Among Baruch College’s many extraordinary students, it would be hard to find two of greater academic distinction than Joselyn Muhleisen and Dina Odnopozova. Both are residents of Brooklyn, both members of the Class of 2007, but that’s where the similarities end.
Joselyn, a BS candidate in the School of Public Affairs, has just been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship. According to Dean David Birdsell and Dean Ron Aaron, Fulbright Adviser, it is the first ever won by a Baruch undergraduate. Joselyn, who at the age of 21 has already done more traveling than many people do in a lifetime, will take her Fulbright to the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, where she will work towards a master’s degree in European International Relations and Diplomacy.
Dina, who is 22 years old, came to the U.S. from her native Russia just six years ago. Her first two years in America were spent at Irvine Valley College, a two-year institution in California—the only place that responded to the hundreds of letters she wrote to U.S. colleges from Izhevsk, the small city in the Ural mountains where she was reared. Dina, who holds the Solomon Toubin Scholarship in Arts and Sciences at Baruch’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, just got word that she’s been admitted to Yale University’s elite PhD program in comparative literature, where she will study Slavic and Latin American literatures.
Admission to the Yale doctoral program puts her in rarified company—her Yale classmates hail from such places as Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge. Joselyn Muhleisen is a graduate of St. Savior’s High School in Brooklyn. Though admitted to the CUNY Honors College, she originally opted to attend Tulane University. That, says Joselyn, lasted just two weeks. Once back in New York and enrolled at Baruch College, she immersed herself in her classes while also taking every opportunity to travel.
During her sophomore year she went to Italy to learn the language. Other trips followed: Switzerland, Romania, Paris, Mexico. In the Spring of 2006 Joselyn took a semester off to accept an internship in the State Department’s Bureau of European Affairs in Washington D.C. This summer, prior to taking up her Fulbright in Bruges, she will use her Colin Powell Fellowship to learn more about the European Union in Brussels.
“I feel like Charlie getting the pass to Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory,” she says of her good fortune. Dina Odnopozova feels equally fortunate. Somewhere between California and New York Dina not only perfected her English language skills, but learned Spanish as well. Arriving at Baruch in January 2004, Dina was overwhelmed by the encouragement and help she received from her Baruch mentors, including Professors Paula Berggren, John Brenkman and Timothy Aubrey, all of the English Department.
To better her chances for graduate school Dina wrote a 120-page honors thesis “in a month and a half.” Titled “Made in America: Russian Literature in the American Market,” her thesis is a look at what sells and gets published in America and what gets ignored. It’s a topic Dina plans to expand in her future doctoral work by adding Latin American authors to the mix.
Dina is quite positive about her career plans. “I am going to be a professor,” she says. “I am going to teach literature and the humanities at a university.” Joselyn is less certain of what the future holds. She may follow her stint in Bruges with further studies at the London School of Economics. She thinks she may end up working in the U.S. Foreign Service or possibly as a researcher for a think tank. “I’m a big picture kind of person,” she says. “It’s hard for me to think at the micro level about anything. . .like picking up the dry cleaning,” she says with laugh.