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Computer science student earns prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship

As a youngster Anastasiia Melnikova delighted in her first train ride when she sipped tea while trekking south to the Black Sea in her native Russia.

A career in transportation is a natural fit for the Tidewater Community College student studying computer science.

Her future is certainly moving in the right direction. She recently received a Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Transportation, one of just a few community college students afforded the honor.

This program advances the transportation workforce by helping to attract the nation’s brightest minds to the field of transportation, encouraging future transportation professionals to seek advanced degrees, and helping to retain top talent in the U.S. transportation industry.

Melnikova spent a weekend last month in Washington attending a research showcase highlighting innovations in transportation. One that stood out: riding on a fully self-driven mini bus.

Anastasiia Melnikova and Alesia Wroten
Anastasiia Melnikova with CMVE staffer Alesia Wroten

“It also caused a bit of anxiety, as I had to fully entrust my safety and well-being on a machine that operates on its own,” Melnikova said. “One company had a virtual reality set-up. I put on the glasses and it simulated me walking in the factory with incredibly advanced robots.”

Melnikova grew up wanting to study abroad and visited Virginia Beach as a high school exchange student. That heightened her interest in starting at TCC.

“TCC was a great option for me because it’s more affordable than a four-year school, and I also like the small class setting,” she said. “It’s helped me get a lot more out of the education I’m getting.”

She will graduate from TCC in May with an Associate of Science in Science with a Specialization in Computer Science and plans to make a career exploring how software engineering can be developed to make mass transportation safer, more economical and efficient. She’s currently researching advanced anti-lock braking systems for trains.