Interviews

Nazarbayev University Political Science Review proudly presents its “Women in Academia” interview series dedicated to the celebration of women’s achievements in the scientific field on this special occasion – International Women’s Day!

Dr. Caress Schenk, an Assistant Professor of political science at Nazarbayev University:

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Please tell our readers about yourself – where are you from, your specialization, and how long have you been involved in science and academia? 

Before moving to Kazakhstan, I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, for 15 years, but I’m originally from Washington state in the West of the US. I am a comparativist, although my research draws on political science broadly as well as insights and research methods from sociology, anthropology, and geography. My specialty is Russian immigration politics, which touches on issues of public policy, bureaucracy, corruption, informal institutions, and national identity. I finished my PhD in 2010 and came to NU a year later. 

How did you become interested in your current field? What was the inspiration and motivation behind it?

I became interested in political science because I had some friends in the early 2000s who moved to the former Yugoslavia. At the time, I was planning to pursue a Master of Fine Arts so that I could be a documentary filmmaker. I went to Bosnia to visit my friends, and decided to make a short film about the experience. In the process, I did a lot of reading and research on the war in the 1990s, and became intrigued by the question of what causes people to act out the worst possible scenarios. In the end, I decided not to go to film school, but rather to pursue political science, and the rest is history!

Please tell us more about your professional journey: Do you remember the ups and downs of the process or during your graduate studies? Have you encountered any obstacles or prejudices on your way? Were there any other expectations of you?

Graduate studies was a constant up and down! The ups came when my work was recognized by professors or scholars outside my university, when I got accepted to conferences, and received grants for field research. The downs came with the monotony of intense work that is required of academia, the pressure that comes with looking for jobs and publishing articles, and the constant wondering how you stack up against your peers. I can’t say that I ever experienced prejudice, but certainly life always throws obstacles at you. Managing family alongside career creates a number of obstacles, but I try to look at those not as obstacles but choices that I’ve made. Luckily I have a very supportive husband who values my career, and a mom who is willing to meet me all over the world to take care of my kids while I go to conferences!

Was there a time when you had to balance/maneuver between family and work? How did you manage it?

Certainly this is always a balance. Every minute is a balance. Small children demand a lot of attention! But they’re only small for a short time, so when they’re teenagers and would prefer to ignore me… well, I’ll get a lot of work done then.

As of now, what are you working on? Why is this project important to you? What is the most appealing aspect of your daily job?

I am in the final death throes of my first book. In a few weeks, I’ll send it to the editor! It will hopefully come out sometime in 2017 if all goes smoothly. I love and hate this book. It represents a long journey and a lot of hard work. But the topic is interesting and I think it makes an important contribution to scholarship. I probably spend at least half of my time working on my research (especially in the final stages of the book). The other half is spent on students, teaching, university business, and other professional engagements. I love working with graduate students and upper-level undergrads who are grad-school bound. Being at NU is particularly rewarding, both because I know I’m working with students who will really make a difference in their country’s future, and because building an institution from the ground up is rewarding (and challenging!). 

How would you describe the state of the field that you are working in – what are its major challenges and prospects, how do you hope it will develop in the next 10-20+ years?

Some major challenges in political science right now have to do with how to manage research ethics alongside the ability replicate studies (i.e. transparency of data). This is a big controversy now because a number of major journals have signed the DART agreement requiring authors to provide readers access to data used. It is unclear whether this means qualitative researchers will have to provide field notes and interview transcripts as a result of these new requirements. I hope in the next 10-20 years, the field grows to embrace the benefits and limitations of both quantitative and qualitative research. 

What is your dream contribution to the field (your country or the world) that you hope to make in your lifetime?

I hope that I contribute to building a collegial field, where scholars are pursuing knowledge together in a productive way. I would like my career to be marked as one that is driven by a love of knowledge rather than the institutional benchmarks of academia. I also hope to instill these same values in my students.

Could you please share the names of the books and thinkers that impacted you the most?

