nu alumni Association
Alumni Awards 2021
Nominate. Vote. Award.
Cultural Contribution of the year
Adilzhan Mussa
Adilzhan was born in Ekibastuz and after graduating from NU received his Master’s degree at Politecnico di Milano in Building architectural engineering. He is the founder of the NU Art studio club and likes traveling.
Founder of @mussa.sketch
Aiym Daulbekova
I was born in Semey and graduated from NU in 2018 with a major in Political Science and International Relations. Dancing was always part of my life and during my studies at NU I developed strong interest in K-Pop. During the period of my presidency(2018-2020) in NU K-pop CDC our club reached number of achievements. We have won 2nd place in Changwon K-Pop World Festival for two consecutive years (2018-2019). Moreover, thanks to our contribution to the Korean pop culture, First Lady of South Korea, Kim Jung-sook, visited NU and met with us where we showed her our dance performance.
Currently, I am working a part-time job as a choreographer and trying to gain more experience to contribute more to our dancing community. In the future, I would like to fully concentrate on improving the dance industry in Kazakhstan.
Aldiyar Semedyarov
I graduated from Nazarbayev University as an electrical engineer. During my studies, I founded a startup, published two papers, had a research internship in Germany and a summer semester in the US.
Currently, I am pursuing a Master's degree at ETH Zurich in Switzerland (top 6 best uni in the world). Recently, I took a certified IQ test and was ranked above the 99th percentile (top 1%). After the test, I was invited to join Mensa, the high IQ society. You've probably already seen this in the news.

Educator of the year
Aknur Berdigulova
Aknur Berdigulova, project coordinator at American Councils for International Education and mentor at Eurasia Foundation’s Central Asia Youth Leadership Academy.
Aknur has worked in international education for five years in different projects, including implementing alumni programming for exchange programs’ alumni from 30 countries and organizing a regional News Literacy Workshop for Central Asia and Mongolia.
In 2021 while working on programs supported by the Private-Public Partnership between Chevron company and the US Mission, Aknur has built two MakerSpaces - resource centers for developing STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineer, Arts and Math - in Oral and Pavlodar, as well as run the MakerSpace Expands! STEAM online course with 66 participants from 19 towns and villages in Kazakhstan. She also facilitated four Smithsonian Institute’s Cultural Heritage Workshops.
In two years after graduation, Aknur has served as a mentor for programs by USAID and Go Viral and worked as an Executive Director at National Alumni Network.
Moreover, Aknur took the experience and knowledge she has gained at work, university and life to virtually represent Kazakhstan at the Global Village for Future Entrepreneurs at Lehigh University.

