Firuza is interested in educational psychology, her senior thesis was devoted to phenomenon of procrastination in junior students of AUCA. She won an award for the best senior thesis in 2012. You can read Firuza's thesis here. Currently she is looking for Master's program and working in Advising Center of AUCA.
"Studying psychology at AUCA was one of the best times in my life. Such a valuable experience gained in different fields! My interests in psychology were changing in accordance with learning new theories and perspectives. I ended up being a humanist-existentialist not only in the framework of knowledge, but as a way of living in this world.
I have huge plans for future, for sure to get masters, however not certain about the field. I believe I have good qualities to become professional psychologist, but I have interest in the field of education as well. The thing is that my senior thesis was about phenomena that might influence the process of studying, such as burnout and academic procrastination. My senior project became a very nice and accomplished work; however I have to confess it took me quite a while to choose the topic and actually to start working on it. The best thing about writing my thesis is that I figured out what are my real interests, and how I can actually apply my knowledge on practice.
As for now, I work at AUCA in Advising office and Writing and Academic Resource Center. So mostly I deal with students, helping them to achieve great academic success and stimulate critical thinking."
Asel decided that she wants to spend the rest of her life trying to investigate the deep motives, behavior and thinking of criminals. She began to dedicate a great amount of time to studying the literature on this topic, which confirmed that she wanted to pursue forensic psychology. Now, she studies Forensic Mental Health at King’s College London in United Kingdom. This was the best choice in her life, and she is immensely grateful to her parents for giving her the opportunity to follow her passion. King’s offers an excellent learning experience and a lot of opportunities for students and graduates. This semester she has an internship in Scotland Yard and another in a Mental Health Hospital, which is very exciting.
Elena graduated from AUCA in 2010 and received her Master's degree in Roehampton University, London, UK. Currently she is an AFP fellow and teaching several courses for AUCA psychology students.
"My way to neuroscience research has been enriched by undergraduate training in psychology at theAmericanUniversityof Central Asia (AUCA). Within my undergraduate studies I took part in the research internship in the Social Relations Lab of Columbia University in the City of New York, top school for psychology research in the U.S. Paired with doctoral and post-doctoral students, I was introduced to the field of social cognitive neuroscience and worked chiefly on neural bases of emotion regulation and cognitive processing, as well as on psychological assessment of patients with various PDs. Internship at Columbia boosted my interest in brain science and highlighted the significance of neuroscience research for various aspects of human life.
Combining my interest in neurobiology and psychopathology, I went on to graduate studies choosing MSc Clinical Neuroscience programme at Roehampton University of London, UK. At Roehampton, I worked prevalently with Dr. Jolanta Opacka-Juffry focusing on such topical issues as neuroplasticity, neurodegeneration, and neuroprotection. The major outcomes of my MSc are: gaining an advanced insight into the fundamental neurobiological mechanisms involved in regulation of various types of neuronal activity, obtaining sound knowledge and understanding of cutting edge issues in the field of clinical neuroscience, receiving an extensive training in the Clinical Lab and Radiobiology Lab, application of technology and research techniques for neuroscience studies. My dissertation thesis focused on potential inhibition of central oxytocin receptors (core social neuropeptide) by exposure to prenatal stress, which has been marked as a top paper in the graduate class and is published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. The work has also been approved and presented at the neuroscience conference of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies FENS 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.
Upon completion of my Master’s I was offered an academic position at AUCA as a research fellow of AFP (Soros Foundation). I am currently involved in teaching and developing an individual research project in collaboration with American and (potentially) British scholars. My further aspirations include doing a PhD in the field of clinical neuroscience with an emphasis on neurobiological mechanisms underlying social and emotional impairments in children with development disorders and mental health patients. Furthermore, I plan to commit my career to the development of the science through research activity and expansion of academic opportunities on post-Soviet space. In 2012-2013 I am available at the Psychology Department Office, Room 209, main building or via e-mail email@example.com. If you are interested in undertaking graduate studies in the UK, you can approach me anytime and I’ll be glad to assist you with your applications."
Artyom graduated from AUCA in 2010 and got accepted to the MSc program in Neuro-Cognitive Psychology (NCP), at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität (LMU), Munich, Germany.
"After graduating from AUCA in 2010 I got accepted to the MSc program in Neuro-Cognitive Psychology (NCP), at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität (LMU), Munich, Germany. It was a very diverse, intensive and cutting edge Cognitive Neuroscience program that was developed to provide students with grounding knowledge in such fundamental research techniques as event-related potentials (ERP), functional magnetic resonance (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and some other. The main topics of neuropsychological investigation available at LMU were attention, working memory, sleep function and malfunction, priming and visual search; NCP gave us possibilities to work with healthy individuals as well as in clinical settings.
