Fulbright brings scholar from Mongolia to RIT
March 2, 2009
by Patricia Beggs
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Odontuya Demid ’08 (human resource development) is a Fulbright scholar who came from Mongolia to perform her graduate studies at RIT because the focus of the program suited her and her homeland.
“My sponsor helped me narrow down the programs of interest,” Demid says. “I really like the concentration on human resource development at RIT because that is exactly what Mongolia needs with its rapid development of business.”
The prestigious Fulbright Scholarship program aims to increase understanding between the peoples of the U.S. and other countries through the exchange of people, knowledge and skills. This includes helping countries develop their strengths in an ever-changing business environment.
Demid was recently featured on Mongolian television in an interview about her experiences. She talked about living in the U.S. and her scholarship—the application and approval process. She also talked about her program at RIT, pointing out that other countries educate their engineers and managers at RIT.
Demid, her husband and their two children live in the Rochester suburb of Henrietta, N.Y., where her daughter is a junior at Rush-Henrietta High School.
“As a family, we went through culture shock together, which made it easier, but still quite an experience,” Demid says.
Demid recently began a position as the research and training coordinator at the Institute 4 Priority Thinking in Fairport, another Rochester suburb. The institute is a private consulting firm specializing in leadership and organizational development. They teach a method of organizing priorities to succeed professionally and personally.
Demid’s duties include coordinating the research for the firm’s forthcoming books and also helping to develop and deploy online and on-site programs to clients.
“I think the company is state-of-the-art in consulting and coaching and have brought it up to a whole new level,” Demid says. “I am really impressed by their business model, emphasis on ethics in business and their use of technology and assessment tools.
“I think it’s unique and advanced even by American standards,” she adds.
Her job with the firm is a one-year practical training position and Demid plans to head back to Mongolia when she is done. Her goal is to further human resource development in her home country.
Demid is knowledgeable about her country’s history—the infamous rule of Genghis Khan, the early development of a horse postal system and the strength of a united population to rule a huge empire (about 12 million contiguous square miles), despite being under one million in number. She hopes to see Mongolia grow strong again with a new focus on business.
“Mongolia is one of the former communist countries, going through a tough transition to a market economy and democracy, “ she says. “Rich natural resources like copper, gold, phosphate and uranium attract foreign investors, but what Mongolian politicians decide to do with them will determine my country's future.”
“We need more and more people educated in western business, finance, legislation and culture. Mongolia deserves not only a rich history, but also a prosperous future.”
Demid says the biggest differences between life in the states and in Mongolia are the change in measurement systems and the lack of crowding in Rochester versus her home city, Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Also, the availability of reading materials, the education and teaching method, the library system, and even the driving test—all were different, but really pleasant experiences, she says.
Despite the differences, Demid has enjoyed her time here while looking forward to her return home.
“I am really excited to bring my ideas about leadership and organizational development back to Mongolia,” she says. “I want to know that I have contributed to the growth and prosperity of my country.”