Student Enjoys Eclectic Experience
After spending her younger years in a variety of volunteer roles with non-governmental organizations in her native Macedonia, Ivana Krsteska chose Kent State to study sustainable architecture and also serves as a Kent Student Ambassador.
Ivana graduated from Niko Nestor High School in her hometown of Struga, Macedonia, in 2010, and grew up as the oldest child in her close-knit family. Her father is a civil engineering technician, and her mother is a psychologist and talented cake decorator. She credits them with instilling a unique blend of artistic and engineering talents in her. Her sister lives in Madrid and works as an embassy translator, while her brother just received his robotics degree in Slovenia. “Our harmonious family and safe upbringing, where entrance doors were never locked, enriched our carefree childhood,” said Ivana.
She was an active volunteer with the non-profit PAN-European Alliance for 12 years and participated in numerous youth exchanges across Europe, which expanded her knowledge of different nations and cultures. This experience influenced her decision to come to Kent, Ohio, to expand her expertise in sustainability and achieving LEED Green Associate certification. “Kent State embraces international students and provides a safe environment. I am impressed by the diverse and highly qualified faculty who are recognized for exceptional research and teaching,” she said.
While pursuing her second master’s degree in architecture, she has become passionate about academia and is looking forward to finding a Ph.D. program focused on sustainable architecture. “I am lucky to have my advisor guiding me in this process, and we are writing a book about mass timber structures,” she said. “Simultaneously, I aim to gain practical experience as an architect, applying sustainable design principles to create environmentally responsible structures and make meaningful contributions to a more sustainable and resilient built environment through my work in the field.”
The recipient of several scholarships, including a Fulbright Scholarship, Ivana chose Kent State because of the outstanding sustainable architecture programs. “By prioritizing sustainability in my architectural work, I can contribute toward a better future and a cleaner environment,” she said. “My scholarships remind me of the kindness and support in the world, and I feel incredibly fortunate and lucky to have received this assistance which also highlights the importance of philanthropy and its impact on aspiring individuals,” said Ivana. “Thanks to these compassionate donors, students can pursue their educational aspirations and make a difference in the world.”
Scholarship support has helped Ivana achieve her current success. “Without my scholarships, pursuing my academic goals would remain merely a distant dream,” Ivana said. “The cost of a college education is exorbitant and majoring in architecture demands an immense amount of time and dedication which leaves me with minimal opportunities to work and earn an income to cover my educational expenses.” She also appreciates knowing that the donors who contribute to scholarships believe in her abilities and provide support to help her excel in her studies. “Because of this support, I am motivated to put forth even greater effort and maintain exemplary grades,” she said.
Receiving scholarships also afforded Ivana more time and flexibility to participate in extracurricular activities, internships, research projects and other valuable experiences. “This holistic engagement has enriched my learning experience, provided me with a well-rounded education and a profound sense of validation and encouragement,” Ivana said.