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STARKVILLE, Miss.–A member of Mississippi State’s history faculty is receiving a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship, which will take him to Rostov-on-Don, Russia in August.

Assistant professor Stephen Brain’s nine-month appointment will enable him to teach two semesters at Southern Federal University, while also conducting research for his next book on Soviet history.

MSU has been recognized as one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright Scholars, ranking with Harvard, Columbia and Cornell universities, among others.

Brain will be among some 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals traveling during the 2013-14 academic year through the educational exchange. Operating in more than 155 countries worldwide, the program awards travel grants on the basis of academic or professional achievements, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in the various academic fields.

The current fellowship is Brain’s second Fulbright. As a graduate student, he studied in Moscow in 2005-06. A European history doctoral graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, he has made numerous visits to Russia, including participation in a 2010 National Science Foundation working group in Arkhangelsk. He also has conducted research as a visiting scholar at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian Studies.

Brain also holds a master’s degree in humanities from California State University, as well as a bachelor’s in wildlife ecology, with a minor in forestry, from the University of Florida.

The author of “Song of the Forest: Russian Forestry and Stalinist Environmentalism, 1905-1953” (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), Brain now is preparing to investigate the environmental impacts of collectivism, a government program of the Stalinist era in which agricultural land and assets were seized from private citizens.

The fellowship also will enable him to be joined by his wife and two children. The couple’s second-grade daughter will be attending a school that conducts class part of the day in English, part in Russian, he said.

After the conclusion of the fellowship, the family will stay in Russia for the summer as Brain conducts additional research at the Central Government Archives in Moscow. He will return to MSU prior to the 2014 fall semester.

The J. William Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the U.S. government. Designed to increase mutual understanding between people of this and other countries, it is supported primarily through annual congressional appropriation to the State Department and its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

In addition to participating governments and host institutions, direct and indirect support for the Fulbright program is provided by private corporations and foundations.

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