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"Robert Morris University had generously opened its doors to me by offering a great scholarship and fantastic education opportunities for which I will be forever grateful." -- Jennet Setdarova.
Moving away from home to pursue a degree in higher education is an intimidating decision to make, and even more so when traveling across the globe to do so. Jennet Setdarova did just that: she left her home in Turkmenistan to come to the United States in order to pursue a Master’s Degree, immediately following the completion of her Bachelor’s Degree in English and Literature. As a bachelor degree graduate, Setdarova wanted to continue in higher education, but struggled to find the right school. Her primary goal was to find a challenging program that also offered her a scholarship opportunity with the best financial support. She spent over a year researching and applying to universities, when she came across Robert Morris University as a suggestion from her manager at Community College of Lake County. Setdarova applied to RMU, was accepted with scholarship, and enrolled in the Master’s Program with a concentration in Information Systems at the Chicago campus. While Jennet has continued taking course work for additional concentrations at the graduate level, she simultaneously serves as the Student Google Ambassador and Recruitment Specialist at RMU.
As a current RMU student, Setdarova continues to challenge herself through the many opportunities offered on campus. Specifically, she took on an independent study as a continuation of a research study program during her MIS program. The subject of the independent study employed data mining techniques with stress testing methods to predict Morris School of Management future enrollment performance and risk. Upon the completion of the research project, the study was published on the “Escape Big Data” website. Setdarova also presented her findings at the “Escape Big Data” conference for Big Data Analytics in May 2015, organized by Northwestern University.
During her studies at RMU, Setdarova was presented with the Google Ambassador Program and knew that this was an opportunity she wanted to take on. The first time she came into the Google Office in Chicago to find out more about the program, a security guard quickly escorted her out as she did not have an appointment with the program coordinator. This did not stop Setdarova from making the right connections and doing everything necessary in order to get this position. Five months after the unfortunate incident, a persistent Setdarova walked into the Google Office with an official appointment and a recommendation from her programming class instructor, Professor Rafeeq. After interviewing with the program coordinator, she was offered the position she had been striving so hard to earn.
Setdarova’s role as Google Ambassador is to serve as a liaison between RMU and Google. The Google Ambassador Program offers three areas of focus: Brand Initiative, Product Evangelism, and Educational Outreach and Development. Setdarova chose the latter and currently works directly with students inside and outside the university introducing Google products. She hosts events which center on planning and hosting events, skill development, and technology outreach programs. Setdarova is currently working on putting together a workshop for 80+ RMU faculty members in the aims to train them to better utilize Google products in the classroom. “We are hoping this training will help to increase the productivity and communication between faculty members and students,” she states.
Throughout her journey, Setdarova has accomplished many personal and professional goals. When she first came from Turkmenistan, Setdarova had to move around seven times in three months, until she finally found her current host family, with whom she’s stayed with for the past three years in Mundelein. Many times she has had to give up the opportunity to visit her family back home in order to finish her professional studies, but her persistence and hard work have afforded her another opportunity to pursue a second Master’s degree, while on a full scholarship.
Setdarova is looking forward to utilizing the knowledge and skills she’s attained at RMU in her current and future workplace. Although the MIS program is relatively new at RMU, she thinks this is a great opportunity for many students of diverse backgrounds. “My suggestion would be to take different courses and find the one you are good and most skilled at. Then, concentrate on that branch, by applying to I-Center projects, internships, talking to professors and seeking for extra work or job opportunities. Some of the professors work outside of campus as well and are great resources,” she advises.
Jennet Setdarova’s journey across the world to attain a higher education degree at RMU shows that determination and perseverance are key to making one’s dreams a reality. When things don’t fall in place the first time, it’s important to keep going and try again. “Robert Morris University had generously opened its doors to me by offering a great scholarship and fantastic education opportunities for which I will be forever grateful,” Setdarova reflects.