Yuliya Voytenko '07 (Ukraine)

September 19, 2008

After having graduated from MESPOM in June 2007 I started my PhD studies at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy at Central European University in Budapest. Currently I am in the very beginning of my second year in PhD program, successfully passed my comprehensive exams and have just defended my thesis prospectus.

To share a bit of after-MESPOM experience with you, I would like to say that I am very satisfied with how my professional career is developing. I work on my dissertation and am very excited about the research I am doing. Specifically I focus on the development of new bioenergy based models for organisation and action in Ukraine and look at the possibilities to link different economic actors utilising agricultural biomass for commercial energy production. I am especially excited about starting my field research in the upcoming year because this will mean communicating with people and exploring possibilities to create business opportunities for them in real life.

I did my first pilot field visit this summer, when I went to a farm in the rural area in North Ukraine. There I had a chance to talk to a Ukrainian farmer and walk around his farm. I was very much impressed with his expertise, activities, which he manages, and his attitude to life and business. Grygoriy Tkachenko is a well-educated and talented agricultural entrepreneur as well as a very nice, easy going and purposeful person. This visit helped me realise that not only was it important to conduct desktop research but also to go to the field and explore things, experience and feel them. Field is always an unexplored area where the real excitement of a researcher starts.

Of course, pursuing doctorate research is not detached from being involved in interesting research projects and participating in international conferences, meetings and other events. For me this means working and communicating with experts from such organizations as UNEP, IEA, WWF, etc. I always had a dream to become a part of world scientific community, and now I feel that I am on the right track towards this goal.

To tell a few more things about the development of my professional career, I would like to mention an interesting and very exciting three month period when another CEU PhD student Anastasiya Timoshyna and I were teaching a course on Business and the Environment for undergraduate students at CEU Business School. This was a totally new course developed on the basis of our knowledge and experience gained in Master’s programmes including MESPOM. I should say that while developing the course syllabus and later delivering lectures and seminars I had an opportunity to look at my MESPOM experience from an absolutely different angle – an angle of a university professor. I used a lot of materials from different courses, which I had in MESPOM, compiling them and adjusting for Business School students. Anastasiya and I developed our own case studies, games and role plays, tried a number of new techniques, etc. For me MESPOM example of teaching and conducting classes remained remarkable. In addition, while having helped professors as a teaching assistant for third generation of MESPOM I was able to learn much more on how academic classes should be planned and organised, how assignments should be delivered and assessed, etc.

Staying with CEU means that my after-MESPOM life cannot be detached from MESPOM. I have been communicating with the third batch of MESPOM a lot as I was their teaching assistant for many courses at CEU. I will not be able to remain outside of MESPOM family for the following academic years either. I am always happy to meet new MESPOMers and help them with advice and support. Since I was one of the first MESPOMers, I particularly know how at times we missed a piece of advice from those who have already undertaken MESPOM road.

I am always happy to get back to my favorite MESPOM partner universities, organise small reunions with my classmates, and again and again get in touch with dear professors. My next stop will be at IIIEE in Lund, where I plan to conduct research for the following month. Now I really understand how great it is that MESPOM enriched my life both with excellent professional networks and wonderful people from all over the world.