My education in Armenia and the United States made me successful

By Magdana Kondaridze
Graduate Assistant, University of Wyoming
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

I am Magdana Kondaridze, ATC Alumni, and I am currently completing a master’s degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wyoming with a minor in Statistics. The road to this period of my life was not easy; and therefore, I would like to share my experiences with you, and tell you that “Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.”

It started two years ago when I was an MAB student at ATC. I had heard many times that some students got a chance to go to the USA to continue their studies; but it looked so unbelievable to me that I never even thought about it, as I never considered myself lucky enough. However, one day Dr. Rafael Bakhtavoryan asked me if I was ready to move to the USA and continue my graduate studies there; it was my dream that came true. I did not hesitate to confirm the offer, because I believed in myself and I believed my educational background would carry me around. I was confident I could succeed anywhere because I had the courage. The courage that ATC gave to me.
When I was leaving, I was sure I was ready to deal with anything. Yet, when I arrived here it was not easy; living in the United States is never easy. You meet people from all over the world; people with different mentalities and with different approaches. Nevertheless, when I set foot in my first class, which was production economics, I realized I had comparative advantages compared to many other students. I realized I had a very good foundation, and I appreciated my ATC MAB classes even more. I then started my active student life. I participated in the Southern Agricultural Economics Association’s (SAEA) annual meeting in February 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida, where I had the opportunity to present my preliminary thesis research findings on “Consumer Food Preference Changes in Russia.” I also participated in student recruitment events, and I was actively involved in many other department activities. By the end of the first year, the department head gave us feedback. He told me that with my practical, theoretical, and communication skills I would become a superstar very soon. I cannot express with words what I felt. He is my role model and to hear him telling me such beautiful words helped me believe in myself even more.
Of course, not everything ended there. My second year was rather more successful. I decided to have a minor in Statistics, and it was a right decision. I did so well in Statistics that the department head waived my final exams.

In the fall of 2018, my research efforts and knowledge of econometrics and statistical modeling helped me win the Glenn P. Roehrkasse scholarship. This is an award to recognize an outstanding student with strong quantitative research skills in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

The beginning of 2019 was even more exciting, and it opened many doors for my future development. I participated in the Southern Agricultural Economics Association’s (SAEA) annual meeting in February 2019 in Birmingham, Alabama, where I presented my completed thesis research. However, what is more important, five very prestigious universities gave me admissions for the Ph.D. program. The choice was very difficult to make, as the universities kept improving their offers. I eventually decided to become a Ph.D. student at the Washington State University which offers me the best package: a Ph.D. in Economics, an MS in Statistics, teaching and research experiences, and funds for local and international conferences. I am confident the knowledge and experiences I have acquired through my international education both in Armenia and the United States, my understanding of culture, and the confidence I have garnered provide me with the needed impetus to become successful in my Ph.D. program as well.

Finally, I want to thank Dr. Rafael Bakhavoryan, Lena Mamikonyan, the entire ATC faculty, and of course, Dr. Vardges Hovhannisyan wholeheartedly for helping me to become who I am now and for contributing to my current and future success. I wish you all very successful future opportunities, and I want you to remember that nothing is easy, but it does not mean it is impossible. #WELOVEATC