Ivana Carev, PhD – Visiting postdoc

Ivana Carev gained her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Zagreb, while doing her research at the University Paris Sud; CNRS France and University of Split, Croatia, where she currently serves as a postdoc/senior assistant at Faculty of Chemistry and Technology. She works in the field of natural product compounds research and their biological activity. Besides science she is very interested in educational projects connected with different forms of learning, service learning, development of student's soft skills; quality assurance of higher education, as part of her academic work. Her visit was part of World Chicago Tech Innovation, Education, and Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Chicago arrival

After 9 hours flight from Brussels to Chicago, Angela welcomed us at the airport. Thank you for that, it is really nice to have someone you know to welcome you when you are arriving in a new country. While waiting for other fellows to arrive, Angela gave us our health insurance cards, transportation cards, short plan for our arrival at World Chicago office where our homestay hosts will be waiting for us.

Meeting other fellows from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Macedonia at O'Hara airport was warm and emotional as we had opportunity to meet and get to know each other at "Doing business in data driven society" conference, organised as well by World Chicago, in Skopje, Macedonia, in September 2018, a month before our arrival. It was also opportunity to meet other fellows from previous generation of Professional Fellows.

Before I have started my trip to Chicago, some of my friends, who already had experience in US, warned me I will be surprised how everything is big comparing to my home. It is even funny to compare the size of a continent to a size of a 56,594 km2(21,851 sq mi) Croatia, but still in the manner of many every day things, even I was warned, it shocked me! The buildings, the roads, streets, cars, houses, it is really huge comparing to my home.

After 9 hours flight from Brussels to Chicago, Angela welcomed us at the airport. Thank you for that, it is really nice to have someone you know to welcome you when you are arriving in a new country. While waiting for other fellows to arrive, Angela gave us our health insurance cards, transportation cards, short plan for our arrival and kick-off meeting.

Meeting with other fellows from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Macedonia at O'Hara airport was warm and emotional as we had opportunity to meet and get to know each other at "Doing business in data driven society" conference, organised as well by World Chicago, in Skopje, Macedonia, in September 2018, a month before our arrival. It was also opportunity to meet other Alumni fellows from previous generation of Professional Fellows in both business and social events organised there. I really like meeting new people and networking with fellows, who are part of this program, are for sure one of my favourite aspects of this program.

Finally gathering together, we headed to the World Chicago office where our homestay hosts were waiting for us. My hosts, will be Susan and Marc. Marc arrived to pick me, Anja and Samira, fellows from Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and drove us to the Evanston, out hometown for the coming month.

Before I have started my trip to Chicago, some of my friends, who already had experience in US, warned me I will be surprised how everything is big comparing to my home. It is even funny to compare the size of a continent to a size of a 56,594 km2 (21,851 sq mi) Croatia, but still in the manner of many everyday things, even I was warned, it shocked me! The buildings, the roads, streets, cars, houses, it is really bigger than at my home. It caused me some dizzy feeling of just watching my new surroundings. After a week here, I can assure you it wasn't my jet lag, it was just feeling of accepting so many new things in a short period of time watching new contours of this beautiful town and its surroundings.

Kick off meeting

Friday morning, we started with kick off meeting in World Chicago, receiving all the details about program, instructions, advices on what we should and shouldn’t do, getting to know with other fellows.

There are 15 of us from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Macedonia, academics, entrepreneurs, free-lancers, consultants, CEOs, all of us having different professional backgrounds and goals for our visit being placed in different homestays and professional hosts.

The first impressions I had, reading fellows’ short bibliographies, were strongly positive. I was thrilled to be part of this program together with all these smart, talented people who have the same vision as I do, to work on ourselves, grow as professionals, so we can make our societies better places for living, while doing our jobs. I’ll introduce them personally in more details in future posts as they all deserve to be shown more to the world.

As in every group, after a very short period, there comes the one person who spontaneously sets up itself as a group leader. Of course, we have our star as well: Maja Jovičić. I would strongly recommend you to follow her blog as well. While I am writing my personal diary to leave the trace on this experience, she is actually blogging, in a very dynamic and precise way, I am sure you will enjoy.

What’s the first thing we did as a team? Went to the mobile operator to buy new SIM cards for our phones! The staff was thrilled seeing all of us,

Now that we have set up nowadays the most important way of connection – internet we could start our adventure.

Northwestern University Campus

My first week of the World Chicago Professional Fellowship program in Prof. Omar Farha groupI have spend with my kind host Dr. Timur Islamoglu and his colleagues.

Timur is a research associate in the Farha group at Northwestern University where he was a post-doctoral researcher previously (2016–2017). He is a chemist that works on the design and synthesis of MOFs as heterogeneous catalysts. He also puts efforts toward understanding the underlying MOF growth process. He received his B.S. in Chemistry (2008) and Mathematics (2009, double major) from Dumlupinar University and his M.Sc. (2013) and Ph.D. (2016) in Chemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University.


After the morning tea Timur showed me

By the first three days, I've visited amazingly equiped laboratories where the high level of science research happens, I was introduced to the whole group members, and group has 34 members, I had talks with 4 students workin in the MOFia group, with two of the PhD students I had lunch and they asigned me a meeting with the director of the Center for advanced learning and teaching, this is what I call more then a warm welcome! Thank you all for being so open and kind to me, esspecially Timur! I appreciate your good will and time you took for me, despite all the obligations and responsibilities you have!

My jet lag is killing me! When I am at home, my biorhythm works just perfectly and I even don’t use alarm as I am waking up in a regular time, which is now causing me troubles. I have heard I’ll need a day for each time zone we have passed, so in a week it should be fine. I’m so looking forward to that as I really need to work and be focused during the day.

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