In my work, I return over and over to Max Weber’s Economy and Society. However, it’s difficult to point to just one or a few key works or authors that have guided my approach since I rely on a broad and interdisciplinary approach.

What would you advise or say to the women who are just embarking on their journey in academia/research? How can they succeed and what should they avoid?

Stick with it. You can only be constrained by the things that you decide will constrain you. Make your own way, and don’t let anyone else define success for you.

Dr. Barbara Junisbai, Assistant Professor of political science and International Relations at Nazarbayev University: 

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Please tell our readers about yourself – where are you from, your specialization, how long have you been involved in science/academia and how? 

I am originally from a small town near Memphis, Tennessee, but during my childhood we moved around a lot.  I consider it my good fortune and my mother’s unexpected foresight that we ended up in Southern California, where my the seeds of my academic and personal interests in multiculturalism, inequality, and democracy were planted.  Mine is an immigrant family (my mother is from China), and though we moved every couple of years, the neighborhoods where we lived were similar: urban, poor, predominantly minority and multilingual.  Looking back, I see that this background was what made me interested in political science–how policies affect who gets what, when, how, and how much.  I was also very curious about my friends’ families’ countries of origin–Mexico, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia–and my own Chinese heritage, and so in college I took history, political science, anthropology, religion, economics, and geography classes to learn as much as I could about the world.

Many years later, I met my future husband (from Kazakhstan), moved to Almaty, and got a job working for the US State Department’s Central Asia regional mission.   That experience changed my life trajectory.  While working for the US Embassy/Agency for International Development, I received an inside look at foreign aid programs, including those in democracy promotion and economic reform, and decided that I was interested in political economy and democratization.  I decided to go back to the US to get a PhD in political science.  At Indiana University Bloomington, I focused on comparative politics and American politics, completing my degree in December 2010.  I loved my program, especially the well-rounded, successful and inspirational women who taught and mentored me.

Please tell us more about your professional journey: Do you remember the ups and downs of the process or during your graduate studies? Have you encountered any obstacles or prejudices on your way? Were there any other expectations of you (within your family or purely cultural)? Was there a time when you had to balance/maneuver between family and work? How did you manage it?

The first year of graduate school was very, very hard for me.  I didn’t think I would be able to finish the program.  I had taken some time off from school and worked, so it was hard to readjust to academia.  I also had a small baby, three months old, and a toddler, three years old.  I was the only person in my graduate program with a family and the responsibilities that go a long with it.  I remember one day I was in the office talking to our kind department secretary.  I was so tired and when I saw her understanding expression, I started to cry.  Then the director of graduate studies, Professor Yvette Alex-Assensoh, came in.  She missed her meeting to sit with me and give me advice.  I told her that I was going to quit and come back when my children were older.  And she gave me the best advice I could have received.  She said, “Barbara, there will never be a time when your children don’t need you.  When they are in school, you’ll have even less time than you have now.  You’ll be helping them with their homework, taking them to activities, helping out in the classroom.  You are a bright student, and we believe in your (or we wouldn’t have admitted you!).  You can do this.  You might have to work harder, sleep less, organize your time better–but you can do it.  If you really want it, you can do it.”  I will never forget those words.  And six years later, I graduated with honors and a number of external grants and awards under my belt.  It was not easy, but those ended up among the best years of my life.  I learned so much and got to spend a lot of time with my children–far more than if I had to work 40 hours a week.

In terms of prejudices I have faced, I would say that there are certain norms and expectations that have been challenging for me culturally and normatively.  Political science is a male-dominated field, which rewards (in my opinion) some stereotypical male behaviors that do not come naturally to me.  For example, once at a job interview I was told that I needed to be more assertive and that my strength was that students were fond of me.  These were clearly gendered descriptors based on gendered expectations.  I have over the years worked hard to develop my own style of teaching and communicating, one that builds on my natural inclinations as a first-generation Chinese-American woman, as well as on my own distinct personality and interpersonal style. My goal is to promote the kinds of values that matter most to be as a scholar and teacher, and to do so in a way that feels comfortable and honest to who I am as a woman with a complex and challenging personal history who has been incredibly lucky along the way.

