When I arrived in California ten years ago, I had no intention to embark on an academic journey that would essentially change my life. I was a biomedical analyst from Vienna, Austria, on maternity leave, who wanted to use her time off to explore the world. However, what had been planned as a short Californian adventure turned into a love affair with the country and its people, and I decided to stay longer. To improve my English skills, I started to take classes at my local Community College, which revived my passion for learning. In 2008, I transferred to UC Berkeley, majoring in Gender & Women's Studies, and graduated in the fall of 2009 with highest honors.

Coming from a different cultural background, I still had the feeling that I needed to learn more about my adopted home country. Continuing with the MPA program at San Francisco State University appeared as the logical choice, allowing me a great insight into the workings of governments, the nonprofit sector, and their interrelations. Moreover, the two and a half years in the program provided me with valuable skills in management, research, and administration. In the future I would like to apply my skills in the nonprofit world, preferably working in volunteer management in either animal welfare or women empowerment.