Promoting friendship between the United States and Slovakia since 2001

Introducing the 2014 Slovak Scholars


Enjoying the embassy reception: (l-r) Alena Cierna, Katarina Minarikova, Adam Sebesta, Ivana Smolenova, Barbora Bodnarova.
Enjoying the embassy reception: (L-R) Alena Cierna, Katarina Minarikova, Adam Sebesta, Ivana Smolenova, Barbora Bodnarova.

The Friends of Slovakia is pleased to introduce five scholars studying at the Fund for American Studies (TFAS) this summer. The scholars included Barbora Bodnárová (TFAS’s Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems), Katarína Mináriková (Institute on Business and Government Affairs), Adam Šebesta (Institute on Political Journalism), and Ivana Smoleňová and Alena Čierna (both worked at the Institute on Economics and International Affairs). These scholarships were made possible thanks to generous support from several key donors, including the Slovak American Foundation, US Ambassador to Slovakia Tod Sedgwick, and FOS board member Richard Marko, and contributions from loyal FOS members. The five scholars came from across Slovakia, bringing with them interesting perspectives stemming from work and study programs both at home and further afield.

Barbora Bodnárová is from Košice and is currently studying at Sciences Po in Paris, with plans to earn dual degrees in International Energy and Finance and Strategy. She also studied at Oxford University and will be spending a year studying energy in Moscow starting this fall. Barbora previously interned with US Steel in Bratislava, as well as organizations in Kyiv, Ukraine, and Pristina, Kosovo.

Ivana Smoleňová is from Banská Bystrica and recently completed a Master’s degree in Corporate Economics and Development Studies at the Economics University in Prague. She also studied at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. In 2011, Ivana spent three months in Nepal to teach and lead community programs at a local primary school. She is currently working as a Communications and Outreach Manager at the Prague Security Studies Institute. She hopes to pursue a career in conflict resolution and crisis management, working on post-conflict development projects around the world.

Katarína Mináriková grew up in Poprad and is now studying at the Economics University in Bratislava. During her studies, she spent a semester at both the Economics University in Prague and Vrije Universiteit in Brussels. In addition to an internship at the European Parliament, Katarína has also worked at the Bratislava-based organization Youth Politics Education, where she helped develop an internship program for Slovak students. She currently is working at the PROVIDA Foundation on a project that supports social entrepreneurs in Slovakia. She is passionate about economic development and growth, and she hopes to pursue a career in international development.

Adam Šebesta is from Bratislava, where he completed a law degree at Pan-European University. He also studied at the University of Vienna. In addition to his legal studies, Šebesta has considerable journalism experience and has served as editor of Like, a leading Slovak university magazine. During his studies, Adam organized and moderated several conferences and debates with prime ministers, ministers, ambassadors, judges, and lawyers. He has additional working experience in legal services, project management, and public relations.

Alena Čierna comes from Liptovský Mikuláš and is a student of international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. While completing her undergraduate studies, Alena interned with the Slovak Atlantic Commission and Partners for Democratic Change Slovakia, worked as secretary of the Czech and Slovak student society in London, and founded the blog She is an alumna of the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute and a member of the Youth Advisory Council of the US Embassy in Bratislava.

The five FOS Slovak Scholars were honored at a gathering at the Slovak Embassy hosted by Slovak chargé d’affaires Peter Zelenak on July 18th. It was attended by FOS Board members and representatives of individual scholarship donors, including the Slovak American Foundation CEO, Mary MacPherson, and Richard Marko. The Scholars each gave their positive impressions of their summer academic and internship programs, emphasizing how they had broadened their perspectives. The Scholars then made a gracious presentation of a beautiful certificate of appreciation “to the members of the Friends of Slovakia for being the best friends of Slovakia.” They promised to spread the word about the FOS summer scholarship opportunity in Slovakia and to keep in touch.

The summer program at the Fund for American Studies is the flagship FOS initiative designed to promote US-Slovak friendship. There is no better way to promote this friendship than to provide outstanding young Slovak scholars with study and internship opportunities in the USA. FOS is grateful to our supporters who have made this program so successful. We urge all Friends of Slovakia to continue supporting this important effort.


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