As of now, what are you working on? Why is this project important to you? What is the most appealing aspect of your daily job?

Currently, I am working on my book manuscript about business opposition in post-Soviet Eurasia.  This will be my first book, and so it is incredibly important to me.  I love writing and thinking through my arguments and how to write them in the clearest and most accessible way I can.  I try to practice the skills that I ask of my students–speaking and writing for a broad generalist audience is one of the things I value most, and if there is only one thing I leave them with, I hope that is it!

The most appealing part of my daily job is the intellectual freedom and engagement that it offers me.  Professors study what they are interested in and passionate about; we teach courses that build on our intellectual passions and thereby inspire and help students develop their own potential.  For me, it is really about the circulation of intellectual energy and knowledge.  Most days, I come home tired, but happy.  I get to be as creative in my scholarship and teaching as I can muster.  And that is not something many jobs afford.

Dr. Nargis Kassenova, Associate Professor, Department of International Relations and Regional Studies, Director of Central Asian Studies Center, KIMEP University:

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Please tell our readers about yourself – where are you from, your specialization, how long have you been involved in science/academia and how?

I was born and raised in Almaty. I was very lucky to have my formative period in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the country (first USSR, then newly independent Kazakhstan) was opening up both internally and to the outside world, when there was an amazing flow of information and ideas and a lot of enthusiasm. Opportunities seemed limitless and I had interests in various fields (from physics and math to history), so the choice was difficult and I had a windy path to what I am doing now – studying international relations/world politics.

How did you become interested in your current field? What was the inspiration and motivation behind it?

My biggest inspiration was my father who was an international relations scholar bordering on practitioner. He was the first director of the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies. I remember amazing dinner conversations that he had with our guests, prominent scholars and also policy makers. I couldn’t understand much but I could get the feeling of complexity, nuanced character and sometimes tragic or comic features of policy making. Initially as a normal teenager I wanted to do something different from what my parents were doing, however with time I was more and more drawn to studying politics.

Please tell us more about your professional journey: Do you remember the ups and downs of the process or during your graduate studies? Have you encountered any obstacles or prejudices on your way? Were there any other expectations of you (within your family or purely cultural)?

My graduate life was quite happy. I was very fortunate to receive a full scholarship from the Japanese Ministry of Education and Science and could pursue my degrees in comfort without any hurdles. I was also lucky with my academic advisors – Prof. Hisae Nakanishi and Prof. Yasutomo Morigiwa, who were incredibly supportive and generous. Morigiwa-sensei, as a professor of law, taught me to be very precise and ready to support with proof or argument every paragraph of my writing. It could take us a couple of hours to go through a page of my thesis sometimes. I try to pass that lesson to my students to the extent I can.

Was there a time when you had to balance/maneuver between family and work?

Of course, all the time. My children are small (six and three years old), so they need a lot of attention and care. It can be tough, but it also makes my life full and exciting. Without my supportive husband and my Mum who helps us a lot, I wouldn’t be able to keep this balance though.

As of now, what are you working on? Why is this project important to you? What is the most appealing aspect of your daily job?

My current research themes are EU-Central Asia relations, review of the EU strategy in the region, and Kazakhstan’s foreign policy with the emphasis on status-seeking. I am beginning a new project on religion and security in the post-Soviet space. There are some other project ideas in the pipe, but it is too early to say anything publicly. The most appealing aspect of my job is that I like doing it.

How would you describe the state of the field that you are working in – what are its major challenges and prospects, how do you hope it will develop in the next 10-20+ years?

My biggest problem with the field of political sciences is the dominance of quantitative methods that often create the illusion of solid scientific research. I also think there is a good amount of research that is largely irrelevant and scholastic, encouraged by the bureaucratised system of academic promotion.

What is your dream contribution to the field (your country or the world) that you hope to make in your lifetime?

Not ready to make my dreams public 🙂

Could you please share the names of the books and thinkers that impacted you the most?

