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Chinwe Abosi, MS17, To Speak at INI Graduation

May 07, 2009

INI alumna, Chinwe Abosi is good at inspiring others. That's why she has been asked to speak at graduation—twice. Self-driven, she has followed a career path in research that has taken her around the globe, from the University to Botswana, to Carnegie Mellon's Athens MSIN in Greece in partnership with Athens Information Technology (AIT), to her current pursuit of a Ph.D. from University of Essex in the United Kingdom.

"I'm conducting research on a service-oriented architecture approach to provisioning in the future Optical Internet," she reports on her current activities. Abosi has had conference papers accepted and, most recently, an article accepted for publication in the Journal of Optical Communications and Networking.

Among her proudest moments, Abosi cites the 2007 Athens MSIN graduation at AIT, when she was honored as the student speaker. The event was momentous for eventually leading her to deliver the speech at the INI Graduation Ceremony in 2009.

"I wasn't sure it'd be a good speech because I'm a bit of a perfectionist, but I thought I'd give it my best and be confident. I guess that was good enough! The impact of that speech brought me here [to Pittsburgh]," reflected Abosi.

Back in 2007, INI Director Dena Haritos Tsamitis listened intently to Abosi's speech at AIT. She spoke with passion about her experiences in the program and how the AIT faculty and staff, mentioning each by name, as well as her Athens classmates, were her source of inspiration and support during the difficult 16-month program. She spoke of her gratitude for the hospitality of AIT and the generous financial support and opportunity it provided for her education. From her words, it was AIT that had enabled her to achieve her education goals. Only in the end of her speech, and very briefly, did she mention Carnegie Mellon—she thanked Carnegie Mellon for offering the program in Athens.

Haritos Tsamitis was struck by the strong connection that the young woman felt towards AIT. Within a few months, Haritos Tsamitis began to research organizational identification in students and alumni—that sense of belonging they feel toward their college. The research was the basis for her doctoral dissertation that focused on transnational university partnerships.

"I was disappointed to hear that Carnegie Mellon did not seem to play an equal or greater role in that positive experience in this student's view. Our partner institution, the host institution, seemed to be doing a much better job of connecting with the students," writes Haritos Tsamitis in her dissertation on the topic.

Since Abosi's speech in 2007, the INI has made some changes. For example, INI students at international partner institutions in Greece, Japan and Portugal are getting more opportunities to interact with Carnegie Mellon faculty and other INI students, including participating in "Destination 2008,"  the first-ever global orientation in Pittsburgh followed by a week of classes and other activities.

The 2009 INI Graduation Ceremony marks the first time students from all of the INI's international locations have been invited to attend. As the international students gather in Pittsburgh, it will be fitting for Abosi to join them for the ceremony. Her speech in 2007 was behind the inspiration to build a closer INI community among students and alumni in the years to come.

The INI Graduation Ceremony takes place on Saturday, May 16 at 6:00 p.m. at Rodef Shalom in Pittsburgh and is followed by a reception for INI graduates and their families.