MTSU Quantum launches ‘STEM with UKRAINE’ Initiative to expand inclusivity, support

Jun 10, 2024 at 08:43 pm by WGNS News

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee State University recently launched the STEM with UKRAINE Initiative, partnering with Ukrainian and American universities and institutions to bring and sustain quantum computing education for an international population under the burden of an ongoing war with Russia.
“This collaboration aims to democratize access to quantum education and foster international cooperation in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math), especially to students and faculty in Ukraine, who, despite the very challenging times, continue to be fully committed to science and education,” said Hanna Terletska, Physics and Astronomy Department associate professor and head of the university’s larger Quantum Science Initiative that houses the new project.
Terletska first coordinated with Khrystyna Voitovych, an associate dean from the Ukrainian Drohobych Ivan Franko State Pedagogical University, or DSPU, to launch the initiative, developing and leading the virtual, three-month Introduction to Quantum Computing course this spring. 
Since its inception, the partnership grew to include 29 Ukrainian universities and institutions, 10 U.S. institutions and one Canadian university and successfully guided 100 participants — harkening from an array of academic backgrounds and countries such as Canada, China, India, Italy, Ukraine and the U.S. — to earning completion certificates at the end of May. 
“Our hope is that MTSU’s initiatives like STEM with Ukraine serve as beacons of innovation and collaboration,” said Terletska, herself originally from the Drohobych, Lviv, region of Ukraine. “By breaking down barriers and fostering cross-cultural connections, these initiatives pave the way for a more inclusive and interconnected future in STEM.”
The initiative is part of Terletska’s larger $800,000 National Science Foundation “ExpandQISE” grant, which she explained aims “to open up access to quantum training to all interested in quantum, welcoming participants from diverse educational backgrounds and levels of expertise, including high school teachers and seasoned faculty members, to a rich exchange of ideas and perspectives.”
Praise for MTSU’s new initiative - Initiative partners and participants greatly appreciated Terletska’s dedication to the project and formatting of the course. 
“I am extremely grateful to Professor Hanna Terletska for the time she allocated for lectures because the time difference is eight hours, and she had to be in touch every Wednesday at 8 in the morning,” said Khrystyna Voitovych, Terletska’s main partner on the project. “I believe that this is only the first step towards building a joint scientific and academic cooperation.”
Anna M. Houk, a Ukrainian Ph.D. candidate who gave a guest lecture during the course and also helped launch the project, said there are still few introductory quantum educational resources despite the field growing at a rapid rate. 
“Being able to contribute to quantum education and collaborate with Ukrainian institutions who prevail despite the challenges brought on by the war was important to me as a graduate student in quantum computing and a Ukrainian in the diaspora,” Houk said. 
“Dr. Hanna Terletska managed to create an interesting course of lectures for beginners,” said Juli Seti, a physics professor from Ukraine’s Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University who took the course. “I especially want to note how successfully the professional teaching style, effective interaction with the audience and open friendly atmosphere were combined … among the course participants’ Ukrainian students, schoolteachers, university professors and enthusiasts from the different cities of Ukraine and even from other parts of the world.”
“The course was slightly challenging for me,” said Nataliya Veretko, a Ukrainian middle and high school applied technology and labor training teacher. “However, thanks to the excellent presentation of the topics and the clear, accessible explanations by Professor Hanna Terletska, everything became easier. Thank you … for the chance to learn about emerging quantum technologies, which are crucial for the education of our students.”
Tetiana Marhitych, a nuclear physics post-doctoral researcher who took the course, echoed such sentiments.
“The course is designed in such a way that it is accessible to everyone, even those who have no previous knowledge of quantum computing but would like to have a basic knowledge in this direction or would like to expand their field of activity,” she said.
Learn more about the Quantum Science Initiative at MTSU, including other partnership opportunities, at
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