“It is important to understand what you want from the very beginning”: interview with graduate Alexandra Lyakhova

Alexandra Lyakhova is a MEPhI graduate. In 2017, she graduated from the 5th department Theoretical and Experimental Physics of Nuclear Reactors in the field of Nuclear Physics and Technology. In 2019, she completed the master's program at the same department in the field of Nuclear Engineering (English language program for foreigners). Alexandra told us about her studying and career path.

— What was your impression of educational program at your department? What was difficult and easy?

— The most difficult time is the first year, especially for me, a person with humanitarian high school education. Everything was new; you had to teach your brain to think in a completely different way. But senior years were easier as you get used to the format, and everything looks not so hard. In my work, all knowledge related to nuclear power plants is important. Therefore, graduate subjects were especially significant.

— What did you do as a student?

— Most of my time was spent at the university, so I had one but the most favorite hobby - mountain hiking. Two years ago, I even climbed Mount Elbrus.

— What was the topic of your thesis?

— I prepared my theses at Moscow Engineering Physics Institute on the following topics: for Bachelor degree — "Design of a pressure tube boiling reactor with a combined moderator and fuel based on plutonium and thorium”, for Master degree — "Stationary calculation of neutron-physical characteristics of the core and reactivity coefficients of the Superphenix reactor (France)" (jointly with PSI, Switzerland)

— What is the most memorable moment during your studying?

— In my studies, most of all I remembered is graduate school as we had a foreign group. The people from Nigeria and Egypt studied with us, and for me, it was a new experience in communicating with a completely different culture.

— Where do you work now? How many graduates of MEPhI work with you?

— Now I work as a project manager in JSC Rusatom Service at the Department of projects for training foreign personnel of nuclear power plants. I got there through the Factory project, where graduates and senior students are recruited to develop and gain experience with the prospect of being hired. There are a lot of MEPhI graduates in our company. Now, for example, in addition to me, four people in the company are graduates of my department.

— Taking into account your experience, if it was possible to choose university again, would you go to MEPhI?

— Studying at MEPhI is an experience that I would not exchange for any other. I love challenges and difficult tasks, so I would not change anything. Life outside the university is completely different. Studying was about 70% of our time. It is good that the university can prepare us for "going to the outside world"

— What advice would you give to the future applicants and students?

— It is very important to understand what you want from the very beginning, to learn to set the right goals, and draw up a competent plan to achieve them. You do not have to give up, because nothing can compare with the feeling of your own abilities and the realization that you can do much more than you think.