1in10 Success Stories: Ilija Dukovsky

I am a scientist, having switched from Statistical Physics to Biophysics. I grew up in Northern Macedonia and came to the US in 1996 to attend the University of Amherst. After earning my PhD, I worked in industry for nine years. I am now a research scientist at BU, teaching graduate seminars in Bioinformatics.

This is where I met Dr. Holmes, when we were teaching a graduate seminar together—combining the traditional science I was presenting with the play and improv that improvscience brought to the classroom, from which I was learning along with the students.

With no experience in improv or acting, this was all very new to me. I found it to be a lot of fun, very inspiring and offering life-changing benefits. I learned how to develop “stage presence” and how I can change my “performance.” I discovered the value of being taken out of my comfort zone, and how, when that happens in a supportive space that is filled with play, participants can learn how to communicate in new ways and build something new together through each person’s contribution. And that I can survive going out of my comfort zone!

I also value new connections that came into my life through meeting Raquell. She invited me to be on a panel at CESTEMER (now Cultivating Ensembles), which was a rich experience for me. When we are exposed to new experiences, as I was through improvscience, our lives expand in unexpected ways. I highly recommend all scientists and educators to participate in non-traditional trainings and events.