The main topics of my research interest developed throughout two years at NCP are face perception, perception of emotions, age related changes in face identification and processing, global/local perception of objects and visual attention in general. During my studies at NCP I had a wonderful opportunity to take active participation in organization of project with a big group of people with congenital prosopagnosia (i.e., inborn inability to perceive, identify and recall human faces, including one’s own face). We made some interesting findings that are in the process of being published in one of the international journals at the moment.
My master thesis is intended to tackle the nature of face perception (e.g., feature based vs. configuration based vs. dual-mode) using EEG methodology. It will answer the question whether local feature suppression (LFS) effect found in our previous work happens in pre or post-selection stage of visual processing. This research might shed some light on our understanding of how humans perceive faces and possibly develop some ideas to help people with face perception problems (e.g., prosopagnosics, autistics, schizophrenics etc.).
In the next three years I am planning to complete my PhD degree at The International Max Planck Research School on Neuroscience of Communication: Function, Structure, and Plasticity (IMPRS NeuroCom) - a unique PhD program to study the functional, structural, and plastic bases of human communication through an integrative and interdisciplinary approach. This is one of the best research institutions of this sort in Germany, with a strong cooperation with different international institutions such as University College London. I am going to work with Dr. Prof. Kotz on the topic of affective control and prediction formation in multisensory integration.
If you have any questions about the functioning of MSc and PhD systems in Germany, possible projects and work that you would like to be involved in, please contact me on artyom.Zinchenko@gmail.com. I would be glad to respond."
Asel graduated in 2008 and received a profound experience in conflict resolution after Osh events in 2010. Currently she is a graduate student in University of Tromso (Norway).
"Hi to all future and current psychology students!
My name is Asel. I graduated from AUCA, Psychology Department in 2008. After graduation I was interested in counseling and joined Kyrgyz Gestalt Association which works in partnership with Moscow Institute of Gestalt and Psychodrama (http://www.migip.ru ), and GATLA (LA, USA. Gestalt Association, http://www.gatla.org). I’ve participated trainings on counseling for four fascinating and productive years. This year I’ve passed exam for MIGIP counseling certificate, and now I need to submit thirty hours clients counseling report.
This year was and is rich for big events in my professional life. I just started my two years master program in Peace and Conflict Transformation in University of Tromso in Norway. You may ask why peace and conflict? I worked in two meaningful projects which defined my interest in peace and conflict issues and had to broader my experience working in other areas in order to make investments for my future education.
The first project was “Gender aspects of posttraumatic reintegration in Kyrgyzstan” in partnership with Centre of OSCE, that was right after the tragic ethnic conflict in the south of our republic in 2010. Within this project we organized two very important seminars where two well-known specialists in PTSD Dr. Dobryakov from Russia and Dr. Koga from the USA together with Elena Molchanova from AUCA :-)) shared their best practices and knowledge with the psychologists and psychiatrists of Kyrgyz Republic, who were not trained on how to work with victims of crisis situation. I’m really thankful for these people, who had their great contribution in the hard time for Kyrgyz Republic people.
The second project work was also very influential for me. I was invited to Osh city by International Medical Corps to conduct endline Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Psychosocial surveys. It was very valuable and interesting for me to conduct the survey where we interviewed about 1000 participants.
These experiences influenced my choice of my master program and my future ideas of my carrier. Here I’m looking for answers why and how the conflicts emerge and how people, groups, states can find peaceful transformation changes.
I also want say that that wasn’t easy way to University of Tromso. For some period I had to work at MFI, which is not in the area of my interest. I’m glad that I’m an optimistic person, so I didn’t have negative attitude towards my work. I contributed to and learned from it also. There I could always have my "passion profession" going on on the side and work to balance that with my work at MFI to pay the bills, courses, etc. I applied for X and Y universities and jobs and heard no, of course I was disappointed, but kept open minded and pursued other opportunities.
I wish you all to do what you are interested in and be positive."
After graduating from AUCA in 2010 Roman began studying for his graduate degree at the Center for Psychoanalytic studies at the university of Essex (U.K.).
"I received my B.A. in psychology from the AUCA in 2012. Overall, I would describe my undergraduate experience as being exciting and valuable – in both personal and professional sense. Personally, it gave me a number of opportunities to interact with students and instructors of diverse backgrounds, build some – hopefully, long-lasting – friendships and gain a certain degree of insight into own behavior, as well as to strengthen the motivation to further excel in my career.
Professionally, the psychology program offered a rigorous curriculum that provided grounding in a wide variety of fields, thus, allowing one to choose a specialty to pursue after receiving the bachelor’s degree – either by means of continuing education (as I decided to do) or, perhaps, by obtaining an entry-level position in a chosen field (as some of my fellow graduates opted to). It also prepared me for conducting scientific research, which is a mandatory skill in contemporary psychology and an invaluable experience for anyone seriously considering getting a graduate degree and/or the prospect of a career in academia. As such, I have successfully completed and defended my thesis study focusing primarily on the psychodynamic approach to the interplay of sexual orientation, gender roles and suicidal ideation among young adult men. I am currently in the process of submitting this research study for publication in one of the scientific journals in the U.S. Additionally, during my senior year at the AUCA, I was employed as a teaching assistant at the psychology department, which was a unique and an invigorating experience.