That would be a very long list… Plato’s “Republic”, Niccolo Machiavelli’s “Discourses”, John Mill’s “On Liberty”, Carl Schmitt’s “Political Theology”, H.E. Carr’s “The Twenty Years Crisis”, Hedley Bull’s “The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics”, Benedict Anderson’s “Imagined Communities”, Michael Mann’s writings on state power… I’ve just finished a great book by Ian Buruma titled “Taming the Gods” that I would highly recommend to those who are interested in the politics of religious revival in the world…

What would you advise or say to the women who are just embarking on their journey in academia/research? How can they succeed and what should they avoid?

The biggest challenge to women in academia is the family/work balance. It’s very important to have a partner who believes in you and ready to share the burden together with the joys of family life. Be ambitious and enjoy the ride!

Dr. Aigerim Shilibekova, Founding Director of the Center for International and Regional Studies, Associate Professor of the Regional Studies Department, Faculty of International Relations, Eurasian National University:

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Please tell our readers about yourself – where are you from, your specialization, how long have you been involved in science/academia and how?

All my life, in one way or another, I have been involved in an academic community. I grew up as the eldest child in a large family of five, whose parents were lifelong educators. My late father was a professor of Civil Engineering at Taraz State University for almost 30 years; my mom was a Lecturer of History at the medical college. Looking back, I believe that my parents were the most influential people in defining my choice to become an academic. The fact that they did not quit their jobs and stayed committed to their profession even during the hardest period – in the early 1990’s, had always inspired me.

For about a  decade now, I have been working at Eurasian National University. I started as an Assistant at the Department of the International Relations rising to the position of Associate Professor at the Regional Studies Department. During this decade, I was lucky to get substantial experience from diverse aspects of academic life. I was a PhD student in Political Science, when in 2009, my research activity helped me to secure a grant from an international development fund to establish the Center for International and Regional Studies at ENU. This fostered me to learn about management of research (developing projects, grant proposals, fundraising, event organization, etc.). After graduation I continued teaching and conducting research projects, but I was also lucky to gain practical experience in higher education management and administration. There were various positions in the ENU’s administration such as the Head of Graduate Studies, Director of the Department of Postgraduate Education and Director of the International Cooperation Department for several years before I left for Harvard University as a visiting scholar in 2013. In fact, Harvard experience has become an important milestone on my professional development path.

How did you become interested in your current field? What was the inspiration and motivation behind it?

I have two sources of inspiration and motivation for all work and projects in my life. The first source is my children. As any parent I want them to grow and live in a secure and prosperous country. This is why I became interested in studying the security-development nexus. The second source is meeting outstanding people who trigger my interest in various aspects of international security and development. Among them are such prominent scholars as Joseph Nye, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Fred Starr, Derek Bok, Nazli Choucri and many others whom I met thanks to my academic profession. No other professional sphere would be so much rewarding as the academia. Indeed, it provides unlimited opportunities to grow and excel through various scholarships, fellowships, conferences and collaborative research projects.

Please tell us more about your professional journey: Do you remember the ups and downs of the process or during your graduate studies? Have you encountered any obstacles or prejudices on your way?

For my graduate studies I moved to Turkey and have never regretted it. Istanbul was, and still remains, the most fascinating city to live in, though it was sometimes challenging to be a foreigner and a female student in the big city. However I am very grateful to my professors, mainly women, who supported and encouraged me throughout my studies. As for the most important benefit, the major takeaway from my graduate studies was mastering the key research methods and skills.

Was there a time when you had to balance/maneuver between family and work?

Each time when I had to travel abroad to attend conferences, to research projects or be part of an official delegation, I was feeling myself a bit guilty for leaving my kids and family. At some point I realized it was self-destructive. Now I just try to be in a harmony and dialogue with them in terms of our mutual expectations. I am grateful to have my family, and most my mother-in-law, who has always understood and supported me in everything that I do. They know it makes me feel more confident and accomplished. Another strategy that makes life easier – is trying to avoid people in your environment who feel they must express their concerns about your kids, and the way you raise them by being a working mom.

