Meet Inga MurariuAugust 01, 2008
Today the application forms for the five AAUW fellowships and grants were posted online, beginning the process for many women of trying to put their dreams into words and asking for support in pursuit of credentials, advanced degrees, and even community-based projects.
Inga Murariu, a 2007–08 International Fellow, completed this process one year ago and is now, thanks in large part to her AAUW fellowship, a second-year graduate student at Georgetown University. To understand better what brought Inga to Washington, D.C., from her native country, Moldova, I went to the site of Inga’s summer internship, the World Bank.
Inga met me outside the monolithic building and led me through not one but two security checks into the enormous World Bank cafeteria and its array of international lunch options. As I marveled at the variety, Inga playfully grabbed my arm and pulled me through the crowd. Over lunch, I awkwardly began asking questions, trying to simultaneously manage my noodles. Inga kept encouraging me to eat, saying that back home in Moldova food and locally made wine — the pride of all Moldovians — are very important.
While Inga misses home and hasn’t returned since leaving a year ago to begin her graduate studies, she understands that she is in the right place for now. “I chose Washington, D.C., because of all the opportunities it offers to me as an international affairs student,” says Inga. She has been very active at Georgetown, serving as president of the Professionals in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Affairs organization (PREEA), which among other events organized three debates this past year with the ambassadors of Serbia, Moldova, and Georgia. About her experiences with PREEA Inga explains, “It was a life lesson that helped me discover how much I can do to push my limits, to see what I can do.”
Inga’s interest in foreign policy, particularly human trafficking and the frozen conflict between Moldova and Transnistria, was first sparked when she worked at the U.S. embassy in Moldova, where she interpreted high-level meetings with ministers and presidents. At Georgetown, her interests have continued to grow, allowing her to see Moldova in a broader context from outside of the country. She is now able to “look at the country to understand it globally,” and she hopes to return to Moldova one day to work in foreign policy.
AAUW has played a critical role in Inga’s journey. “If it weren’t for this fellowship, I wouldn’t be here. It turned my life around. With my degree I can do a million things rather than just a couple.” To the thousands of women hopefuls working through the application process of AAUW fellowships and grants, Inga offers the following encouragement: “The hardest part is not to apply but to find a vocation that you believe in so much you would walk through a brick wall for it. Most of the women who are applying for these fellowships and grants already have those plans and ideas. The application process is just putting those ideas into words.
This is article #2 in the Following the Fellows Series.