June 2008

Volume 2, Issue 2

New Venue for VIU’s 2008 Commencement

Virginia International University (VIU) enrollments have soared so much in recent years that the school moved its 2008 commencement ceremony to a new venue. According to Isa Sarac, Ph.D, founder and president of the burgeoning university, “Our Spring 2008 enrollments were the largest ever. We simply couldn’t accommodate all of our graduates and their guests at our previous venue. We needed an auditorium with a larger seating capacity.”     

Agnes Nawalaniec (Germany, Bachelor's of Business Administration) addressed her fellow graduates at VIU's 2008 Commencement on May 22. Nawalaniec, who spoke on behalf of the VIU Alumni Association, urged the graduating class never to lose touch with one another or with Virginia International University.

VIU’s 2008 commencement exercises on May 22 were held at a recently renovated auditorium that accommodated hundreds more than the club setting where the exercises were held for the past two years.  Sarac explains, “Commencement is a hugely important moment in academic life. We relocated to the larger venue so we did not have to limit the number of guests who could attend the ceremony to support our graduates.”

A total of 94 graduates were honored at Virginia International University’s 2008 commencement ceremony. Among these were students graduating with Bachelor’s degrees in business administration and computer science and with Master’s degrees in Management of Information Systems (MMIS) and Business Administration (MBA). In addition, VIU students who earned certificates in business administration, computer science, and English as Second Language during the 2007-2008 academic year were also recognized at this year’s commencement exercises.

The keynote speaker for VIU’s 2008 commencement was Belle S. Wheelan, Ph.D, who currently serves as the president of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. According to John Bennett, VIU's Librarian and ESL instructor who served as VIU's 2008 commencement emcee, “Virginia International University’s commencement is a glorious ceremony. We are growing as an institution but every graduate is very special to us. We know our students and they know us. That makes our commencement so meaningful to everyone and an extraordinary experience.”

Belle S. Wheelan, Ph.D (center, in orange) was the keynote speaker at VIU’s 2008 commencement. Dr. Wheelan currently serves as the president of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

VIU Mascot Takes the School by Storm

Someone new has come to VIU and captured the hearts and imagination of the entire community. The Bengal tiger, chosen by student vote in December 2007, is our now our official mascot. The orange striped tiger made the rounds upon arrival this month visiting VIU’s classrooms, student lounges, and offices and much to everyone’s delight. 

According to Lizbeth Del Giudice (Dominican Republic, MBA class of ‘07), who serves as a VIU admissions officer, “The mascot is like a dream come true. We worked very hard to raise the funds needed for our mascot but it was worth all the work. He’s just perfect and we couldn’t be happier!” The next step will be for VIU students to select the mascot’s name, Del Giudice says.

The Bengal tiger, VIU’s new mascot, has already captured the hearts and imagination of the entire VIU community. Students will choose a name for their mascot this fall.

May 13 Program for Embassy Personnel Draws Rave Reviews

More than 25 representatives of foreign embassies in Washington, D.C. graced the VIU campus on May 13 for a two-hour seminar on American culture. According to program participant Edit Papai, Counselor for Economic Affairs for the Embassy of Hungary, “I enjoyed the program very much. It was interesting, funny, and educational.”

A panel discussion highlighted the interactive program featuring insights by three current and former ambassadors (from Malta, Kyrgyz Republic, and Bangladesh) and a representative of USAID. Says Papai, “I recommend this program to everyone who has just arrived in the United States and also to those who have been living here awhile.”

Program participant Simcha Barukh, Senior Administrative Officer from the Embassy of Israel who also attended the program concurs that the program was beneficial. According to Barukh, “You did an outstanding job and we did learn quite a few things about American culture.” Adds Ram Singh, Agricultural Attache from the Embassy of Malaysia, “The program gave many insights and an overview of American values and culture, which was very helpful to me. Now I understand Americans much better and have enhanced my knowledge.” For more information about Continuing Education Programs at VIU, visit the VIU website at www.viu.edu or send us an email at info@viu.edu.

Four panelists took part in a discussion during VIU’s Understanding American Culture seminar for embassy personnel on May 13. They are (from L to R): Former Ambassador Tariq Karim of Bangladesh (who serves on the VIU business faculty), Robert Wollin of USAID, Ambassador Mark Miceli of Malta, and Ambassador Zamira Sydykova of the Kyrgyz Republic. More than 25 representatives of foreign embassies in Washington, D.C. participated in the two-hour program.

Alumni Profile
Aliya Nagimova, MBA Class of ’07, Offers Tips for Job Seekers

Aliya Nagimova is very proud of the job she landed when she graduated from Virginia International University last year. Nagimova, who earned her MBA in the spring of 2007, works today as a business analyst at a non-profit organization called Washington, D.C. Minority Business Enterprise Center (MBEC).  Says Nagimova, “I really enjoy working at MBEC. I receive wonderful training and experience and practically every day, there is something new for me to learn.” Nagimova says that one of the best things about her job is that it enables her to interact with professionals from diverse organizations. “I work with many different companies from 14 different industries,” she says.

Only a year ago, Nagimova was wondering and a little worried about what was waiting for her out in the real world. She admits, “I was excited but I had anxiety, too.” Nagimova applied for OPT (Optional Practical Training) through VIU’s career center and prepared and posted her resume. She also searched websites for suitable openings. Nagimova explains what she was looking for:  “I was particularly interested in finding a company that would provide training for me. I knew that I was still relatively new in the U.S. and in the American corporate world.” Nagimova made a list of the major companies that were most attractive to her and studied their websites and the career sections. Eventually, all of the hard work paid off. Virginia International University, and particularly, Professor Roger Powell (who chairs VIU’s Business Programs department) helped Nagimova locate a great opportunity to work at MBEC. “It took me almost five months to find my current position,” Nagimova says, “but now that I have my job, I can tell you that it was well worth the work and the wait.”

Nagimova’s advice to VIU students who are about to graduate is to let know as many people as possible that you are looking for a job.  Says Nagimova, “Tell all your friends, tell everyone you know, because getting the word out really helps.” Nagimova adds that it is best to ask people who are already employed specifically if they know whether there are any openings anywhere in the companies where they work.

Nagimova admits that it is very difficult to wait for your first job. However, she says that she is living proof that you can find one – with hard work and perseverance. Says Nagimova, “Keep working at it. Don’t give up. Landing a great job enabled me to pursue my dreams. I know if you work at it, you can do it too!”

Aliya Nagimova (Uzbekistan, VIU MBA ’07) urges VIU students to work hard to find a great job after they graduate. Nagimova currently works for the Washington, D.C. Minority Business Enterprise Center (MBEC).

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Editor: Laura Hills E-mail: lhills@viu.edu
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