As of now, what are you working on? Why is this project important to you? What is the most appealing aspect of your daily job?

Recently I have completed my book on Design and Methods of Research in Political Science that is based on Stratagem, a project I started to plan while being at Harvard, and that I launched after returning to Kazakhstan. Stratagem is an innovative training format for educating 21st Century researchers that helps maximizing researchers’ potential by improving their soft skills. My aim is to train students and young scholars who want to enhance their research skills.

Initially, Stratagem was launched in February 2015 as a pilot project to test the format on early career researchers (students) at Eurasian National University. In this regard I am grateful to ENU administration for their support. The results were exciting. Last December Stratagem was showcased as a shortlisted project out of 500 international projects and got a special prize at the final conference of the Reimagine Education Awards or the so-called Oscars in Higher Education Innovation, organized by QS (better known in Kazakhstan as an international ranking agency) and the Wharton Business School in Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, the geography and disciplinary scope of Stratagem’s skill-shops is also expanding. I conducted them in Shanghai for 38 young academics from 10 different countries, and as recently as this past February, I delivered one skill-shop session on innovative thinking for 25 students from the Law Department at ENU in the framework of the International Law Workshop. I already got several invitations from universities in India, Mexico and Vietnam to present my Stratagem approach. At the moment we are working on various ways to commercialize the project.

What is your dream contribution to the field (your country or the world) that you hope to make in your lifetime?

I hope to turn Stratagem into an educational program for everyone, who wants a lifelong opportunity to look through the window of research to the world and their own future. Through Stratagem, I hope to contribute to the development of many skills of academic and business researchers, and broaden the appeal of research to a wider audience at different levels. At the individual level, it already encourages participants to think strategically and optimize their activities so they continuously diversify their chosen portfolio, and continue to be learners and researchers throughout their careers. At the institutional level, it may help developing and sustaining a “pipeline” of university graduates – who are strategic thinkers and progressive researchers for the academic community, business, industry, government and society. At the national level, I hope that Stratagem will become a model that seamlessly will integrate research into mainstream education in our country.

Could you please share the names of the books and thinkers that impacted you the most?

Oh, there are many, indeed. But as the most influential books I would mention Abai’s “Book of Words”, Ataturk’s “The Great Speech – Nutuk”, Edward Said’s “Orientalism”, Barry Buzan’s “People, States and Fear” and Amartya Sen’s “Development as Freedom”. As for personalities, I want to mention and thank my Master’s thesis supervisor Professor Gulay Gunluk Senesen at Istanbul University, my doctoral supervisor at ENU – Professor Zhuldyz Tulibayeva and Professor Piotr Dutkiewicz at Carleton University. I feel blessed by their mentorship that helped me manage my priorities, and find ways throughout the most difficult stages in my professional career.

What would you advise or say to the women who are just embarking on their journey in academia/research? How can they succeed and what should they avoid?

There is a lot to share, but my most important advice will be – “Be strategic and find a mentor! ASAP.” Mentor is a professional in your field, who is ready to nurture and encourage you, and share his/her experience when it is needed. Unfortunately the institute of mentorship is not widespread in our society, nowadays. Though I think that traditionally there was a practice of mentoring in our culture. As the most vivid example I recall from history is Abylay-khan’s prominent mentor Tole-Bi, who played an important role in the former’s success.

I am confident that finding a good mentor, who will become a wise and trusted counselor, is a shortcut to success for young professionals. I myself have an honor to be a mentor for a couple of bright students and sincerely do hope that I am being helpful to them. By sharing knowledge with younger generations I fulfill my duty as a good citizen and contribute to the development of my country.

Dr. Aida Abzhaparova, Programme Leader of Politics and International Relation, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the Department of Health and Social Sciences, University of West of England, Bristol:

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Please tell our readers about yourself – where are you from, your specialization, how long have you been involved in science/academia and how?

