University Team

Maria Didkovskaia Russian

Maria Didkovskaia


My childhood dream was to become a doctor, so I still love helping people and carry a couple bandaids in my purse. 

Having graduated from a high school in Washington, where I studied thanks to a grant from the US Government, I enrolled into a public relations program at St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University (LETI). While being a full-time, state-sponsored student, I also worked at the American Medical Center and later at Children’s Euromed Clinic. There, I developed new projects and managed the launch of new services, as well as the opening of new offices.

The next big step was co-launching the vending company Vending Pro that in less than five years grew to be a major player in the vending market in St. Petersburg. 

I enjoyed working in tourism as a program director for Grand Circle Cruise Line, a US-based tour operator, where I organized activities and entertainment programs for American tourists enjoying Russia’s Golden Ring.

In 2014, I joined ITMO University’s team of highly motivated professionals driven by a common vision to establish the university as a global player that consistently ranks in the top 100 of the world’s best schools. My initial position as the head of the Internationalization Department soon expanded to include the role of the Head of the Foreign Language Training Center.

My baby daughter Mira already is a proud owner of several T-shirts with ITMO University logos. When she starts speaking English, I’m sure one of her first words will be “IT’s MOre Than a University.”

Upd 2020:

Now, I have two daughters with ITMO merch: Mira and Kira enjoy and regularly take part in events organized by the university.

As of now, I am in charge of the following areas of work at ITMO University:

  • ITMO Fellowship, a short- and long-term collaboration program for international scientists that annually brings 70+ top-notch specialists and lecturers from all over the world to our university; 
  • The Center of International Faculty Support, which deals with hundreds of invitations, visas, contracts, and other documents that foreigners require to get employed at the university;
  • The Foreign Language Training Center with 120+ best, brilliant  teachers of English, including 14 native speakers, and Russian as a foreign language. The center’s staff teaches Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD students, as well as conducts classes for lecturers, researchers, and university administration staff;
  • The Academic Writing Lab that offers free consultations for all ITMO students and employees who wish to learn to write scientific papers, apply for grants, and develop teaching manuals in English;
  • The Internationalization Department where we create content for the university’s official portal and English social media, as well as design brochures, posters, and leaflets in English, translate documents, and lovingly share ITMO news with the university’s international community around the globe;
  • And, last but not least, the university-wide module Soft Skills, which was introduced in 2017 and has since grown to include a number of courses for Bachelor’s and Master’s students. Within the courses, experts from leading local and international companies educate students on key aspects of professional life, such as emotional intelligence, leadership, teambuilding, communication, personal effectiveness, conflict management, and more. The module’s teachers are adepts of the communication teaching methods (flipped classrooms, interactive presentations, etc.), which allows them to make classes efficient and exciting for students;

I never like to say that “I currently manage X number of employees” because all the people I’m lucky to work with are my colleagues and dear friends and concurrently world-class professionals. The team of the Internationalization Department comprises more than 200 people (as of 2020), who make me happy every day.


Map Building plans

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