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Student Profile: Anna Mishonova

By: Matthew David Milo

Photo Credit: Vincent Civiletti

I recently had the opportunity to learn more about Anna Mishonova, who is an international exchange student from Ukraine.

I have had the pleasure to work with her both at UMBC in several classes, as well as at an internship where I have been able to work with one of the most positive, intelligent, creative, and driven people I have ever met. Anna serves as a constant reminder that even when life gives challenges, like Putin’s war in Ukraine which forced Anna to leave her home, there is always the choice to rise above and continue working hard for both yourself and the people you care about.

She has plans to go to MICA to pursue her Master’s after she graduates, and we at UMBC have been very lucky to have been able to share our campus and home with a bright mind and turn a dire situation into an opportunity to share culture and hope. 

In design I remember her saying “The Sun has risen over the Mountain”, and I keep that quote close to remind:  there are always good things and new hope to come.

Favorite class in MCS? Why?

It’s a bit hard to choose, but I would probably say MCS 377 Making Visual Culture or MCS 333 History and Theory of Media Communication Studies. The fist is right up my alley: I love arts and hope to become a graphic designer. This class gave me a very good foundation and practical skills to achieve that. With MCS 333, I wasn’t too enthusiastic in the beginning, since the name of the course does not sound that exciting to me. However, as the class progressed, I found myself becoming more and more interested in MCS theory. It is exciting and stimulating to learn about the different frameworks, ideas, and explanations the authors had for the world in front of them. As we continue to develop media further, I’m sure this class will get even more interesting readings and theories.


Favorite experience in UMBC? Why?

It might be an unexpected answer, but I really loved walking to the 7:15 am yoga class. My walk takes about 10 minutes from my dorm to RAC, and I go down a very picturesque hill, pass the Library pond, and the university center alley to then meditate and listen to my body for an hour. It is an amazing way to start my day and keep my body and mind in tone. In general, walking on campus overall is very pleasant, especially around the Hilltop circle.

What are you looking forward to after graduation?

I’m looking forward to continuing my studies and getting my MA in Graphic Design from MICA. With a combination of UMBC and MICA knowledge, I’m sure I will be a force to reckon with 🙂 I want to express myself through both graphic design and written word, and hopefully, get a job in the creative field that I will really enjoy. On a smaller scale, my best friend is coming all the way from Germany to spend 2 weeks in the US. I haven’t seen her in over 2 years since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine and I miss her so much. I’m so excited to show her around campus and spend time with her.

Describe your path in UMBC and MCS specifically.

I came to UMBC as a transfer student from Ukraine after Russia’s full-scale invasion. Back home, I was studying journalism in V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, and I decided to continue along this path in UMBC. I was extremely lucky to get a scholarship from the university that would allow me to finish my bachelor’s degree. I had to catch up a lot, though, because courses from Ukraine did not transfer fully to the US university. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the process and got a chance to take very interesting classes, like HIST 111 Western Civilization 1700 to Present with Prof. Brandon Munda. I absolutely loved that class and would take it again if I could.

What made you choose MCS?

Back in Ukraine, I wanted to become a journalist to share stories that might otherwise be forgotten and create a positive impact in society. With time, however, I realized that I wanted a more creative career that would allow me to explore and be imaginative. In the US, I chose Media and Communication Studies because it impressed me with its diversity and large scope of directions. I knew that with this degree, I could work as a journalist, but also as a social media manager, marketing specialist, graphic designer, etc. I really enjoy this wideness, especially in the modern world, which requires us to adapt fast.

How did this major prepare you for the future? What skills did you gain?

I became a better writer, reader, thinker, and creator through my experiences with MCS. The exposure to different ideas, topics, opinions, and theories broadened my perspective and allowed me to include many different angles when trying to solve a problem. Through MCS, I got a strong foundation in graphic design, as well as communication, writing, and analytical skills. I feel prepared for the future ahead of me.

What do you do in your free time?

I love cooking, especially Ukrainian cuisine. It brings me back home in a way and allows me to share my love for Ukraine with my loved ones here. I also like to sketch and often do it during classes. I’m learning to play the piano and would love to learn other instruments as well. I’m also learning French online with a small group of Ukrainian students and a professor from my previous university. We have persevered through COVID lockdowns, full-scale invasion, and even different time zones! 

Do you have any advice for people starting out their student paths?

A simple thing that really helped me was starting out a physical planner. I still type things down on my phone sometimes, but nothing beats the pen and paper method in my opinion. It takes the million thoughts and worries new students might have and puts them in tangible words right in front of you. It’s also very satisfying to cross out tasks you have completed.

What is your favorite place on campus?

I have two: the library pond and the West Hill apartments. The first is very tranquil, with ducks and geese around, as well as very cozy little roads around the pond. West Hill apartments remind me of European streets; I want to move to Europe and consider West Hill a demo version of it 🙂  

What would you like to see more of on campus?

I would probably like to see more trees. The campus is very beautiful, but I feel like more trees in different locations would help with softening strong winds and giving shade in summer. I would also like to see more sustainability efforts: better recycling options, composting urns, upcycling events, etc.

Posted: May 14, 2024, 3:14 PM