October 24, 2023

“Education is about discipline-you must be disciplined to get to classes, and to have patience for the process of getting an education—and that definitely develops your character,” notes Tetiana Babych.

Originally from Ukraine, Tetiana was earning her Orthotics and Prosthetics Bachelor’s degree in Slovakia when the Covid-19 pandemic shut everything down. Searching for more hands-on field experience, she looked for Master’s degree programs in the UK, Canada, and Australia.

A New Start at Century College

She soon discovered the joint Master’s program between Century College and Concordia St. Paul. Concordia’s instructors recommended that she first earn her technical certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics at Century College.

Tetiana arrived at the College in August 2022. “I like the curriculum. The instructors have lots of experience in the field, and give me tips I can use,“ she says. “The instructors I especially enjoyed learning from are Joanna Kenton (Prosthetics), Chad Smith (Orthotics), and Kate Herrold (Psychology).

Keys to Success: Involvement in Student Life

Tetiana’s successful transition to Century College began with Student Life. She met David Mekala, adviser for Century’s International Students Association Club, and enjoyed meeting other international students. She was soon invited to join Phi Theta Kappa, the international honors association for students at two-year colleges.

In PTK, Tetiana joined the Executive Board, then served as Vice President of Operations. She is now serving as VP of Leadership for this year’s Honors in Action (HIA) Project, which is connected to the Orthotics and Prosthetics field. Tetiana enjoys the guidance of PTK advisor Rahul Kane, who has also had experience as an international student, and is a role model for career success.

At a recent PTK regional conference in Duluth, Tetiana enjoyed networking with leaders from other chapters. “The conference was very useful, and I especially enjoyed a lecture on the importance of self-care. PTK leaders are working, going to school, active in their chapters, and with community work. We tend to forget about ourselves,” Tetiana notes. “It was also helpful to see Marissa Torres’ presentation on turning weaknesses into wins.”

Despite her busy schedule, Tetiana manages to work 20 hours a week on campus, take a full load of courses, and serve on the PTK board. She understands the significance of getting enough sleep.

Service in Ukraine

Tetiana’s commitment to helping and serving others extends far beyond Century College. When she had an opportunity to volunteer in an Orthotics and Prosthetics clinic back home this fall, she jumped at the chance. She traveled with Yakov Gradinar, co-founder of the Protez Foundation. “It was a great learning opportunity. I had never seen a clinic in Ukraine and was eager to help, as well as spend time with my family.” Tetiana says.

Risk-Taking and Leadership

A vital part of honing leadership skills involves risk taking. “Sometimes I can be scared to go for something new–like the PTK Executive Board–yet, at same time, I knew the team would be there for me. Everything can work out. As women, we are quite often scared many things, and it’s so important to know that others will be there to support you,” she advises.

Persistence is another key component of Tetiana’s successes. She applied for 29 scholarships and received three. “It’s twice as hard for international students, because they’re not eligible for FAFSA,” she notes. “So an international student getting a scholarship is a big win. Be sure to get help from the Writing Center and College advisors.”

“The European model of Universities is different–the focus is on education, and there is no “Student Life” or clubs and activities,” Tetiana observes,” The American model of education helps you develop as a person, with student clubs, and gives you an opportunity to work on leadership skills. I’m so glad I chose Century College.”


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