Graduating with Impact

PROVO, Utah – Mar 11, 2020 – Changing newborn diapers while completing the master of information systems program is not easy for BYU Marriott international student Tomiris Mollinet, but she is taking these challenges in stride.

Mollinet, who was born in Samarkand, Uzbekistan but raised in Moscow, never imagined the twists and turns ahead of her. Although she was a member of the Church, Mollinet had never heard of BYU until a good friend mentioned the university to her while she was thinking of colleges to apply to. “I never thought BYU was the school for me simply because I hardly knew anything about the school and thought I would study in Russia,” says Mollinet.

Mollinet applied to the English Language Center (ELC) located on BYU campus and studied English for a year before transferring to BYU in 2012. She grew up Muslim, but joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2009. “Islam and the church have similar moral values,” says Mollinet. “The biggest change was that Muslims don't believe in Christ the way Latter-day Saints do, but I appreciate that the values I grew up with are still a part of my value system now.”

One of Mollinet’s values is her desire to give back using the education she receives at BYU Marriott. “I decided to go the business route because I felt the business world would drive me into a career path where I could work for a nonprofit or do something impactful in life,” says Mollinet.

While figuring out what she wanted to study, Mollinet took the intro to information systems class. "I loved it so much that I convinced my husband, Kyle, to also take it,” says Mollinet. “Now he is a MISM student as well.” She met her husband while they were both serving missions for the church in L’viv, Ukraine; the couple later married after reconnecting in a marketing class at BYU Marriott.

In addition to both being MISM students, the Mollinets also recently welcomed their first child, Giselle, in December 2019. “Professors have been helpful and understanding,” says Mollinet. “BYU is one of the best schools to have a family at because everyone supports you and want to help you, whether in your career or your personal journey.”

One of Mollinet’s greatest supports has come from BYU Marriott faculty, including adjunct professor Anne Woolstenhulme. “Recovery from childbirth was rough, and I had to take an exam that had to be proctored. Without thinking twice, Anne drove to our house and proctored the exam,” says Mollinet. “I was amazed she was willing to do that.”

After Tomiris and Kyle graduate in April 2020, they are moving to Seattle where Tomiris will be working as a program manager at Microsoft, and Kyle will be a software test engineer at Qualtrics.

While she never imagined the twists and turns life brought her, Mollinet has no doubts that she made the right decision coming to Provo. “Now that I am at BYU, I know this is where I was always supposed to be,” she says.

Tomiris and her family.
Tomiris and her family. Photo Courtesy of Tomiris Mollinet.

Media Contact: Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kate Monroe