Annie's Story

Annie Snyder, senior in data science, spent her IAP 2023 in Armenia teaching market design to university students and getting to know the country she had known little about.

Through the MISTI Eurasia Global Teaching Labs Program, Annie taught an economic algorithm course at the Yerevan State University, covering the design and operation of organized markets and building on microeconomic and game theory ideas.

“This was done by exploring various economic algorithms and structures in areas of matching problems and auction theory. We also had coding sessions centered around implementing such algorithms in python,” she explained.

In addition, Annie built in-class activities to engage the students beyond just lectures, from bringing candy to implementing trading algorithms to running a jeopardy game. “Having these interactive experiences also allowed me to build relationships with my students. Because of this, integrating into Armenian life was the easiest, as the people were so kind and welcoming with every step.”

Learning about Armenian life

Annie shares that her time in Armenia was “incredible and impactful. I learned about my own ability to put myself out there, ask questions, and build connections with people from a different culture. I also really came to understand my own privilege in being a U.S. Citizen, especially the privilege of attending MIT,” she adds.

This experience also contributed to her desire to work in social impact and made her think of how she could work towards doing so on a global scale.

“I learned so much cultural and historical information that I would never have had the chance to if I hadn’t done this program. I learned about what it’s like to be a post-Soviet country, the geopolitics that come from that and other events that continue to impact today’s events in Eurasia, the history of Armenia and surrounding areas, and much more,” Annie effused.

One experience she’ll never forget was coming out of her dorm the first morning into the falling snow with a beautiful view of mountains all around her. “There was such incredible natural beauty that I was very unaccustomed to, having come from the flat Midwest and Boston.”

And there were so many more memorable moments, from going to a pub with her students, riding the ski lift in the resort town of Tsaghkadzor, seeing Lake Sevan, trying the amazingly delicious Gata [Armenian coffee cake] in the medieval monastery Geghard, and feeding the deer in Dilijan, a town in northern Armenia.

“I learned so much about a part of the world that is often foreign to us in the U.S. This experience has truly changed and informed my worldview in a deep way,” Annie concluded.

Photo: Annie Snyder (second from right) with two other MIT students and her supervisor at Yerevan State University.