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News Release

Fulbright Scholar among five new faculty members at Peru State

New accounting instructor appointed to serve on Educational Advisory Committee for NE Board of Public Accountancy


(Peru, Neb.) Five educators have joined the Peru State faculty, among them a Fulbright Scholar. 


President Dan Hanson said, “While the credentials of our new faculty are certainly impressive, it is their commitment to student achievement that sets them apart. We are excited to see them engage with the campus community and enrich the student experience at Peru State.”


Names and biographies of the new faculty are below.


Dr. Elina Ibrayeva, Professor of Business


Elina IbrayevaIbrayeva began her career an associate professor at the Kazakh National State University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She earned her first doctorate in political economy from the Kazakh National State University in 1989. In 1993, Ibrayeva studied in the Executive Entrepreneurship Program at the Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands. She was one of the first Kazakh scholars selected as a Fulbright Scholar and traveled to the United States to study in 1994.


Ibrayeva earned a second doctorate in management from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln in 1999. In her dissertation, Ibrayeva studied entrepreneurship in economies transitioning from communism to capitalism, concentrating on the role of entrepreneurial self-efficacy and other individual characteristics in business creation. She served as a contributor  to Culture, Leadership, and Organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies, as edited by Dr. Robert House, and received a 2005 M. Scott Myers Award for Applied Research in the Workplace from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.


Ibrayeva taught graduate and undergraduate classes at Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) in Marshall, Minn., for 12 years prior to joining the faculty at Peru State. It was there that she developed an international management concentration for the school’s management program. Ibrayeva, intrigued by the potential of Internet to supplement and improve student experience, has taught online classes for over a decade and volunteered as an instructor for Senior College at SMSU, a non-credit educational program for seniors in southwest Minnesota.


As an instructor, Ibrayeva emphasizes interconnections between multiple disciplines (business, economics, history, cultural studies) and connects theory and current business events. In her online classes, she seeks to build a learning community where students learn not only from the textbook and teacher, but also from each other.


Aaron Knape, Instructor of Accounting


Elina IbrayevaKnape, who also joined the faculty as an accounting instructor this fall, was recently appointed to serve on the Educational Advisory Committee for the Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy. Knape is a licensed CPA in Nebraska with experience in all levels of taxation and government auditing.


He completed a bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2005 and a master’s degree in business administration at Creighton University in 2009. The focus of Knape’s studies in that program was financial analysis as it relates to investor and creditor decision making. Secondarily he is interested in management decision-making related to strategy and job fit.


Vijay Sharma, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice


Elina IbrayevaSharma, a native of Skokie, Ill., served as an assistant state attorney in the Cook County State Attorney’s Office from 2005 to 2007. He was assigned to the Child Support Enforcement Division before being promoted to the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau.


In 2007, Sharma started his own law firm where he focused on criminal defense, DUI, traffic and family law. In 2009, he was invited to join a Workers’ Compensation law firm where he worked for a year before returning to private practice. Sharma has tried hundreds of cases throughout the State of Illinois, including felony and misdemeanor cases as well as bench and jury trials.


Prior to joining the faculty at Peru State, Sharma began teaching constitutional law as an adjunct professor at the City Colleges of Chicago.


Sharma is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, and is a past member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Northwest Suburban Bar Association. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Loyola University Chicago and a law degree from the John Marshall Law School.


Dr. Stacy Bliss-Fudge, Assistant Professor of Psychology


Elina IbrayevaBliss-Fudge is a Hebron, Neb., native and a 2000 Peru State graduate. After completing a bachelor’s degree at PSC, Bliss-Fudge worked at the Beatrice State Developmental Center as a behavioral consultant for individuals with developmental disabilities and severe behaviors.


Bliss-Fudge earned a master’s degree in applied educational psychology and a doctorate in school psychology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Her research there focused on interventions to improve learning in at-risk youth and adolescents. She completed her capstone psychology internship and fellowship at the Munroe-Meyer Institute, which is part of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Bliss-Fudge then went on to work for a non-profit supervising consultation groups who assist community-based agencies serving individuals with developmental disabilities.


Bliss-Fudge began teaching at Peru State as an adjunct in the spring of 2009 before joining the faculty full-time this fall. She continues to conduct research in the area of interventions for at-risk individuals, and her specific interests focus on individuals with developmental disabilities and effective interventions for severe behaviors.


Bliss-Fudge serves as co-chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee for the Nebraska Psychological Association. She is currently working on the certification process for PSC’s provisional licensed drug and alcohol counseling courses and is actively involved with the Psychology-Sociology-Criminal Justice Club.


Evi Wusk, Assistant Professor of Education 


Elina IbrayevaPrior to her arrival, Wusk taught high school language arts and journalism courses at Elkhorn High School and Waverly High School, where she also served as newspaper advisor and speech coach. Her primary responsibilities at Peru State include teaching undergraduate courses such as secondary school teaching, as well as graduate courses in educational technology, and advising undergraduate and graduate students.


A native of Johnson, Neb., Wusk earned a bachelor’s degree in language arts education and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Peru State.