Viktoria Peterson immigrated to the United States in 2014 when she married her husband. The newlyweds settled in Sundance, Wyoming where she enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses with the Eastern Wyoming College Adult Education program at the Sundance Outreach Center. Viktoria worked hard to improve her language skills and over the years has become an integral part of the local Sundance Community.
Before moving to the United States from the Ukraine, she earned a certificate in massage therapy and worked in a local salon when she first arrived in Sundance. However, as normal Wyoming winters can be harsh, Viktoria found out that it isn’t always easy to get out and about in winter. Consequently, she decided to open her own massage therapy salon in her home where she now offers eight different types of massages, including the popular hot stone massage. One of her regular clients is her Adult Education (AE) instructor, Janet Lake, who asserts “Viktoria does a fine job!”
Despite her talents in massage therapy, her real passion has long been in drawing and illustrating children’s books. While still in the Ukraine, she began to strengthen her artistic skills by enrolling in art classes and in early 2017 this passion began to morph into real talent when she wrote and illustrated her first children’s book entitled Lisa and the Bears. Viktoria claims she was inspired to write the story of a little girl’s encounters with bears in Yellowstone after visiting the park with her husband. The elaborate drawings and clever storyline are truly a work of art for someone whose native language is not English.
She has also nearly finished work on a second children’s book called A Devils Tower Secret. The book should be ready by spring, 2019.
Currently, Viktoria is working on a third children’s book, which will be devoted to the life of two Lakota Indians who lived near Sylvan Lake in the Black Hills many years ago. She is doing research on the culture and history of the Lakota in that area in order for her book to accurately reflect those times. she is also working on two more books–one for adults and another for teens.
When she isn’t researching, writing, or illustrating books, Viktoria can be found in classes. She continues to improve her English by taking ESL classes at the EWC Outreach Center in Sundance and in early 2018, she applied for her U.S. citizenship and so a challenging road of civics education then commenced with her AE instructor at EWC. Over the past six months, Viktoria dedicated herself to these studies and her efforts were rewarded when she passed her citizenship examination in August 2018. Her “Oath of Citizenship” ceremony will be held in the very near future.
Viktoria is very proud that she is a citizen of such a great, beautiful, and big country. She says, “Having changed my life in the USA, I felt the freedom and fresh air for inspiration and discovered new talents in myself. I sincerely love the USA and the people living here. I found the love of my husband and his family; also I have a lot of new, wonderful friends. I am sincerely proud that I live in America. My life has radically changed in the best direction. I’m happy!” And this echoes the sentiments of her colleagues, instructors and the EWC program director, Diane McQueen, who says “Viktoria is truly a shining star, not only for Adult Education, but for the local Sundance community as well. We are proud of her achievements and we look forward to reading her new books!”
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