Alina Studenova uses her love of technology and people to teach others and help nonprofits grow

Alina Studenova studied mathematics, physics, and information technology in college, but her desire for global job opportunities led her to enroll in Cisco Networking Academy at Demidov State University in Yaroslavl, Russia. Of a career in network technology, Studenova says, "There are a lot of opportunities for studying, travelling, and communicating. You don't have to look for opportunities; they are already knocking on your door."

Hands-On Experience Builds Confidence

Studenova wasn't expecting to win silver and gold medals when she competed in Cisco Regional Networking Competitions in 2009 and 2010, but her proficiency with lab simulations prepared her to successfully configure actual equipment, even under pressure. She gained even more hands-on experience at the Cisco Expo trade show in Moscow in 2009, where she assisted technical staff, assembled equipment racks, configured access points and switches, and demonstrated Cisco's TelePresence video conferencing technology to visitors. "Working with real routers and switches at first seemed much harder than doing labs in Packet Tracer," she says, referring to Cisco's powerful network simulation program. "Now I know there is nothing to be afraid of."

Using Technology Skills to Benefit Students and Society

Inspired by one of her female instructors, Studenova pursued teaching, a profession that combines her love of network technology and communicating with people. After earning a Cisco CCNA Security certification, she began teaching the CCNA Discovery course at the very Networking Academy where she once studied.

Studenova is also multiplying the impact of her knowledge and experience through the Cisco Networking Academies for Public Service program. She trains students to volunteer as technology specialists in public institutions and nonprofit organizations that often can't afford network administrators. "We are helping schools, libraries, and other social institutions step into the era of new technologies," she explains. "It's nice when people come to you with the desire to be helpful to society. I am glad I can pass my knowledge to someone else, that I can share what I was taught."