“I rarely question ‘if’ something is possible, and instead prefer to focus on ‘how’ something can become possible. I believe this approach has played a large part in my evolution throughout my college years.”
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Business, Education / Academia, Entrepreneur / Independent Business, Environmental Scientist, Finance / Economy, Government, International Economic Development, International NGO/Relations, Languages, Lawyer / Legal Scholar, Mathematics, Military / Defense, Nonprofits, Politics and Diplomacy, Public Policy, Public Services, Writing / Journalism
Environmental Science, Government, Honor Society, International Economic Development, International Relations / NGOs, Languages, Nonprofits, Performing Arts / Theatre, Politics and Diplomacy, Public Policy, Public Services, Student Government, Tutoring / Mentoring, Writing / Journalism
PROFILE: Dan Nechita’s transition from the community college to the Ivy League was seamless, even if this meant kissing his son and wife goodbye every Sunday evening in Arlington, Virginia and boarding a bus north to Manhattan’s Morningside Heights where he lived at Columbia University for half the week. Dan had options: he could have attended any of a number of fine universities in the DC area. But he doesn’t regret having chosen and graduated from Columbia, which gave him access to the best of both cities. In Washington, Dan interned at ABC News and the Brookings Institution; in New York, he worked for two years as a research assistant in the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies—one of the world’s foremost research centers in International Relations. At Columbia, he also had the honor and privilege to study under two legends in the political science field: Robert Jervis and Kenneth Waltz. “Their teachings and scholarship have shaped my academic interests to a great extent,” Dan said. He hopes to follow their mentoring lead: teaching at a top university, and leaving his mark in the field of Political Science.
INSPIRATION: Dan also speaks with admiration about Northern Virginia Community College Professors Robert Brunner and Elizabeth Lanthier. “Both provided me with constant mentorship and an excellent education,” Dan said. “It was at their recommendation that I applied for a Jack Kent Cooke transfer scholarship.”
ASPIRATION: To become a university professor and researcher.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Despite the financial climate, with an economics degree from Columbia, Dan could pursue a Wall Street career. Instead, Dan chose to take a different, more difficult, and less lucrative road. “I prefer the more demanding, more gratifying path of remaining in academia,” Dan said. As a teacher, he can realize his dream to “better our world.”
ACCOLADES: Dan was awarded Columbia’s Professor C. Lowell Harriss Scholarship in Economics, Tobe C. Davis Scholarship, and Dean’s Scholarship. In addition to being a Dean’s List student for most of his college semesters, Dan also won the Elaine C. Niner Honors Scholarship and the Exxon Mobile Honor Scholarship while in community college.
INTERESTING FACT: One of Dan’s great-grandfathers was a gypsy, and another was of Hungarian royalty. With those bloodlines, Dan joked: “I, on the other hand, never raise my pinkie when holding a glass and am utterly unable to cast any spells or read a palm.”
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