Earns First Double Degree from UTB and Russian University
Liudmila “Mila” Svetlova
just received her Master of
Science in computer science from UTB at Spring Commencement on Friday, May 10,
and has returned home to receive her second master’s degree in applied
mathematics from HSE.
has been a challenge to accommodate all the requirements for both of these
degrees,” Svetlova said before departing Brownsville. “I have successfully
defended my thesis here at UTB, and now I must defend it again at my home
by the UTB Office of Global
and its counterpart at HSE, the double degree program allows Russian students
to complete their second year of graduate studies at UTB. Articulation
agreements between the two universities enable transferring of credits to
satisfy both schools and both degrees.
Svetlova arrived in Brownsville in August 2012, and for the next two semesters, she
carried a class overload in order to graduate on schedule. In conjunction with
her studies, she was a teaching and research assistant in computer science for Dr. Juan
Associate Professor of Computer and Information Sciences.
am following the family trend by studying computer science,” Svetlova said. “My mother works in information technology at a bank in
Moscow, my father is a software designer, and my brother is director of
information technology at a medical center in Moscow.”
Svetlova’s mother, a mechanical engineer, worked for a number of
years in Russian aerospace mission control in Karolev City,
where the family lives. The most famous resident of “Space City” was Russian
cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin,
the first human to enter outer space in April 1961.
of Karolev’s residents work or attend universities in
Moscow, as is the case with the Svetlova family.
to Moscow is terrible,” Svetlova said. “I spent four years in undergraduate
school commuting four hours a day – two in and two out. You can imagine how
wonderful it has been here at UTB, living in Casa Bella and walking to
classes. Even though I was working very hard on my program, it still felt like
I was having a year-round vacation. I like the relaxed atmosphere here,
everybody is always in a good mood, and I must say everyone was very warm and
welcoming to me.”
her time has been short, Svetlova managed to do some traveling while in
Brownsville, including trips to Austin and San Antonio.
Office of Global Engagement was super helpful, and they even organized bus
trips for the international students to help us see some of Texas,” she said.
“We held raffles and car washes, and the cost was very reasonable. The
international student group was lots of fun, and I especially made friends with
students from Austria and France, and we were hanging out together a lot.”
was not Svetlova’s first trip to the United States. A couple of years, ago she
and a friend attended an English language school in Los Angeles where they
lived with a family. Also, she has stopped off and stayed with friends in New
York City, and spent the Christmas break with friends in Chicago.
the Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension of her student F1 visa,
Svetlova will return to Brownville in July to begin a campus job in the
Computer and Information Sciences Department.
is a wonderful way to get experience,” Svetlova said. “I know I can find a job
back home without any problem, but I want to give this a try, and after this,
everything depends on where I find the best opportunity for myself.”
are permitted OPT for one year, and graduates in the Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields can extend their OPT to 17 months.
am at that time of my life when I want to do everything by myself and try to
prove I can do it,” Svetlova said. “I have a feeling that this is a good
country to give things a try – that if you want something, you can get it here
if you put forth the effort.”