Dunmorean of the Month: Nicole Guzenski

Nicole GuzenskiBy Steve Svetovich

Nicole Guzenski, Dunmore, received a Fulbright United States Student Program award to conduct research in India.

She received the award from the United States Department of the State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Daughter of Bill and Theresa Barrasse, Nicole, 32, is a 2004 Bishop O’Hara graduate. She received a B.S. in communications and minor in philosophy from Keystone College in 2008 and an M.S. in Cultural Sustainability from Goucher College in Maryland.

Her dad is the owner/operator of the famous Billy B’s restaurant/bar in Dunmore.

Her husband Michael is a teacher at Delaware Valley High School in Matamoras.

Nicole will conduct research in India as part of a project to study women’s empowerment in the context of climate change mitigation.

She will conduct documentation specifically on programming that is pioneering the work of women-led climate resilient farming. Nicole will seek to research a local community’s use of traditional ecological knowledge in creative adaptive strategies towards modern problems along with the incorporation of gender inclusive practices such as female entrepreneur ships and leadership roles and their impacts of a community’s resilience and capability to thrive.

Nicole will leave for Tune, India Saturday, August 18. She will be funded through the Fulbright Program for nine months, but plans on staying in India for a year. She will travel on her own for the final three months of her one year stay.

Her husband Michael will visit in December and June and then will spend time traveling with her.

“I am very excited to go back to India,” Nicole said. “I was there 10 years ago. I studied the agricultural program there before. I am a little nervous, but very much looking forward to it. This is a big change for me now, but an incredible opportunity.”

Nicole talked about her future goals after she returns back home from India.

“I really love working with the immigrant community in Scranton. I want to continue that work. I want to work with women in the community. I would like to work with immigrant mothers. There is just something about cultural sharing that not everyone is exposed to. I might do a cooking class for the community.”


Mike and Nicole Guzenski are shown hiking the trails of Cinque Terre, Italy.

Nicole is one of over 1,900 United States citizens who will conduct research, teach English and provide expertise abroad for the 2018-2019 academic year through the Fulbright United States Student Program.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the United States government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and people of other countries. The program is funded through the annual appropriation made by the United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 380,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, professionals and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all areas while building relationships, knowledge and leadership in support of long-term interests of the United States.

Dunmorean of the Month - garba

Nicole and Mike Guzenski celebrate at an Indian Garba Festival in Scranton.

Fulbright alumni received distinction in many fields, including 59 who were awarded the Nobel Prize, 82 who received Pulitzer Prizes and 37 who served as a head of state or government.

“The culture in India is so robust and intense,” Nicole said. “There is no other place on the planet like India.

“I have done a lot of traveling in Eastern countries. The people in India are truly amazing. They have a belief that their visitors are like a God. They are very welcoming and hospitable. They like to cook and feed their guests. And they are great cooks.

“They like to share everything with people. Food is a big part of it.”

The adventurous Nicole currently teaches classes at Marywood University and Northampton Community College in Tannersville. She also teaches English as a second language at United Neighborhood Center in Scranton.

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