Alice Kissilenko

Class Year: 

2013
Hometown: White Plains, New York, USA

School: 

Horace Mann

Language: 

Spanish

Student Background

While for most people “globalization” describes a field of study, for Alice it is a way of life. Born in New York, she attended a French School, spoke Bulgarian to her grandparents, studied Spanish and Russian for years and traveled with friends and relatives strewn around the world. Her participation in Model UN in high school introduced her to international affairs and convinced her that having an extra dimension to her studies was the challenge she needed. When applying to colleges, she was immediately drawn to the Huntsman Program because of its interdisciplinary approach and tight-knit community. Of course, the dual-degree helped as well. After visiting campus, she knew it was a perfect fit. The personalized advising attention that a 45-person program offers, along with the bonds formed by living on the same hall freshman year, were exactly what she needed to transition from high school to college.

The Huntsman Experience

Even though she knew the Huntsman Program was a good fit, it took her three years to decide what she wanted to do. She didn’t see herself in finance or math, so at first she wasn’t sure what her place in Wharton was. As soon as she took an Operations and Information Management (OPIM) course though, she was smitten. She never thought that business could be so psychological. Finding her academic niche was exciting and comforting, and made her even more grateful to be in the Huntsman Program. In addition to an OPIM concentration, she is pursuing a Spanish major and a psychology minor.

Study Abroad in Cuba

Alice spent the fall of her junior year at the University of Havana in Cuba where she had the opportunity to think critically about capitalism and compare a communist state to one in which her own parents grew up in Bulgaria. Although she struggled at first to assimilate into a society very different from what she was used to, she returned home a much more patient and wise person. Her favorite part of Cuba (other than the beautiful architecture and beaches) was actually the classes. She took Philosophy and Cinema courses with interactive and nationally-renown teachers, who were as eager to hear about the US as she was to learn about Cuba.