Rustam Musevi’s doctoral research dissertation is very personal to him.

Musevi, a student in Saint Mary’s Ed.D. program, was born and raised in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic in the South Caucus region of Asia. In Azerbaijan, Musevi studied dentistry and went on to practice as a dentist.

At the age of 24, Musevi immigrated to the United States. After immigrating, he decided to join the U.S. military and was assigned to a dental corps. Once he finished his time in the military, he decided to shift his priorities and go back to school.

“I decided I’m going to start from zero and go back to do an undergraduate degree,” he said.

After graduating with a communications degree from the University of Minnesota, Musevi took the advice of friends and enrolled in the MBA program at Saint Mary’s. Upon completion of his MBA, he decided to “continue my journey” and enrolled in the university’s Ed.D. program.

When the time came to pick a dissertation topic, he knew he wanted to focus on the lived experience of Azerbaijanis who immigrated to the U.S. following the Four-Day War between Azerbaijan and Armenia in 2020.

“I did have multiple ideas in my head but I picked this one because it is my experience,” he said.

As a part of his dissertation, Musevi includes his experience immigrating to the U.S. in the research. To avoid any bias, he plans to interview several Azerbaijani immigrants in the U.S.

“Interviewing Azerbaijani immigrants will be exciting but I’m really looking forward to the analysis,” he said. “I’m interested in comparing because at a personal level, I know what the experience was like because I was a participant in those experiences.”

According to Musevi, the topic presents a number of challenges. First, the Azerbaijani immigrant population in the U.S. is very small and does not have a unifying element, like a common religion. Musevi also says it is difficult to find academic research on the Four-Day War between Azerbaijan and Armenia due to how recently the conflict occurred. However, Musevi says he is excited to be the first to research a topic so important to him.

“This research will help me understand this experience on a personal level and contribute to the academic understanding of this type of phenomenon,” he said.

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