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Russian immigrant excels at engineering

Since moving to the United States from Russia four years ago, Polina Dudnick has learned English, scored two prestigious internships and found her calling in computer engineering.

Dudnick, 21, lives in Brooklyn with her parents and twin brother. She transferred from Baruch College to Binghamton so she could be more independent.

Dudnick’s father was surprised to hear his daughter was interested in engineering. “I’m usually the only girl, or one out of two girls, in my classes, so I would really like to promote women in technology,” she said.

That’s why Dudnick, now a junior, joined the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Society for Women Engineers. She volunteers at schools and attends workshops to encourage girls to pursue careers in engineering.

“Nothing ever seems to be a struggle for Polina,” said Mark Fowler, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. “She is constantly working hard behind the scenes to master the material.”

Dudnick also is the adaptive technology manager at Services for Students with Disabilities. She maintains software for students, scans their books to be read on the computer and helps them learn how to use other programs.

“I admire the students for coming down to the office and asking for help,” Dudnick said, “and I’m grateful to the people in the SSD office.”

Last summer, Dudnick interned at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island. Her next summer internship will be at GE Healthcare in Milwaukee, and she expects it will help her decide whether to pursue a master’s degree or doctorate.

“She is always seeking out new sources of learning and is striving to become a great engineer,” Fowler said. “I can safely say that she is well on her way.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08