Country of Citizenship: Romania
Program of Study: Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Study, Department of Human Development and Family Studies
“Find a mentor that you will enjoy working with during your program. It’s important to have a good mentor that will support your professional development, but who will also treat you like a valuable human being.”
Why did you decide to study at CSU?
I contacted Dr. Rachel Lucas-Thompson to work with her because I wanted to gain more research experience before applying to a graduate program. She has been an amazing advisor from day one. I am very grateful to have met her and to have been able to learn so much about conducting research in my field of study. She is my reason for applying to CSU.
What types of activities/clubs are you involved in at CSU and in Fort Collins?
I am the coordinator of the CSU International Women’s Club, a group that is helping foreign women adjust to attending CSU and living in the U.S. and Fort Collins. The sponsor of this group is Fort Collins International Center, an organization for international students. They have several programs and I have been involved in many of them: I was a global ambassador doing presentations about my country in local schools, I have spoken at local libraries about my culture, and I helped with the International Bazaar two years ago. I have been a mentor, a mentor coach, and now I am a summer office assistant for CSU Campus Corps, an organization helping local at-risk youth. I am also a member of the local NIOTA book club, a group that meets one per month to discuss amazing books. In the past, I have worked as an office assistant for Volunteers of America and I have also participated in various CSU events across campus/town.
Could you tell us about your experience working on campus?
I have been working as a research assistant for 2 and a half years. As a graduate student working in a lab, I have many responsibilities: training new lab students, running lab visits, doing participant recruitment, learning to use lab equipment, and analyzing the collected data. What I like about my job is that it allows me to interact with families, children and different organizations from the community. For me it’s interesting to see how people behave in a lab setting performing all the activities we require them to do.
What are your career goals?
My first career goal is to finish my PhD. Then I would like to apply for a Post-doc position. Ultimately, I would like to become a professor so I can continue to expand my line of research (stress and mindfulness, and to promote university-community partnerships that will benefit the community.)
What advice would you give to other students who are considering CSU?
Find a mentor that you will enjoy working with during your program. It’s important to have a good mentor that will support your professional development, but who will also treat you like a valuable human being. I’m learning more about stress and mindfulness and how these two can affect the health of people for the better or worse. There are several mindfulness exercises that I like and I think anyone can do them at the Oval on campus, especially now that the weather is so nice. If I were to teach these exercises to someone, I would say: Go to the Oval over the lunch break. Find a spot and leave your stuff there. Remove your shoes and walk barefoot in the grass. Feel the smoothness of the grass as it touches your soles. Free your mind from any thoughts. Just feel the soft tickle of the grass. Then, try to breathe in and breathe out. Try to differentiate the smells you get in: is it the fresh smell of recently cut grass? The smell of rain? The smell of old trees? Walk like that for a few minutes. Then, return to your spot and eat your lunch in silence (no checking your phone). Enjoy each bite, the flavors, and the texture of your food. Be grateful that you have food that will give you energy to accomplish your goals for the rest of the day. When you are done eating, take a look around. What are you seeing? Children doing group activities? Wish them lots of fun. You don’t have to say it out loud. Just the thought matters. What else are you seeing? Maybe a young couple cuddling in the shade of tree? Wish them joy. Friends playing Frisbee with their dog? Wish them a day full of wonderful memories! Some days you might even see a newly wedded couple taking photos on the steps in front of the Administration Building. Wish them health, love, and wisdom for their new life together! Wish those things for yourself too. You deserve love and happiness too. When your lunch time is over, put your shoes on and walk confident back to your office. And don’t forget to smile. Smiles attract other smiles. 🙂