My name is Angela Zdravkovska. I am 21 years old and I come from Skopje. I spent my first three years of high school in Petta Privatna Gimnazija under FON University, where I held a fully-funded scholarship. After its closing, I finished my high school education as a student in Rade Jovcevski-Korcagin. I am currently in my third year of bachelor studies pursuing Pure Mathematics at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in my hometown.
I’ve always had an insatiable thirst for knowledge. When I was only four years old, my father brought me a first-grade textbook he had found on his way back from work. I’d soon learned the alphabet and taught myself how to read. From then onwards begin my memories of absorbing knowledge like a sponge. Throughout primary, I stayed on top of my generation. My greater interests were poetry, art, and mathematics. I went to every competition and event I had the chance to participate in. Thus I have more than 30 certificates and diplomas on regional and national level, 13 of which are in mathematics, the most important one being second prize in the National Math Competition. In my final year, I actively participated in the 2012 ACES (Academy of Central European Schools) initiated by ERSTE Foundation, opened with the kick-off meeting in Laško, Slovenia which I attended as my school’s representative.
My pro-activity helped me get a full scholarship in the private high school Petta Privatna Gimnazija in Skopje. By then, I was already more inclined towards mathematics. As a very emotional and turbulent person by nature, but also strong-willed and determined, I was getting more and more drawn to how engaging and grounding solving problems felt. Growing agitated by a tough one, tackling it until I’d conquer it-math problems became an addictive source of adrenaline for me. Even more so when I won second prize at the National Mathematics Competition in my first year of high school and classified for the Macedonian Mathematical Olympiad for the first time…only to get zero out of 40 points there. It felt like being thrown off a cliff, into reality-there was a huge gap between me and a medal. A gap that was to be overcome by hard work only. I made it my goal to solve at least one problem on MMO and win a medal by the end of high school.
With baby steps over the next three years, I accomplished it. I won a bronze medal in my final year. Along my journey with math back then, I could not abandon my great passion for music and art. I was never essentially talented in any of them, but I worked silently whenever I got the chance to. I submitted a comic on a contest in Skopje, but that attempt was unsuccessful. I’d also always wanted to play an instrument but my family could not afford it so alongside my high school scholarship I got a part-time job during the summer breaks. With the money, I purchased a guitar and started taking lessons. I’ve also been covering my own expenses ever since.
I entered university as second on the list of top ten freshman students at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, first from the Department of Mathematics. As such, I was freed from tuition in my first year which I finished with the highest GPA in my generation. I haven’t really had the chance to compete in my area in the past three years. Instead, I’ve been focusing on projects in interdisciplinary areas. In late 2018-early 2019 I did an internship in Intertec in Skopje where I learned coding and Natural Language Processing in Python from scratch. I worked on solving a problem for the company with machine learning. Even though I was not able to succeed, I presented a dummy solution at the end. I can’t say that I am satisfied, but considering my inexperience in such an area I’ve come to the conclusion it was a realistic outcome. Nevertheless, it was an experience that helped me grow a lot. Moving on, I was part of one of the winning teams during the hackathon Rethink Creative Marathon 2019 organized by Solveo. Our team came up with an application as a strategic solution that helps increase the number of customers in retail stores using collected digital data. Throughout the competition, I took notice of some leadership potential in myself.
In these past few years, I have also developed an interest in mentoring so in my spare time I’ve helped a few high school students individually as a tutor. I believe the educational system does not do justice to the beautiful language of nature that is mathematics, so transmitting my love and knowledge of it to young people brings me joy. I have also been doing art for myself the whole time, I had done a few commissioned acrylic paintings in the past two years and recently one more, so I am looking forward to doing more of them.
One more thing I am excited about is the upcoming Student Conference of young Artists and Scientists planned to be held in October this year, where I intend on presenting my first research paper.
Macedonia2025/Giving Back to the Homeland
As I grow both academically and as a person, my interests are coming together to enrich one another. I want to integrate them and leave an authentic footprint into the cultural progress of my country. Deeply motivated by my family heritage, especially my Mijak ancestry from my mother’s side, I’ve come to realize our country possesses such cultural gems and places that deserve to be preserved and shared with the world. On the other hand, I am inspired by the creativity and strong sense of justice that my siblings, my friends and peers- young people are showcasing. In that, I believe, lies the power of the new generations.
And I am convinced that we can all learn from each other and move forward all together, at our own pace. Which is exactly why I want to succeed in my own country. My goal, for now, is starting a family business in the hospitality industry.