Karin Robbins, UMD International Student Advisor, works with these students on a near-daily basis. Robbins says, "It is a goal at UMD to enrich the lives of all our students by providing and encouraging interaction and exchange between diverse cultures. As our world becomes increasingly smaller and globally interconnected, it is of great benefit to students as well as the general community to become familiar with other cultures. UMD is helping to increase awareness through its International Student Program."
UMD welcomes its international students and assists in their success by providing strong support and retention programs. Foreign students are also integrated into the Duluth area with community based tours, community activities, and visits to area elementary and secondary schools. Each April UMD holds an annual "Feast of Nations" dinner with ethnic foods, music, and entertainment. This year over 300 people attended.
International students often show a focus and dedication to learning that can serve as a model for all students. Two such examples are: Arnela Smajlovic from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Simge Akbulut from Gaziantep, Turkey. Both women are graduating this spring.
From War-torn Bosnia to UMD
Arnela Smajlovic will graduate with a degree in Management Information Systems and Sciences on Saturday, May 13 at 12 noon at the DECC. Her brother will make the trip from Bosnia to watch her walk across the stage to accept her diploma.
Arnela's world has gone from one of no electricity and scarce food and water in Bosnia, to one of a busy UMD college student earning a high grade point average. Arnela left Bosnia during the war, to find a better life for herself. She entered the United States as a high school foreign exchange student in Cincinnati, Ohio.
She was accepted to UMD with a full scholarship. She found her passion for computer science while working as a consultant in the computer labs on campus. In addition she also worked as a research assistant in the UMD Bureau of Business and Economic Research. After graduation Arnela will begin her career as a software engineer with Franken Data (a Minneapolis systems software company).
Turkish UMD Graduate Student Receives Fellowship to New York University
Simge Akbulut, a Turkish student, has earned a 3.80 grade point average in her Masters Degree Program in Biology. She will march in UMD Graduate School commencement ceremonies on Thursday, May 11 at 7 p.m. in the Romano Gymnasium on campus. Her parents from Turkey (and her U.S. host parents of Carlton, Minnesota) plan to attend graduation ceremonies.
Simge's hard work and determination have earned her a fellowship to get her PhD at Mount Sinai Graduate School of Biological Sciences at New York University. She was one of only 40 students accepted for the prestigious fellowship out of over 400 applicants. Her graduate school research will focus on the interactions between the immune system and the nervous system, and on cancer cell and tumor immunology.
While at UMD Simge assisted her professor Dr. Raj Karim in setting up an international collaborative research project between UMD and Turkey. The project was established during a recent visit by Dr. Karim to Turkish universities and research institutes. The visit was arranged by Simge.