FELLOWS 2018 Slovenia

Meet The 2018 Fellows

Alenka Lucesole Sinkec


Alenka is a third year undergraduate student of Civil-Hydraulic Engineering at the National University of La Plata, Faculty of Engineering. Her family descends from Slovenia and she is very grateful for the opportunity to learn and participate in this amazing program in the land of her grandparents.

During her academic stay in Slovenia, Alenka will be collaborating with Prof.Dr.Ing. Jože Korelc at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, on a research project regarding building constructions and physics. Particularly, she will be working in the field of stability of steel structures, numerical modelling and renewable energy in buildings. Besides her engineering studies, Alenka also enjoys practicing the art of filmmaking and takes several classes at the National University of the Arts, Faculty of Audiovisual Arts, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Maria Shepard


Maria Shepard is a second year undergraduate student at The Ohio State University, where she is majoring in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Maria’s professional interests focus around healthcare and pharmaceuticals, because she aspires to attend medical or graduate school after her undergraduate studies. This summer, she will be interning with Vita Godec at Lenis Farmacevtika in Ljubljana as part of the AmCham program European Experience in The Green Heart of Europe. This company specializes in sourcing unlicensed pharmaceuticals, and Maria is eager to learn about a unique perspective of the pharmaceutical industry. Maria is Slovenian and she is very grateful for this opportunity to connect with her heritage.

Martín Hernán Di Marco


Martín Hernán Di Marco is a PhD candidate in Social Sciences from Buenos Aires University (UBA, Argentina). He completed his degree in Sociology in UBA and he currently has teaching positions in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Health Department (UNLaM). His research interests include violence and violent deaths, public health, socio-cultural epidemiology, life stories and data triangulation. His PhD project is focused on the analysis of social and institutional trajectories of men who have committed homicides in the outskirts of Buenos Aires Capital City.

As part of the ASEF Fellowship Program, Martín will be visiting Dr. Tit Albreht, from the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). During his stay, he will get to know the Public Health System of Slovenia, study the link between different forms of violence and health in this country and, at the same time, learn how these forms of violence are tackled in public policies. In his free time, he looks forward to getting to know Slovenia —his grandmother’s land—, trying as much food as possible and learning as many recipes as he can.

Sebastian Peterlin


Sebastian Peterlin will be working with Marko Grobelnik at the AiLab of Jozef Stefan Institute. Sebastian graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. and M.S. in Engineering - Atmosphere/Energy in 2012. He later went on to complete a Full-Stack Development Course at App Academy and an MBA at IE Business School (in Madrid, Spain).

Sebastian is interested in programming, A.I., math, and statistics. He expects to advance his knowledge and potentially pursue a PhD at JSI. He is excited to visit Slovenia because of its natural beauty and its simple way of life. His dad is from Slovenia and he has visited Slovenia many times. Sebastian's hobbies are rowing, guitar, and triathlons. He is also 2 meters tall!

Cecilia Urbancic


Cecilia Urbancic is a graphic designer at UADE, Argentina University of the Company, in Buenos Aires. She collaborated in the edition of an e-book, studying the different possibilities that design can offer to visual communication. She also worked at LA NACION, an Argentinean newspaper and learned about editorial communication. Nowadays, she develops graphics for events and content for websites. Cecilia will be spending this summer at Zemanta, an internet marketing company, in order to gain experience and focus on her professional development. She is interested in experiencing visual languages and understanding how its functionality varies and depends on the social environment it is surrounded by.

She would also like to emphasize the impact a visual communicator has. By generating creative actions through visual communication, society can be transformed. Communicators find unique opportunities to generate creative actions which can transform society and allow people to see the world in a different perspective.

Matthew Fitzsimmons


Matthew Fitzsimmons is a freelance trumpeter and educator from the Washington D.C area. Earning his Bachelor’s in Music at the Catholic University of America, Matthew is currently getting his Masters in Trumpet Performance at University of North Texas. Matthew has performed in the U.S. National Trumpet Competition, for members of the United States Congress and for Pope Francis with the Washington Symphonic Brass. This fall, he will continue his graduate studies with members of the Dallas Symphony at Southern Methodist University.

Committed to giving back to his community and heritage with music, Matthew is a member of KSKJ and SUA, two Slovenian-American organizations. Developing an interest in creating a sustainable future for classical music, he interned at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. He is passionate about building a sustainable and rewarding future for performing artists through his experiences as a trumpeter, administrator, and educator and hopes to one day inspire and serve his community in a professional Symphony Orchestra or service band.

Lacey Viano


Lacey Viano will be attending the University of Ljubljana, studying food science and nutrition with Dr. Tanja Pajk. Her undergrad at Eastern Illinois University consisted of nutrition of dietetics, food science, medical nutrition therapy, and many community nutrition projects. While in Slovenia, Lacey aspires to grow as an individual in her education, experience the culture of Slovenia, and take in all the amazing aspects of the country first hand. She is most excited to reconnect with some of her distant family and learn about her grandparents through them. Her whole life she has dreamed of visiting the land that her ancestors lived and now this dream has become unbelievably real for her. In her spare time, she loves to bake and cook for her friends with the recipes she has learned from her Slovenian grandmother. When she is not at home in the kitchen, she is outside hiking, swimming, or boating. Lacey believes she is blessed beyond measure to be given this opportunity and is very excited to visit Slovenia!

Michaela Gačnik


Michaela Gačnik is an undergraduate student at Boston College studying Marketing in The Carroll School of Management and minoring in Studio Art. Michaela is born and raised in California, but her father’s family descends from Slovenia. She is so excited to return to Ljubljana and to continue exploring her cultural roots. Michaela is proud of her heritage, and wants to utilize her knowledge, passion and skills to share Slovenia with others.

This summer, Michaela will be working with both ASEF and TRUD Travel Agency. At ASEF, Michaela will create marketing content to further promote the organization and its unique fellowship. In addition, she will be working with the promotional team at TRUD to help market their Slovenian tours to incoming travelers. At Boston College, Michaela is a Resident Assistant for a community of 40 freshman residents and captain of the Bollywood fusion dance team. Michaela is also passionate about oil painting, the ocean and traveling. She is incredibly grateful for this fellowship experience!

Working With