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Vladimir Petrosyan is more a force of nature than your prototypical college student. Having emigrated with his family from Ukraine nearly six years ago, this personable young man speaks English fluently, is a stalwart of the Hon¬ors Program and has excelled in the College of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Management Information Systems.

The 21-year-old was among nine students selected to make investment decisions and monitor and report on the performance of the quarter-million-dollar allocation of University Enterprises Inc.'s investment portfolio. The Student Investment Fund is a collaboration between Sac State's College of Business Administration and UEI to provide students with direct experience in the world of Wall Street. He also represented the University in the Global Investment Research Competition and the International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition.

Vladimir's 3.913 grade-point average has placed him on the dean's each year. His scholastic achievements are all the more impressive in light of his schedule. He has carried 18 course hours for all but two semesters, worked part time -- most recently as a programmer for Advanced Business Integrators Inc., a local company that provides software to stadiums nationwide -- and tutored K-12 students for seven semesters.

Factor in that he didn't speak English when entering Rancho Cordova High School as a junior in 2005 and then graduated with honors the following year and you begin to appreciate his drive and determination. Both characteristics come from his college-educated parents, with special motivation from his father who ran his own business in Ukraine. "I used to help him at the store, "Vladimir says, "which prompted my abiding interest in commerce."

As a collegiate freshman, his greatest challenge was writing papers because the former Soviet education system does not stress composition. He credits the Honors Program's high expectations for helping to hone his writing skills. No less important is the moral support provided by other students he considers to be "fam¬ily." Now he completes written assignments with the consummate confidence that landed him a plum job with Microsoft Inc. beginning this summer after graduation.

Vladimir expects to gain valuable experience as a support engineer with the company's corporate office in Charlotte, N.C. He wants to rise through the company ranks, become a consultant, a project/program manager and ultimately start his own business. Given his trajectory thus far, those objectives appear altogether attainable.