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Yanina Nickless named Student Speaker for USM's 2019 Commencement

Yanina Nickless

Yanina Nickless, who will be graduating with her degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics, completing a journey that began in her home country of Ukraine.

Originally from a farming village of 200 people in the Kherson region of Ukraine, she entered Kherson State University intending to be a teacher of English, German and world literature. Her studies were interrupted by the 2014 revolution in Ukraine.

Yanina visited Maine the following summer, picking the state for its low crime and sense of security. She returned to Maine the following year and enrolled at USM, where she chose to study political science with a focus on international relations.

She loves to learn and explore new subjects, taking biology and accounting just for fun during her time at USM. And she became deeply involved in Maine Model UN, rising to the role of Secretary General in 2018.

Yanina credits USM with expanding her understanding of the world and its endless variety in culture and politics. She plans to pursue a career in international relations.