In 2001, Natalya Goreva left her family in Ivanovo, Russia, to pursue a doctorate at a university in the United States.
Now she is an expert in making safe purchases online and preventing identity theft.
Ms. Goreva, 34, lives in Shadyside and is an assistant professor of information at Point Park University, where she specializes in information security and Web programming and development.
After earning bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Ivanovo State University, she applied to five schools in the U.S. -- four in Washington, D.C. On a whim, she also applied to Utah State University because a friend was studying there. She was accepted to a few schools, but Utah State was the only one that offered financial assistance, so in August 2001 she headed to the Pacific Northwest.
After completing her doctorate in business information systems from Utah State, she was hired by Point Park University.
In addition to her work in Internet security, Ms. Goreva does translation work -- she translated a book of poetry from English to her native language, Russian.
When buying items online, she said, consumers should avoid little-known online merchants because, even if your data and credit card information is secure, you could end up not receiving your purchase or it could be damaged when it arrives.
Ms. Goreva said if you must shop on an unknown site, generate a one-time-use credit card number. Many banks will give you the option of creating a single-use credit card number, three-digit security number and an expiration date. Your actual credit card is then charged through your bank, but your information is safe.
"Once you make one purchase, [the information is] destroyed," she said. "So if that information is stolen, no one can use it."
HOMETOWN: Ivanovo, Russia; lives in Shadyside
OCCUPATION: Assistant professor of information technology, Point Park University
EDUCATION: Bachelor's and master's degrees, Ivanovo State University; doctorate in business information systems, Utah State University
WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO YOU: "It's a very big question," she said. "It's important that I have friends and that I have a good job and a good relationship with my colleagues. It's important that I don't concentrate in one area because I can't -- I go crazy."
PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW: She translated a book of poetry from English to Russian.
FIRST JOB: Interpreter with Methodist volunteers who came to work in Russia.
WHEN YOU WERE A KID, YOU WANTED TO BE: "From the very beginning, I just wanted to be a teacher, like my mom."
HOBBIES: She divides her hobbies into three categories: intellectual, crafts and sports. Her intellectual hobbies are reading and studying foreign languages; her craft hobby is knitting; and she plays "a couple of sports, none of them seriously," including pingpong and swimming.
READING MATERIAL ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND: Paulo Coelho's "Veronika Decides to Die."
WHAT'S PLAYING ON YOUR TV: " 'The Big Bang Theory,' which is not a surprise. I'm a geek."
GUILTY PLEASURE: Sitting on the beach with a beer.
FAVORITE SPOT IN THE WORLD: Oregon, Utah and the western United States: "That is incredible. I like the mountains."
GOALS IN THIS NEW YEAR: Her small goal is to finish a book of tutorials for a class, and her larger goal is to go to Paris.
WHAT'S ON YOUR BUCKET LIST: She wants to travel more in Europe, go back to Utah, have a family and kids, and get a master's degree in security from "a very good program."
Annie Siebert: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1613. First Published January 5, 2012 5:00 AM