Sisters Jelena and Jovana Stijovic relocated from Serbia to New Jersey at just 16 and 15 years of age, respectively. The siblings acclimatised quickly to New Jersey’s vibrant multicultural community and found themselves enrolled in NJIT’s Newark College of Engineering after graduating from community college.
Earlier this year, they both graduated with degrees in industrial engineering – and both had jobs lined up almost one year before they even finished their studies; Jelena as a district manager trainee at multinational Toys”R”Us and Jovana as a sourcing excellence specialist at L’Oreal. They will also both earn their master’s in engineering management from NJIT in December.
Their accomplishments were hard earned and well plotted. ‘We’d meet every week to talk and track our progress’, said Jovana of her and Jelena’s college years. ‘Every year, we’d come up with a list of goals, and we managed to achieve all of our goals because we kept our priorities straight’.
‘We were always full-time students and we always had at least two jobs, so people… see our time management skill as on point, our GPA is on point, that we have technical real-life experience’, added Jelena. ‘I feel so fortunate because our hard work has paid off. My job is exactly what I wanted because the company is focused on developing me as a professional’.
The sisters are now immersed in rotational leadership and development programs at their companies that will enable them to obtain managerial positions and become leaders in their industries. Before transitioning to a permanent employee, Jovana completed two co-ops at L’Oreal. Jelena did a six-month co-op at Johnson & Johnson prior to starting at Toys”R”Us as a team leader.
‘We did a lot of research and we found that industrial engineers work in every sector’, Jelena said. ‘We knew that with that degree we’d always be able to get a high-paying job’.
Read more about their academic journey here.