I am Dr Aida Abzhaparova. I am an educator, an academic, a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, and a granddaughter. I was born in a small village called Kounrad, in the Karaganda region, Kazakhstan. My early childhood was spent in Kazakhstan. At the age of 16 years old I embarked on my educational journey in the United Kingdom. I have completed BA (Hons) in International Studies at the University of the West of England, Bristol, MSc in Research Methods (International Relations) and PhD in Political Science at the University of Bristol. After successfully defending my PhD thesis, I joined the Department of Health and Social Sciences, University of West of England. I am a Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Joint Programme Head of Politics and International Relations.

I have broad research interests in International Relations Theory and Critical Security Studies. I primarily focus on excluded or marginalized voices in the international arena. Through my research I aim to grant agency to marginal actors and open up a space of study that is necessary to fully understand conflict, instability and insecurity in the international system. These interests inform my teaching, as I support a philosophy of research-informed and practice-led teaching. I also have a strong interest in pedagogy. I pursue pedagogical research by focusing on innovative methods of teaching/learning and maximization of students’ engagement/experience.

How did you become interested in your current field? What was the inspiration and motivation behind it?

I developed my interests in politics due to the turbulent years of the early 1990’s. From early childhood I have grown acutely interested in various aspects of political and social life in Kazakhstan. My interest in politics has deepened while studying in the UK, as I constantly compared my political experiences in both the UK and Kazakhstan. During my learning journey I have developed an interest in foreign and security policy in general, and security policy of Kazakhstan in particular. My PhD thesis centered on security relations between Kazakhstan and Russia. I specifically focused on Kazakhstan as I wanted to grant agency and voice to a country that has been constructing itself as an independent sovereign state.

Please tell us more about your professional journey: Do you remember the ups and downs of the process or during your graduate studies? Have you encountered any obstacles or prejudices on your way? Were there any other expectations of you?

Of course, during my education and professional journey I have faced many difficulties. Yet, I have always seen opportunities for development every time I have come across tricky or difficult situations. The most difficult part of my professional journey so far has been learning how to celebrate my own achievements. This has been accomplished through accepting myself for who I am and becoming comfortable to be within my own ‘skin’. Being a perfectionist and having high standards have been both a curse and a blessing. I have learnt how to amalgamate these aspects of my own character and channel them into constructing my professional career.  

Was there a time when you had to balance/maneuver between family and work?

I have a young family. I would like to think that I am a dedicated and loving mother and wife. However, there are always questions on how we, women, balance family and work. Women are always encouraged to find and strike a balance between family and work. However, my view is perhaps somewhat different. That is because see I my work as an inherent part of my identity, of what makes me – ‘me’. Both my profession and my family are inherently interlinked and constitute who I am, my passions, my curiosities, my family and my research.

As of now, what are you working on? Why is this project important to you? What is the most appealing aspect of your daily job?

I am currently developing a research profile with a strong inter-disciplinary focus on Health and Security. I am conducting a study where I examine national campaigns aiming to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) from the perspectives of affected communities in Bristol. One of the reasons for conducting such research is to evidence effects of national campaign interventions to prevent and stop FGM. Another and related reason is to offer a voice to communities that are being targeted by campaigners. Considering the complexity surrounding FGM, I firmly believe that as it is utterly important to eradicate this practice, and it is equally important to do so without alienating and causing insecurity in affected communities. Therefore, I hope that my study will make an important contribution in furthering to bridge and empower national campaigners, affected communities and academics not only in Britain but also worldwide.

Research is an essential part of my profession. Yet, I am also an educator. My students and their academic and professional development are at the center of what I do on a daily basis. The most appealing aspect of my work is making a difference and inspiring my students as next the generation of leaders. The best and the most rewarding part of my job is seeing my students engaging in their learning by questioning, exploring, growing and developing. 

How would you describe the state of the field that you are working in – what are its major challenges and prospects, how do you hope it will develop in the next 10-20+ years?

The academic fields of Security Studies and International Relations are vast and dynamic. Though my research focuses on health and security, I hope to contribute valuable knowledge about the close inter-relationship between the health and security of individuals and communities.

