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Inspired by Mom, Zicklin Undergrad Wins U.S. State Department Fellowship

August 3, 2023

Zicklin School undergraduate Mohina Abdullaeva (BBA, ’25) has won a Foreign Affairs Information Technology (FAIT) fellowship from the U.S. Department of State. It will pay for her junior and senior years at Zicklin and also includes domestic and international internships. To tell us more, Mohina sat down for an interview with Zicklin News 

Zicklin News: Tell us a little about yourself.

Woman with straight brown hair in off-white collared shirt and gray cardigan

Mohina Abdullaeva (BBA, ’25)

Mohina Abdullaeva: I’m a rising junior, majoring in computer information systems. I was born in Uzbekistan and came to the U.S. at age seven. I speak Uzbek, Russian, and English.

ZN: Why did you choose your major?

MA: I chose CIS because I believe in technology’s revolutionary ability. I can actively contribute to the development and delivery of creative solutions that can transform how organizations function, improve user experiences, and promote good social change.

ZN: Why did you apply for this scholarship?

MA: I’ve been fortunate enough to travel with my mom to several countries in the world in Europe, Asia, and North America. I was exposed to different cultures and languages, and that sparked my interest in diplomacy and world peace.

ZN: Interesting. What does your mother do?

MA: She is currently a financial counselor and has been working with people for 20 years. The mission she follows is to help individuals achieve financial stability and save for their future. She’s worked and promoted equality for women in Central Asia. Thanks to her I got to travel to many countries and attend United Nations summits in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as here in New York.

ZN: Tell us more about the FAIT fellowship.

MA: It’s a two-year program that will cover the costs of my junior and senior years at Zicklin.  We’ll gain skills and knowledge about information systems and other technical areas, while also practicing diplomacy, learning about different cultures, and networking. There are two parts to the fellowship: a summer internship in Washington D.C. between junior and senior years, and an international internship after graduation. Both internships are 10 weeks long; the FAIT program offers 275 overseas posts in various countries. It’s also important to note that the fellowship requires a five-year commitment to the Department of State upon graduation.   

ZN: How did you hear about this opportunity?

MA: I found it searching online. I knew about the Fulbright scholarship, but when I read about the FAIT program I was more interested in that, because it aligns with my career path. With the FAIT fellowship you get to travel but also work in the tech field, and I found that unique. 

ZN: So what’s next?

MA: Within the next two years, I hope to become a team leader. To do this, I intend to further my education, learn new skills, and network with managers and CEOs. It is critical that I find a mentor to lead me along my career path, and I will emphasize professionalism in all parts of my work.

ZN: Wonderful! Finally, why did you choose the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College?

MA: I received invitations from several prestigious universities in the U.S.  While I valued the opportunities they presented, after analyzing the situation based on Money‘s “Best Colleges” rankings, I found that the Zicklin School offers a combination of quality education and affordability. Additionally, being located in New York provides me with unexpected opportunities that I truly appreciate. 

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