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In Germany, fifth-year student finds science and self

Northeastern fifth-year student Dessislava Bogoeva was born in Bulgaria and moved to the United States at age 10. Now she feels like she can call Germany her third home after taking advantage of several dynamic experiential learning opportunities in the western European nation.

Bogoeva’s global experiences have all focused on her passion for studying biology, which doubles as her major at Northeastern. On co-op at the Leibniz University  in 2010, for example, she worked on a project genetically modifying cowpeas with professor Hans-Jörg Jacobsen, who is also a visiting professor in Northeastern’s Department of Biology. “We were putting in genes for draught and disease resistance,” said Bogoeva of the research’s impact.

Backed by the support of a Presidential Global Scholarship, she also worked on co-op at the Medical School of Hannover in the fall of 2011. This time she was screening blood and tissue samples from acute myeloid leukemia patients, looking for common mutations to help understand the genetic basis of the disease.

In addition to these two international co-ops, Bogoeva also spent a semester abroad studying at Jacobs University in Bremen in 2012.

She noted that these experiences have allowed her to expand her knowledge of biology and “become the kind of skilled, international citizen that a global economy demands.” Studying at Jacobs University, for instance, allowed her to immerse herself in a highly international environment, she said. More than 100 nations worldwide were represented in the university community in which cultural barriers were often broken.

Bogoeva acknowledged that she was hesitant about pursuing these global endeavors, but added that they have ultimately paid enormous dividends from both a personal and professional standpoint.

“Going abroad makes you very strong and independent. You return home completely transformed,” Bogoeva said. Participating in an international program offers many great opportunities, she added, but the most important among them is the opportunity to gain a new global perspective.

Upon graduating this winter, Bogoeva hopes to continue studying cancer biology and has already started applying to graduate programs in Germany.