Oleynik believes that investing in organizations and institutions that promote critical thinking, media literacy and civil resources can enable individuals and communities to resist these threats to free speech and democratic values.

"By empowering individuals and communities to speak out and engage in meaningful dialogue, we can help build a world that is more tolerant, compassionate and democratic," he said.

Oleynik is also the recipient of the spring 2023 Barton Kyle Yount Graduate Student Award, Thunderbird’s highest student honor.

Question: What do you like about being a T-bird?

Answer: I was struck by the curiosity and openness that Thunderbird students bring to the table. Whether it's through participating in cultural festivals, attending guest lectures or simply engaging in conversations with classmates from around the world, T-birds are always eager to learn about other cultures and share their own experiences. This willingness to engage with different perspectives and embrace new ideas is truly unique, and it is what makes Thunderbird such a special place.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at Thunderbird?

A: I am thankful to numerous professors who have imparted crucial lessons and knowledge to me, but I would like to give special recognition to Professor Euvin Naidoo and Professor Kannan Ramaswamy for teaching me about the significance of asking the right questions and thoroughly examining the fundamental reasons behind problems. 

Q: What advice would you give to a student just starting a program at Thunderbird?

A: What costs you a small effort during school years will turn into a heavy lift down the road. It is important to set priorities and maintain discipline and consistency. Explore the resources you have access to early and take advantage. Take as many calculated risks as you can, and fail fast. Build your own authentic journey, and do not try to copy someone else's. 

Q: For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

A: I am grateful for my parents. While we cannot meet for extended periods of time, they do everything to support and show their love to me. I am grateful to the people of Arizona State University, specifically the Educational Outreach and Student Services teams and the Luminosity Lab, for their help and guidance. I am incredibly grateful to President Michael Crow, Dr. James Rund and Mark Naufel. Without their support, I would not have had the opportunity to realize my full potential. Furthermore, I am grateful for the support and guidance of my friends and mentors, including Anne and Terry Guerrant, who have always been there to share their knowledge and wisdom with me. I am grateful to the faculty and staff who have supported me throughout my time at Thunderbird and helped me develop my leadership skills.

Dasi Styles

Senior Media Relations Officer, Thunderbird School of Global Management