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Navigating graduate school and a homeland at war

Originally from Ukraine, Olga Khudyakova moved to the US in 2003 and began acclimating to American culture. 

In 2008, she began her undergraduate studies at George Mason University and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Global Affairs in 2012. During her studies, she volunteered as a Russian language teacher and discovered she “loved working with adults, who are motivated and have their own learning goals and objectives. They challenged and pushed me to think about learning and language in new ways.” 

Photo of Olga Khudyakova with a yellow and blue background.
Olga Khudyakova, Boise State Online Master of Science in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning Graduate

After her undergraduate studies, she held several professional roles to gain work experience. In February 2020, she started a job as an instructional designer at a data science training company.  This led her to the online Master of Science in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning at Boise State University, and she began her graduate studies in the fall of 2020.  

A Promising Future

In her Boise State application, she shared that “the focus on performance improvement and organizational development greatly appeals to me. The coursework addresses my interest in adult learning theory and instructional design, as well as my goal to improve professional development practices.” 

Beginning her graduate studies during the pandemic, Khudyakova was able to apply what she was learning in the classroom to the growing needs in her workplace by creating meaningful, informative and systematic training through a variety of delivery methods. Each semester, she learned knowledge and skills that could be implemented on projects day-to-day.

The Impacts of War

At the start of 2022, she was on track to graduate by December and began her semester intending to finish by the end of the year. However, at the end of February 2022, the world turned its attention to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  She had family still living there, and their safety was at great risk. 

Ukrainian flag stands between two destroyed buildings.

Each day, the news worsened, and concentrating on her studies was an ongoing challenge. She reluctantly had to withdraw to manage her stress better. Khudyakova tried returning in the fall of 2022 to finish her master’s degree. However, the news was too distressing, and her family was still in danger — focusing on coursework remained impossible, and she withdrew early in the semester.  

United Family and Finally, Graduation

Between the fall of 2022 and the start of the spring of 2023, Khudyakova worked with an immigration program called Uniting for Ukraine and brought her family members together and to the USA by the end of 2022.  

She returned to her study in spring 2023 and graduated in August 2023 with her family at her side to celebrate.

“Organizational performance and workplace learning faculty and staff celebrate Olga Khudyakova for her incredible accomplishments in the face of so many challenges,” senior student success advisor Jo Ann Fenner said. “ We are so proud to have you as a graduate!”

Learn More About the Online Master of Science in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning

Boise State University’s online Master of Science in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning provides application-oriented education with a project-based learning curriculum taught by award-winning faculty to prepare students for the future of the learning and development industry.

More about this innovative, fully online graduate program:

  • 100% online coursework means you can complete your assignments anytime, anywhere via the Canvas learning management system. You can complete your assignments asynchronously, anytime, from anywhere.
  • Our faculty, experts and leaders in the field, are driven to provide you with personalized instruction and support to ensure your success from the first semester to graduation.
  • Our highly interactive online courses enable you to build a strong professional network with other professionals, sharing knowledge and even job opportunities with each other!
  • In addition to your online classroom learning, you can join our faculty’s research labs to work on real-world research and development projects and applications.
  • From each course, you will generate portfolio-worthy course assignments, which you can use to develop your portfolio website as a culminating activity. 

Connect with a student success coach to learn more about the program or application process, or attend our next live, virtual information session. 

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