Fulbright Science and Technology Award, 2010
I have dreamt about attending my PhD ceremony ever since I became a finalist for the Fulbright Science and Technology award in October 2009. A few months later, a thick layer of snow was covering Romania, when I found out that I will spend the next few years at University of California’s campus in sunny Santa Barbara. I left with three suitcases, nervous about the new academic system that I had to adapt to and the new life that I had to build from scratch.
I spent 5 ½ years earning my PhD diploma- it looks good when it’s framed and made my parents cry of happiness. But most valuable are the memories and lessons I’ve learned through the Fulbright program and UCSB. Lots of beautiful memories of friendship. Some memories of pride and success. But the most significantly, a ton of memories of struggle and grit. I learnt how to not waste too many tears on my failures and not to become complacent enjoying my past successes.
5 ½ years later, I returned to Romania carrying only two suitcases, but equally nervous. I was excited for my new adventure as a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Microtechnologies (IMT-Bucharest), but worried to be seen as an outsider. I have been impressed with the opportunities and the freedom that I was offered here to build new collaborations and to expand my knowledge to new fields.
Grad school in the US and my Fulbright experience were a big risk, but I am convinced that in 50 years from now, I will look fondly at my commencement pictures and realize that they influenced my life beyond my wildest expectations.
I want to take this chance to thank the entire Fulbright team in Romania and in the US, particularly Corina Danaila and Vincent Pickett, Strukov group at UCSB, Müller group at IMT, my undergraduate mentor Mihaela Albu from University Politehnica Bucharest for encouraging me to apply for the Fulbright program and my parents for always supporting me.
My fulbright experience
Students at the advising center
- Anna's Odyssey - by Anna Claspy
- RomericanJourney - by Damaris Lois Bangean
- A Most Unexpected Year - by Melanie Shoffner
- Eric Fretz
- Polar Bear in the Balkans - by David Jimenez
- Romaniadventure - by Anna Sherod
- Romania plus Hannah equals a blog - by Hannah Wolf
- A Palette for Thought - by Elijah Ferbrache
- A Year in Romania - by Anne Murray
- Lauren Hermele
- Katelyn Arlene Browher