Yerkebulan Saparov
Yerkebulan is 28 year old IT professional who currently works as a Product Manager and lives in Istanbul, Turkey. He graduated from Nazarbayev University in 2016 majoring in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. He has a blog in instagram and facebook where he shares his knowledge about product management, startups, marketing and is often invited to consult startups. This year he consulted startups from Astana Hub branch in Uralsk. The whole year of 2021 he worked as a product manager in a corporate-funded startup Airba Marketplace, which is about IT launch in the near time. For few months he had a chance to work in a German startup named The Story Market for a while as a Growth and Marketing professional. As an educator he taught Product management at Make IT school for Product managers in Almaty.
Enterpreneur of the year
Laura Vaigorova
CEO and Co-Founder of Smartestprep LTD, Education Counselling and Test Prep Company. Since 2021, Smartestprep LTD has began developing as an EdTech Startup and attracted $50 000 investment from a Singaporean Venture Fund Quest Ventures. Smartestprep is a 70% automated college prep and counselling platform that helps students get into the world's best universities on scholarships and grants. Smartestprep LTD was among exhibitors at Global Educational Supplies and Solutions Conference, Azerbaijan Investment Summit, and has a valuation of $2.5 million. In 2022, Smartestprep LTD has been shortlisted to Elite 200 - the world's most innovative educational startups from across the globe - and will compete at Global Silicon Valley Ventures Cup, pitch competition with prizes worth of $1 million, in San Diego, California, from April 2-4.
Laura has also founded social project Aiyel Bolsam that raises awareness about gender-based violence and harassment. Starting 2022, Laura's team has created a platform -, which enables tracking of harassment cases in the city of Nur-Sultan.
Mukhtar Kuanyshbaiuly
CEO of Connected Home Ltd. The company that produces its own smart home solution made in Kazakhstan. Automated more 1500+ homes, cover 5 cities in KZ, entered Uzbekistani market last year and plan to export the Kazakhstani product abroad. Every year the CH team teaches over 20 interns from NU, ENU, KAZGUU, KBTU and other universities to Electronics and Hardware/Software Development.
Did MBA at NU GSB and bachelor degree at Purdue University with Bolashak Scholarship Program. Mentor of iQanat High School mentorship program teaching students of the suburb areas of Kazakhstan. Member of Young Leaders Organization (Head of a Chapter). Marathon Runner (42kmx2, 21kmx4). Cofounder of HP Cafe at Nazarbayev University.
Nazerke Kalidolda
I am from Almaty, Kazakhstan. Previously I lived in Paris while working at Google as a software engineer. Currently, I am a cofounder and CEO at a traction showing startup “Exponential program” (
What I’ve done so far: studied Computer Science as a Bachelor of Science in Nazarbayev University, published 4 academic research papers in Robotics at International Conferences in Singapore, Japan and USA (Chicago, IL) where I was a speaker (mostly on Social Robotics and Human-Robot Interaction); got into Forbes 30 under 30 (for entrepreneurship); failed with my previous startups (ex-CEO/solo-founder with 12 reports); worked as an analyst in Venture Capital firm; worked as a software engineer at Google (Google Paris, Chrome on iOS); got an Anita Borg scholarship for Grace Hopper Celebration; got some medals on national and international contests in programming at high school; got until semifinals at ACM ICPC (International Collegiate Programming Contest); some other contests (one of them is Booking Women in Tech Contest at Hackerrank which led to an all-expenses paid travel to their HQ in Amsterdam); got into Google CodeU summer mentorship program (Google London, 2015)
Ulan Karazhigitov
15+ years of experience in developing and executing strategies for digital products, e-commerce and omni channel businesses. Led digital transformation programs in B2B segments across CIS/CEE countries together with partners and C-level stakeholders. Founded several businesses in partnership with global vendors, owned Apple Authorized resellers stores, was featured in Forbes Kazakhstan magazine.
Zarina Mukhamedyarova
My name is Zarina Mukhamedyarova. I’m a mom, wife, Ph.D. student, and entrepreneur. Last year I opened a “Chic-Chic” beauty studio providing the whole spectrum of services. Beauty studio located at NU block number 22. We have special discounts and loyalty cards for students.
I think maternity gave me a superpower, now I’m actively doing my Ph.D. research, writing journal papers, and trying to develop my business.
I’m convinced that everything is possible if you have a strong desire and effective time management.
Opinion Leader of the year
Sanzhar Nurakhayev
A 3rd-year medical student pursuing the dream of being helpful to society as a cardio surgeon. Helped a lot of students to reach their full potential by mentorship. Shared ideas through own successful YouTube channel(Project SMD). Your friendly neighborhood Sanzhar.
Bibarys Seitak
Graduated World Languages, Literature and Culture in 2021, has an experience as a consecutive translator, Master of ceremonies and as a Research Assistant.
As the founder of @Kazakbubble, he has published less known language resources for his audience and raised the awareness of certain social issues for the Kazakh speaking audience.
Researcher of the year
Aldiyar Kuntubek
Engineer with a physicist imposter syndrome working in the field of condensed matter physics and chemistry. My goal is to design materials in a way to observe never-seen quantum phenomena in low-dimensional solid state systems.
Currently, we are just setting up the lab. Don’t know what I am doing here.
Elmira Ramazanova
Graduated with BEng and MSc degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering. During study at NU, her areas of interest focused on environmental risk assessment, a tool to quantify the effect of soil contamination of people. The area is particularly relevant to Kazakhstan, where rapid industrial development led to contamination of subsurface environments. Her work was published in the Science of Total Environment journal. Currently, Elmira is pursuing a doctorate degree in the Washington University in St. Louis.
Social Impact of the year
Maulen Akhmetov
Maulen is the founder of the Kunde Social Cafe at Nazarbayev University. He has also been a UN volunteer and a Project Coordinator for NGO Empowerment project in Kazakhstan at UNDP. Currently Maulen is the CEO of FarmPro (, an indoor vertical farming company based in Almaty, and co-founder of Hydrofeed.
Aldiyar Semedyarov
I graduated from Nazarbayev University as an electrical engineer. During my studies, I founded a startup, published two papers, had a research internship in Germany and a summer semester in the US.
Currently, I am pursuing a Master's degree at ETH Zurich in Switzerland (top 6 best uni in the world). Recently, I took a certified IQ test and was ranked above the 99th percentile (top 1%). After the test, I was invited to join Mensa, the high IQ society. You've probably already seen this in the news.

Sport Achievement of the year
Moldir Mekenbayeva
Master of Sport of International Class
The only female in Kazakhstan with black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu
Ambassador of Progressjj and Reebok
3 times World Jiu-Jitsu champion (2016,2019,2021)
Asian Champion (2021)
6 times Champion of Kazakhstan (2016 - 2021)
50+ medals in international tournaments
Nariman Karabalin
Alumni 2021, SEDS, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Ex-president of NU Runners Club
Ex-captain of NU Track & Field Team
Ex-ambassador of Almaty Marathon
Participated in Amangeldy Race 2021, Tengri Ultra 35k, Almaty Half Marathon 2021, Almaty Marathon 21k pacemaker, Red Bull 400, Turkestan Marathon, Summer Run, Winter Run, 3d place in Almaty Sprint Triathlon Championship; 2d place Almaty Indoor Triathlon
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