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"What compels me to excel as a student of architecture is the belief that I will be able to contribute to the revitalization of my home country by thoughtful interventions in the built environment."
Maria Claudia Melniciuc believes architects have a responsibility as shapers of society. "Great architectural spaces," she says, "have the potential to empower and educate." She selected Yale University School of Architecture for her graduate study in large part because of its commitment to the city of New Haven: first-year students design and build an affordable house in the city. Eventually Claudia wants to bring her understanding of the built environment to her native Romania, teaching at a school of architecture there and using Romanian traditional designs as a source of inspiration.
As a student at Colgate University, where she earned a perfect GPA, Claudia initiated an architecture club and assisted in the office of the university architect. Fascinated by the links between art and mathematics, she traveled to Spain to research the symbolism of geometry in Islamic art and architecture. During her senior year, she collaborated with her professor and presented findings at a national conference on the role of Yogini temple construction in religious assimilation in India.
Born in Romania during the Communist period, Claudia spent much of her early childhood with her grandparents in the Carpathian Mountains where "firewood was abundant and agriculture provided a bountiful supply of food." After the 1989 revolution, Claudia was reunited with her parents and was among the first generation of school children to study English. She also speaks French, Italian, and her native Romanian.
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Maine College of Art