The 22nd awards ceremony traditionally took place in the atrium of the Commandant’s Office of the Peter and Paul Fortress. The event was opened by Alexey Demidov, the chairman of the Council of Rectors of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast. In his speech, Alexey Demidov emphasized that this tradition once again proves how the city values higher education and strives to provide a convenient environment for its students. 

“St. Petersburg is Russia’s largest educational hub, the student capital of Russia. Our university trains specialists for all sectors of the economy. Every year, more and more students want to study in St. Petersburg and the competition is high. A diploma from one of the city’s universities is a guarantee of professional knowledge and skills. Almost 90% of our graduates secure a job immediately after their graduation,” noted Alexander Beglov, the Governor of St. Petersburg.

Elena Petrova enrolled at ITMO University after finishing high school; today, she can boast a Master’s degree. However, she does not plan to stop; instead, she is going to remain at her alma mater as a PhD student and lecturer. Besides, she already has some teaching experience: she is one of the authors of an environmental course for school students. 

“Environmental issues are at stake right now, but there are many misconceptions about the topic among adults. That’s why we switched our focus to school students and developed a special course for them where we share simple ways to be eco-friendly. Now, we hold classes for students of 4th-11th grades,” shares Elena Petrova. 

Elena Petrova also secured two patents and wrote seven Scopus-indexed papers. Her main field of study is nanophotonics. For the last few years, she has been working on unique anti-counterfeiting labels, as well as software for their operation. 

Another passion of Elena’s is chess. She met like-minded people at ITMO, and gradually their chess club grew into an open tournament, which was organized by the graduate. 

“We attract people from all over the city. Everyone who is interested in science and chess – not only ITMO students or staff – can take part in our tournament. We foster a friendly environment where everyone can talk about both,” explains Elena Petrova.