What is your dream contribution to the field (your country or the world) that you hope to make in your lifetime?

I hope to inspire a generation of young professionals and I hope to see more women in leadership positions in Kazakhstan.

Could you please share the names of the books and thinkers that impacted you the most?

There are many books and thinkers which made an impact on me. But the most inspirational thinkers would be my colleagues. I have built friendships and trusted relationships with academics I look up to, my role models. I was lucky to learn from a number of such academics, my former lecturers and now my colleagues Dr William Hill and Dr Lisa Harrison. I also draw my inspiration from a good friend, a colleague, a mentor, an exceptional academic Dr Laura Shepherd. I am inspired on a daily basis by Dr Billie Oliver, by her inner strength, her kindness and her professionalism.      

What would you advise or say to the women who are just embarking on their journey in academia/research? How can they succeed and what should they avoid?

Discipline, dedication and determination are three very important character traits necessary for a successful and rewarding academic career. To all young women I would advise to get out of your comfort zone, explore, travel, build networks across cultures and languages and most importantly never stop learning. Learning is life, just as life is learning. To achieve excellence is to engage in continuous learning, to adapt to the changing nature of our times, and to continuously reinvent oneself. Be brave to embrace change, be brave to explore the unknown, be brave to reinvent and be brave to question the status quo.

Ракишева Ботагоз Ислямовна – кандидат социологических наук, директор Исследовательского института “Общественное мнение”:

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Расскажите, пожалуйста, о себе. Откуда вы, какая у вас специализация, как долго вы находитесь в науке/исследовательской сфере?

Я закончила исторический факультет Акмолинского университета им.С.Сейфуллина, на базе которого был создан Евразийский национальный университет им.Л.Н.Гумилева. Очную аспирантуру закончила по философии в ЕНУ им.Л.Н.Гумилева, а кандидатскую защитила по социологии в КАЗНУ им.аль-Фараби. С 1997 по 2013 год работала в  Институте сравнительных социальных исследований «ЦЕССИ-Казахстан». В 2013 году открыла Исследовательской  институт  «Общественное мнение», являюсь учредителем и директором данного Института. Получается 19 лет я работаю в области социологии.

Каким образом вы стали экспертом в социологии? Что подтолкнуло Вас заняться данной сферой?

Волею случая я попала в социологическую отрасль. Стало интересно. За эти 19 лет много было проведено различных проектов, на основе результатов которых принимаются решения. Наш Институт  специализируется в проведении социологических и маркетинговых исследований, темы которых различны. Это изучение общественно-политической и языковой ситуации, межэтнических и межконфессиональных отношений. Несколько лет проводим мониторинговые опросы  среди репатриантов (оралман) и трудовых мигрантов.

Разработали методологию социологического мониторингового исследования в приграничной зоне, проводим опросы в населенных пунктах вдоль границ.

Моя научная тема, которой я уже занимаюсь около 10- ти  лет – изучение казахов, живущих за рубежом. Проводила  опросы в Китае, Турции, странах Западной Европы, Саудовской Аравии, СНГ, США и т.д. В начале  это был заказ от Комитета по развитию языков Министерства культуры и спорта Республики Казахстан, которому я безмерно благодарна, позже проект стал моей научной работой и любимым проектом. Несколько лет назад с коллегами из Комитета разработали новый формат исследований- социологические экспедиции  – которые провели в Монголии, Китае, Узбекистане и России.

Для социолога важно быть в поле- то есть самому проводить опросы, собирать информацию. Полевые работы проводимые за рубежом – особо интересны, хотя и сложны. Всегда вспоминаю незабываемую поездку в Саудовскую Аравию, в составе правительственной делегации от Ассамблеи народа Казахстана, которая решала проблемы казахской диаспоры. Я проводила опрос  среди казахов, живущих в этой стране.

Еще одна интересная поездка в г. Алтай Синьцзян- Уйгурского автономного района Китая. Мы ездили по отдаленным казахским аулам, проводили интервью, снимали на видео и фотографировали респондентов, их быт. Незабываемо было посещение школы, мы попали на урок музыки и 4-5 летние дети –казахи, спели для нас Jingle Bells  на китайском и казахском языках.

