Hello everyone! Всем привет! My name is Mary Conway and I’m a third year Eminence Fellow at The Ohio State University from a small town in Ohio called Columbia Station. I graduated from High School in 2015, and then took a gap year in Chisinau, Moldova. I participated in the National Security Language Initiative for Youth through the US Department of State. Now, if you have never heard of Moldova, don’t worry. I knew nothing about it (including its existence), until I learned that I would be living there for nine months. With the help of Google I learned that Moldova is a small agrarian country located between Romania and Ukraine.
I lived in Chisinau with a host family for nine months. It was a fully immersive environment, meaning, not only did I take Russian lessons every day, but also took piano lessons and Spanish dance lessons in Russian. I got so much from this experience, including a new definition of hospitality, and a new appreciate for the lifestyle and values of people in that part of the world.
Last summer, I was fortunate enough to have another opportunity to live abroad in a post Soviet country for a period of time. I was in Astana, Kazakhstan for four months working for the USA Pavilion partnered with the US Department of State. I worked as a Student Ambassador and translator at the International Exposition on Green Energy and Sustainable Development. I was able to travel extensively during my time off from this job. I spent some time hiking in the mountains in Kyrgyzstan, sleeping in yurts in Northern Kazakhstan near the Russian border, visiting museums in Kiev, and I had an opportunity to visit my host family in Moldova.
It was during this summer that I also finally got to visit Russia! Despite all my time in the region and interests in Russian language, politics, history and culture, I had never been to Russia. My dad and I took a vacation to visit Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and then, randomly, Cairo. This was an amazing trip! I was unfortunately only home for 3 days before I turned around and flew to Kazakhstan for the summer. It was a crazy few months.
Now, back at Ohio State, I ‘m involved in Students Consulting for Nonprofits, the Collegiate Counsel on World Affairs, the Ohio State Chapter of the United Nations Association and Enlighten. I am also a member of the Financial Education team for a local, student-run nonprofit organization, Ascent Microfinance. This organization aims to help people in the lower income areas around Columbus by
providing education and microloans.
This summer, I will be working as a financial analyst at Sycamore Growth Group, a small company in Columbus. This company aims to grow businesses and ultimately increase the number of jobs in the community through Research and Development Tax Credits. I will also spend some time traveling, and exploring the many cafes around Columbus.