Peter Karellas, an Honors College graduate, is one of three Dyson college students who will spend a year abroad, conducting research underwritten by the highly competitive J. William Fulbright postbaccalaureate fellowship program.
“I want to use my education to improve the psycho-social well-being of at-risk children whose social outlook is pessimistic,” says Peter Karellas, psychology major and political science and management minor graduate.
With an eye on the continuing conflict between ethnic Albania minority and the Slavic majority populations in Macedonia, Karellas’s Fulbright research abroad will focus on refugee Albanian children and their families in Macedonia, and the resultant antisocial behaviors and personality disorders prevalent among them in contemporary Macedonian society.
According to Karellas, with the ongoing violence and political unrest in Macedonia’s crisis regions, children are traumatized and there is a deep concern about the long-term effects of exposure to prejudice and excessive violence. “Thirty-five percent of heroin users are adolescents – these numbers have shocked me,” he says.
Karellas will evaluate the conditions children face and develop a plan for implementing best practices for psychologists and psychiatrists who provide psycho-social services that aim to foster self-sustaining skills in these at-risk children. “I also have a great interest in finding out how we can help to break the cycle of violence as it is passed on from one generation to the next.”
Working in concert with Matilda Dimovska of the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Emergency Children’s Fund in Macedonia, Karellas will monitor the progress of children who now receive crisis intervention and psychological services provided by these organizations.
With an interest in industrial organizational psychology, Karellas plans to attend graduate school. Yet, equally important, Karellas says, “I hope to make a favorable impression of Americans among the people of Macedonia, and to take away a great life experience.”
The Pforzheimer Honors College would like to congratulate Peter on this splendid achievement and we wish him the bet of luck in Macedonia.
If you are interested in pursuing a Fulbright of your own, please contact Dr. Greg Julian at GJulian@pace.edu, the advisor for Fulbright applicants.