There are no words to truly express the range of emotions that we feel right now. We only know that an overwhelming loss and sadness is in the hearts of all who loved Angelina, but we celebrate that her spirit will live on in our remembrance of her beautiful life.
Angelina Dmitrievna Rubis was born in Kazakhstan June 20, 1997, to loving parents father Dmitry Uriyevich Rubis and mother Taisya Igorevna Rubis.
From a young age, Angelina displayed a proclivity for setting and achieving remarkable goals, a gift she exhibited throughout her life. Angelina especially had a powerful love for learning and attaining knowledge. She excelled academically, starting in elementary school and throughout her life. Because Angelina’s mother worked as an early childhood educator, it is believed that her mother’s career helped to seed both her love of learning and her caring spirit that was evident throughout Angelina’s life. Angelina was also a creative as a young child. She regularly set up chairs and sheets to put on small “plays” using characters that she invented and scripts that she wrote. This early passion for writing scripts and telling stories for an audience would later manifest as one of her adult dreams of making films and movies.
Angelina first came to America through a competitive program for high school students. In high school, she competed for and was awarded the Future Leaders Exchange Program Scholarship, which is sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (a division of the U.S. State Department). Through this opportunity she lived with a host family in South Dakota, USA, and attended high school for the 2014-2015 academic school year. In this first taste of English-language immersion and life in the USA, Angelina displayed her remarkable ability to take risks for the sake of learning. During her stay, she improved her English and became close with her host family. This experience also planted the seed for her dreams to return to the USA later in life.
Angelina returned to Almaty Kazakhstan and won a full tuition, merit-based scholarship to attend one of Kazakhstan's most prestigious colleges, KIMEP University. She enrolled as a freshman in the fall of 2015. At KIMEP, a completely English-speaking university, Angelina took marketing, communication, and business courses. Angelina worked hard, excelled academically, and did her absolute best on all assignments, including earning the top grade of the whole in Academic Reading and Writing, a freshman research paper seminar class. Her essays and class presentations focused on topics of feminism and veganism, important values that she continually developed through her life. She also made many friends and was known for her playful, inquisitive, thoughtful, and loyal nature. Always resourceful, she had a few jobs to provide for her needs and wants, including teaching in English as a Second Language (ESL) settings. With funds saved from these endeavors, she purchased her first DSLR camera and began exploring her creativity behind the lens.
While she excelled at KIMEP, her adventurous nature looked outward for more opportunities, and she learned about Minerva University, based in San Francisco, CA, from a peer who was transferring there. Through her peer she learned about the 'nomadic' structure for the program at Minerva, moving each student cohort together across the globe while pursuing distance-learning coursework. She bravely applied, gaining admission with a full scholarship; she transferred as an incoming freshman in the fall of 2017. At Minerva, she explored many different academic paths, and eventually taking majors in both the Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities courses of study. She worked hard and produced many research papers and projects, connecting with her cohort and professors as she pursued new intellectual horizons.
Once at Minerva, Angelina found sanctuary among peers who also aspired to world travel, cultural immersion, and deep curiosity. Her friends knew her to be intelligent, caring, and an activist for causes she championed. She toted her camera around with her on all her adventures, capturing scenes of her travels and honing her film editing skills. Angelina was always ready to support her friends through any problems they experienced and was there as a kind voice through many shared trials.
During her first semester at Minerva, she lost her beloved mother and great aunt Irina (who was like a second mother) within a few short months, but she harnessed her experience and emotions around these losses as motivation. She was determined to make her dearly missed family and little sister Victoria (Vika) proud. Angelina spoke lovingly about Vika to all her friends and did her best to stay connected to her from afar.
In 2020, the pandemic changed the course of her academic pathway, and she left Buenos Aires, where her cohort was staying at the time, to come to Philadelphia, staying with two friends, Liz and Mike, while the pandemic brought the world to a standstill. Not to be deterred, she applied for and obtained remote internships, completed schoolwork, and made cloth masks on an old sewing machine, which she sold to save up money for her next move. In July of 2020, she followed her dream despite the state of the world, and moved to New York City, where she continued her remote coursework and built a life for herself. In NYC, she further built her film portfolio, volunteering her skills to shoot short films for various non-profits, such as a Domestic Violence advocacy group. She worked with an editing company, tailoring commercial ads in post-production. As a Creative Strategist on many projects and freelance jobs, she was especially skilled in communicating empowering designs and ideas, whether it was through pictures, filmmaking, or other online media.
In NYC, Angelina met Eric Ewing and they fell in love, becoming each other’s safe harbor during times of struggle and turbulence. With Eric, Angelina felt truly loved and safe, and she wished to share their love together with the world. While their time together on earth was short, it was time lived fully. They shared hiking, traveling, urban exploration, and cooking adventures together and with friends; many happy and peaceful memories that enriched their lives and the lives of those around them will live on in memory. They brought out the best in each other, often referring to themselves as “soulmates”.
At the time of her death, Angelina was close to completing her formal studies at Minerva University. Based on her record of exemplary academic performance, the University will be awarding her two degrees posthumously in 2022. Angelina will receive a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Arts & Humanities and a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Social Sciences.
Angelina is preceded in death by her parents, beloved great aunt (Irina), and Eric Ewing.
Angelina leaves behind to cherish her memory a loving sister Victoria Borkina (Vika), a beloved grandmother Lyudmila Vyacheslnvovpa Rubis, very dear friends Liz Rattan, Robin Palmer, Elif Tirkes, and Bibinur Kussaiynova, an international body of friends and colleagues, and the forever grateful and loving family of Eric Ewing.
Angelina’s influence will linger in our hearts and minds, and her life will be an inspiration to all of us left behind.