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Ernie Randolfi expects to learn as much from Cypriots as they will from him during a six-month stay in Cyprus under a Fulbright Scholar grant.

Randolfi, 46, a professor of health, physical education and human services at Montana State University-Billings, has a Fulbright appointment from January to June 2004.

During that time, he will be teaching university classes and working with a nonprofit, quasi-governmental agency that develops drug prevention and treatment programs. Randolfi will also be studying drug prevention programs that have been successful in Cyprus.

That cross pollination of ideas could help agencies in both countries as well as the students Randolfi teaches in the future.

One program Randolfi expects to discuss, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is called CDCynergy and works on marketing health information. Randolfi is a trainer for that program.

Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean Sea near Turkey, Syria and Egypt.

Since 1974, the island has been divided between Turkish Cypriots in the northern third of the island and Greek-speaking residents in the rest of the country.

Efforts are being made to resolve tensions between the two groups, and Randolfi will be working with both Turks and Greeks.

Cyprus, once under British rule, still has a large number of British expatriates. English is widely spoken, and Randolfi will lecture in English.

Randolfi will be going with his wife, Jackie Lloyd, and their son, Dominic Lloyd-Randolfi, 11, a fifth-grader at Eagle Cliffs Elementary. Their daughter, Jenna, will be attending high school in New Hampshire.

Randolfi and his family will live in either Nicosia, the capital, or Limassol, a coastal city in southern Cyprus.

Despite the recent war in Iraq, he doesn't expect to encounter anti-American sentiments. When Randolfi was teaching at the American School in London several years ago, he traveled to Greece and found people there to be among the friendliest in Europe. He anticipates a similar reception in Cyprus.

All in the family

Skyview High School freshman Jenna Lloyd-Randolfi has been named a recipient of the Cook Scholarship.

The scholarship is awarded to one Montana student each year and pays for tuition at St. Paul's School, a private high school near Concord, N.H. After graduation, the scholarship continues to provide significant funding toward four years of college.

This year, Jenna has been president of her freshman class at Skyview, played volleyball, basketball and softball, played the saxophone and been on the honor roll.

Randolfi has degrees from Springfield (Mass.) College and Boston University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.

At MSU-Billings since 1996, Randolfi teaches students who will someday teach others how to be healthier.

Many of his students are health promotion majors who have gone on to work for public health agencies, non-profit groups such as the American Cancer Society or become personal trainers.

While in Billings, he also has been active in the United Tobacco Free Coalition (tobaccofreemontana.org), which created tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

That group was beginning to reduce teen smoking in Billings when its state funding was cut last year and it had to layoff its paid staff, he said.

Randolfi and Carl Hanson, chairman of the department of Health, Physical Education and Human Services, also started the federally funded Billings Community Incentive Program, which gives money to school districts to train teachers in drug prevention.

The Fulbright grant will go toward his expenses in Cyprus.

Randolfi applied for a sabbatical leave from Montana State University-Billings, under which he would receive his full university salary for the semester he is in Cyprus.

But because an unusually high number of people — 11 — applied for sabbaticals, his was among six requests that were denied.

Taking the time off, however, has not been an issue, he said, and his department, Chancellor Ron Sexton, and Provost Janie Park all have been supportive.

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