Driving Change in Higher Education.

Victoria Vlad

Are you involved currently in community or volunteer work? If so, what types of projects? Next to my full-time job, I occasionally volunteer in my community – currently Chisinau, Moldova. My most recent experience was volunteering for the Delegation of the European Union to Moldova where I helped organize an information booth in Tiraspol on Europe’s Day. Previously, I’ve been involved as a volunteer trainer. While in Washington, D.C., I volunteered at DC Central Kitchen (with my Capital Semester colleagues). As an intern for the Institute of World Politics, I volunteered at various events.

What is your current job? Since March 2012 I’ve been working as an economist with an independent think-tank based in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova. I am involved in projects in budget transparency and also coordinating communication around BudgetStories.md, an open budgets and data visualization project

Where did you attend college? I pursued my bachelor’s degree in economics with an International Economic Relations major at the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova. In 2009 through 2010 I studied economics at Riverland College in Austin, Minnesota, on a full U.S. government scholarship under the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (a program of the U.S. Department of State). In the fall of 2012, I studied public policy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., a Capital Semester program with The Fund for American Studies.

What position(s) did you hold while in MSCSA? I received the MSCSA Leadership Scholarship in 2009.

What drew you to become involved in MSCSA? Being involved with several clubs from Riverland College, including as a Student Senator and a member of the Student Senate’s Public Relations Board. Together with a group of students we represented Riverland College at the Minnesota Student Leadership Summit in 2009, which brought together approximately 300 student leaders from colleges and universities throughout Minnesota.

What did you learn from your experience in MSCSA that positioned you for future success? All my experiences as a Global UGRAD fellow and a recipient of the MSCSA Leadership Scholarship encouraged me not only to pursue my career plans with more confidence, but also to make a difference in the community I live, also for the country I live in. After being involved in many student clubs at my college in Minnesota (Amnesty International – Riverland College; Phi Theta Kappa and International Student Club) and organizing events together with the energetic teams of young people, I was inspired to bring these kinds of activities home with me. Back home, I was involved with organizing TEDxChisinau (Speaker Coordinator), volunteering as a trainer for IREX Moldova office, Forever Young (Project aimed at teaching basic English for 20 public officials aged over 45), and the Moldova International Model United Nations (Marketing & PR Coordinator).

What advice would you like to share with current/future members? To keep pursuing their personal and professional plans and to continue to make a difference in the communities and countries they live in.

What was your proudest MSCSA moment? Meeting notable Senator Al Franken of Minnesota at the MSCSA Leadership Summit. He delivered an excellent speech on higher education issues.

What leader inspires you? Barack Obama – I especially enjoy his speeches and his art of capturing the audience.

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