Graduate student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I’m going to get my PhD in Comparative Literature.
Interests and hobbies
Reading, writing, teaching, traveling, learning foreign languages, fashion design, painting, bodybuilding and volunteering with my dog. And I’m a big fan of the 60s look and the TV show Mad Men.
Favorite four-legged friend
Yuki, my Bichon mix. We volunteer at Therapaws (www.therapaws.org), a canine-assistance nonprofit therapy organization.
What inspires me
Perseverance—never giving up.
How I stay healthy
As a child in Romania, I was enrolled in a track and field program. I build on that foundation with daily workouts, yoga and tango classes, and walking and hiking. I try to stay positive, remain curious and eat simple, nutritious foods.
I’m passionate about
Changing the world by starting at home. I taught a course called “Build Your Utopia,” and I have been so impressed with my students. Many of them are traveling and volunteering in far-flung countries. They come back with amazing stories of compassion, courage and achievement.
My mother’s garden in Romania.
I am the first person from both sides of my family to go to college.
The person I most admire
My best friend, Elizabeth, who is an international bestselling novelist and the mother of three amazing children. Her dedication, generosity and kindness are unsurpassed.
A wish I’d like granted
I would like to visit all the contemporary utopian projects in the world and interview the people working and living there for a Discovery channel series. Up close and personal, all 6 billion of us are pretty similar. Realizing this basic fact makes cooperation and cohabitation a less daunting task and puts everything into perspective.
Cherries in season, wildflowers, life-changing books, red
wine and new friends.
Something you’d never guess about me
To put myself through school, I worked as a dental technician, Disneyland cast member, costume maker, Starbucks manager, tutor and babysitter.