Last, but certainly not the least, I was lucky enough to be taught by, work alongside and get acquainted with some of the best teachers and interesting individuals that make up the faculty of the department. Their academic and personal attributes altogether made my undergraduate studies both a productive experience and a memorable one at that.
At present, I am about to begin studying for my graduate degree (M.A.) at the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex (U.K.). As I was always drawn to psychodynamics (psychoanalysis in particular) and clinical psychology, this appeared to be quite a logical next step toward my future career in mental health. Moreover, since the attainment of a doctorate degree is essential for anyone wishing to become a practicing psychoanalyst, professionally licensed in the U.S. or the U.K., I am already preparing to apply to graduate schools that award doctorate degrees in psychoanalysis/psychodynamics.
If you are considering obtaining graduate-level education in mental health in general or psychoanalysis/psychodynamics in particular and have questions regarding the options available in the U.S. or the U.K., you may contact me via e-mail at Roman.Yumatov@Gmail.com.
Finally, regardless of your path in the fascinating world of psychology, I wish you all the best in your academic, professional and personal endeavors. And remember: the world and, especially, your homeland in their present state are in desperate need for qualified specialists in psychology"
Liliia graduated from AUCA Psychology Department in 2010. Since her senior year she has been working as a WUSHU trainer and instructor for children from 4 to 14. She is the leader of the WUSHU Club “Frigate”, which is a part of the Traditional WUSHU Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic.
"I started practicing WUSHU when I was 11. WUSHU is a kind of martial art, which encourages not only physical development, but also mental and spiritual growth. It is about getting insights into how people, society, and nature function. Due to my deep interest in this complex and fascinating practice, I decided to study psychology because it was the field, which would help me understand what the structure of a human being is and what its working mechanisms are to the most.
I graduated from the Psychology Department of AUCA in 2010. In my thesis I analyzed the common features of the different approaches in classical psychological counseling and psychophysical training in traditional WUSHU. In the course of this work a lot of common traits and connections between two approaches were found, which allowed to recommend WUSHU as a working system for positive influence on psychological well being of an individual.
Since my senior year I’ve been working as a WUSHU trainer and instructor for children from 4 to 14. Since 2012 I’ve become the leader of the WUSHU Club “Frigate”, which is a part of the Traditional WUSHU Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic.
In the nearest future I’m going to devote myself to studying physical education of children, including children with special needs, to take part in the 5th World Traditional WUSHU Championship as a member of the national team of Kyrgyzstan, and to continue working on the WUSHU development in our country and beyond under the guidance of the Traditional WUSHU Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic.
I really love my life and what I do!"
Kanykey graduated from AUCA in 2008, received her MA in Mental Health from George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis. She would like to pursue PhD in Psychology in the field of Interethnic Empathy in Multicultural Society.
"When I was fifteen years old, I suddenly ran into a boy bending all his efforts to wheel his fully loaded barrow while I was wondering around and shopping in a typical eastern bazaar. The boy was in his early teens, who became angry when the unintentional interference happened, which made me embarrassed and encouraged me to help him.
This event in my life provoked me to be concerned about vulnerable children, families, and communities in Kyrgyzstan. Thus, devoting myself to treat my country from social crises motivated me to apply to study Psychology. In 2005 being an exchange student at American University of Central Asia from one of the state universities where I was enrolled in prior, within one semester I received valuable and quality knowledge from Psychology Department professors. With encouragement of highly qualified professors at AUCA and my great experience here, I made my choice to graduate from this specific university… and I did not regret. As it is said “You will fight as you train,” my ‘training’ at AUCA prepared me for ‘fighting’ for my goals. As a result, I received a scholarship and successfully earned graduate degree in Mental Health from George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis. Having practicums in Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors in St. Louis and research in Child Labor, I came back to Kyrgyzstan to expand my experience in working with vulnerable population.
Today, I enjoy working in two different communities: Students and children who are at-risk of losing parental care.
Since 2012 I have been teaching at Psychology Department of AUCA. Interaction with students and my colleagues bring me valuable insights for my professional development. At the same time, in order to gain more practical experience, I work at international organization ‘SOS Children’s Villages’ as a National Family Strengthening Program Advisor. Helping out children and their families gives a sense of being helpful to the community, and it is wonderful.
As my future plans, I would like to pursue PhD in Psychology in the field of Interethnic Empathy in Multicultural Society. Based on my experience, I learn more and more that aspiring to mutual understanding brings peace not only between individuals, but also in oneself and among communities. A quote by Joseph Sebarenzi makes a meaningful ending for this message, “We all long for peace within ourselves, families, communities, countries, and throughout the world”