Overseas voyage to Bosnia for Festa Fellowship recipient

For 5 weeks, Ahmeda Hrustanovic will be interning at BosnaLijek Pharmaceutical in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she will learn about international pharmaceutical standards and procedures.

Hrustanovic, who was born in Bosnia, hopes to incorporate the chemistry and management skills she has acquired through the Professional Science Master's (PSM) program at SUNY Oswego.

While at BosnaLijek Pharmaceutical, Hrustanovic will be working in the finish products area to run tests. She is the first student from the United States to take part in this internship.

Life before Oswego

“Since many employers feel they lack the knowledge and skills to compete in a global marketplace, they often seek new employees who can understand a foreign culture,” Hrustanovic said. “Each country has its own business etiquette and cultural values.” 
Ahmeda Hrustanovic 
Student, PSM Chemistry

In 2001, Hrustanovic and her family moved to the United States due to the effects of the war in Bosnia.

She became interested in chemistry in the 7th grade because of a teacher who gave her the drive to succeed.

In class, “The first grade that I got was a C-plus,” Hrustanovic said. “She pushed me and she is one of the main reasons why I became a chemist.”

Hrustanovic received her bachelor’s degree in Chemisty from Utica College.

After finishing her undergraduate work, Hrustanovic began working at Norwich Pharmaceuticals in Norwich, New York, where she worked as a chemistry technician.

Norwich was a learning experience for Hrustanovic because she realized she enjoyed the management aspect of the pharmaceutical industry.

“I quickly earned the respect of the team; members often asked for my opinion and informed me about the latest results,” Hrustanovic said. “I believe that this development was largely due to my ability to recognize that people do their best when they share responsibility for the outcome of a project.”

Her sister, who was attending SUNY Oswego for her undergraduate degree introduced Hrustanovic to the university and the graduate programs.

“In Norwich, any higher position that was offered said masters required,” Hrustanovic said. “After a year and a half I realized you have to have some background in business and communication skills.”

Graduate work

Hrustanovic decided to pursue a PSM degree at SUNY Oswego, which allowed her to blend her passion for chemistry and her desire for leadership in a business setting.

During her first year of the PSM program, Hrustanovic was introduced to the Festa Fellowship and this summer, she will be working at BosnaLijek Pharmaceutical.

Hrustanovic is earning her PSM degree in Chemistry at SUNY Oswego.

“Interning abroad will provide me with a deeper understanding of different cultures, societal demands, and the unique way in which the Bosnian culture interacts,” Hrustanovic said. “Furthermore, this experience will assist me with the improvement of my problem-solving skills, effective communication, and collaborative efforts.”

Hrustanovic has improved her leadership and supervision skills while working as an assistant hall director at Sheldon Hall. She was responsible for supervising desk attendants and students living in the hall.

Her experience in Residence Life and Housing as well as the skills she has learned in the classroom have prepared Hrustanovic for an internship abroad, where she will face cultural differences and language barriers.

“This will give me the opportunity to gain hands on work experience, which I wouldn’t fully attain in the classroom,” Hrustanovic said. “Additionally, doing the internship abroad will provide me with an excellent way to improve my language skills.”

The PSM program requires an internship, but Hrustanovic had guidance from her professors who introduced her to the opportunity of the fellowship and the internship abroad.

Fehmi Damkaci, Oswego’s associate dean of graduate studies and a member of the chemistry faculty, played a significant role in helping Hrustanovic pursue her goals.

“Fehmi pushed me a lot and helped me a lot to apply for this fellowship,” Hrustanovic said. “Thanks to him and everyone else for helping me experience this opportunity.”

After Oswego

Hrustanovic will be entering her second and final year of graduate school upon her arrival home from her international internship. After graduate school, she plans on working, but eventually would like to pursue her doctorate.

Hrustanovic plans on working in a pharmaceutical company somewhere in Europe, where she can use her knowledge and skills in chemistry and management, as well as the international business experience she will acquire this summer.

“Since many employers feel they lack the knowledge and skills to compete in a global marketplace, they often seek new employees who can understand a foreign culture,” Hrustanovic said. “Each country has its own business etiquette and cultural values.”

Hrustanovic’s dream position involves incorporating her degree and skills with her love for traveling.

“My ultimate accomplishment within this field is becoming a traveling chemist,” Hrustanovic said. “With this experience, it will definitely help me come closer to achieving this goal.”