Был ли в вашей жизни период, когда вам приходилось находить баланс между работой и семьей? Как вы справлялись с подобной ситуацией?

Баланс нужен всегда. Конечно, бывает сложно, но в приоритете все же семья. Институт – это тоже часть большой нашей семьи. Мы вместе работаем и отдыхаем, дети наши общаются между собой. Вместе отмечаем и радостные и печальные события. Я рада, что магистранты, докторанты и аспиранты, которым я преподавала, не теряют связи, мы общаемся, встречаемся, консультируемся друг у друга.

Над каким проектом вы работаете в данный момент? Почему он важен для вас? Что вам большего всего нравится в вашей работе?

В Институте идут параллельно несколько проектов. Разные темы, разные методики, разные обьекты исследования.  Это не дает нам скучать и работа не становится рутиной. Наверное, это больше всего мне нравится в работе.

Готовимся к проведению Exit poll 20 марта,  социологи Института проходят  он-лайн обучение на курсе  Human Subjects Research (HSR), где обучаются международным стандартам проведения социологических опросов, недавно  наши коллеги вернулись с  Будапешта, проходили обучение на  международном социологическом семинаре.

Как бы вы охарактеризовали область, в которой вы специализируетесь? Какие основные проблемы и перспективы вы бы определили в ней? Каков ваш взгляд на развитие социологии в Казахстане в ближайшие 10-20 лет?

Хотелось бы развивать новые направления, новые проекты. Например, мало изучаются  репатрианты (оралманы), проблемы их адаптации и интеграции. Еще одна неизученная область –  жизнь села, процессы урбанизации. Вопросам стратификации общества также мало уделяется внимания, в том числе и  проблемам формирования среднего класса.

Благодаря нашим партнерам изучаем актуальные современные проблемы казахстанского общества. В этом направлении хотелось бы  поблагодарить профессора Карес Шенк из  Школы  гуманитарных и социальных наук Назарбаев Университета, за актуализацию такой темы как положение трудовых мигрантов в Казахстане. Мы совместно провели опрос трудовых мигрантов, презентовав результаты на научном семинаре.

Перспективы я связываю с молодежью, новым поколением исследователей. Сегодня в  Институте работает плеяда молодых ученых-социологов, исследователей, все они магистры социологии, политологии, международных отношений – Айнур Мажитова, Динара Нурушева, Евгения Руднева, Гульден Ашкенова, Анастасия Шандрыга, Гульден Емишева, Дамиля Жанбурчинова, Дамира Ахатова, Жазира Искендирова.  Каждая из них имеет свою специализацию, развивает свое направление.

Поделитесь, пожалуйста, названиями книг и именами мыслителей (и/или экспертов), которые в значительной степени повлияли на вас?

Все чаще и чаще в последнее время обращаюсь к  вопросам этничности, конструирования и формирования идентичности. В этой области одна из  любимых  книга  Питера  Бергера и  Сэмюэля  Хантингтона «Многоликая глобализация: Культурное разнообразие в современном мире». В книге результаты исследования глобализации культуры в десяти странах. Книга вышла в 2004 году, но актуальна и сегодня. И с точки зрения результатов исследования и методологии.

Что бы вы посоветовали молодым девушкам, которые только совершают свои первые шаги на своем профессиональном пути? Как достичь успеха и чего стоит избегать?

Не стоит бояться, нужно пробовать, искать. Дорога начинается с первого  шага. Не бойтесь сделать этот первый шаг! Все получится! Тем более нас поддерживает ООН! В этом году для полного и равного доступа  женщин к науке Генеральная Ассамблея  ООН приняла резолюцию, провозглашающую 11 февраля Международным днем женщин и девочек в науке.

Благодарю авторов данного проекта за возможность высказать свои мысли, идеи на вашем портале. Желаю вам дальнейших успехов!

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