviet Russians in American Minds: Movies and Reality.” She will receive $150 and a certificate of recognition for her work.

Dudaronak’s research focused on her interest about sterotypes of nations around the world, specifically Russia and Eastern Europe. For the project, she analyzed the portrayal of Russians in popular American movies, then compared those portrayals to the stereotypes American students have of Russians.

“For example, in the movies it’s always winter in Russia,” said Dudaronak, adding that about 50 percent of the students believed the Russian winter lasts 7 months or longer. “That’s not true, but many people believed it because of what they had seen in the movies.”

Dudaronak hopes to attend graduate school in the United States in either Russian studies or cultural studies. While traveling in the U.S. in the summer of 2004, her home university, European Humanities University in Minsk, was closed due to political turmoil. Dudaronak and about 20 other students from the university traveling in the U.S. at the time were able to attend American universities.