Maria-Luiza Popescu

“It's all about working hard to pursue one's goals and seizing the most favorable chances.”

Hometown: Galatzi, Romania

Major: Political Science
Minor: Business Administration
Expected Graduation: May 2012

UT Dallas Achievements and Activities

  • UT Dallas representative - Clinton Global Initiative University Summit
  • Archer Fellowship
  • 4-year Academic Excellence Scholarship
  • Golden Key International Honor Society's Chapter Award
  • Leadership and Diversity Scholarship
  • Golden Key International Honor Society - Public Relations Chair
  • Undergraduate Dean's Advisory Council
  • Homecoming Court Committee Chair
  • Richardson City Councilman Amir Omar's Student Team

Deciding on Political Science

My interest in pursuing a major of political science originated with my progressive involvement in Model United Nations (UN) conferences throughout my high school time in Romania. It was an experimental step more than a career choice, given that my concentration in high school had been mathematics/computer science and bilingual English. Upon exploring the diplomatic rules and procedures and the vast networking opportunities provided by the Model UN program, I began participating at local and regional levels and then organized the first international Model UN session in Romania, held at my high school. Upon traveling internationally to much larger conferences in Europe, I became a member of The Hague International Model UN (THIMUN) and was the THIMUN youth delegate to the United Nations for the Commission on Sustainable Development.

The opportunities open to young people through global gatherings and think tanks are very evident to me; it's all about working hard to pursue one's goals and seizing the most favorable chances. I am a firm believer in non-traditional, everyday politics that truly no individual can escape, and I am committed to researching it further in alternative ways.

A Commitment to Action

I am currently serving as the UT Dallas representative for Clinton Global Initiative University, a traveling social entrepreneurship conference for college students, where we each develop feasible and original "commitments to action." My commitment to action is researching and developing an alternative education model, fostering greater responsiveness of youth to academic skills taught via popular musical segments. In my case, I have focused on the electronic dance music segment, given my passion and involvement in the scene, as well as my connections within both a local and a global context. I decided to shed light on this segment's true complexities while developing meaningful partnerships with music academics, music therapy practitioners/specialists, and musicians.

My EPPS Success

I attribute my success in EPPS to my interdisciplinary interests, and my international networking and educational background, which have already provided me with first-hand experiences in numerous areas that I'm studying. I also have been helped by my traditional scientific background, enabling me to look from a hard-science, analytical perspective to social aspects.

EPPS simply has excellent faculty members with vast amounts of experience and multi-disciplinary interests, eager to help their students succeed in their own projected fields. The fact that the school is relatively small allows for student-faculty ratios facilitating the student's individual success and close contact with the professor. EPPS has extraordinary programs geared towards large-scale networking and professional development, such as the Archer Fellowship in Washington, D.C. Additionally, students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and provide a high-quality, constructive level of conversation and insight into international issues.

Plans for the Future

I am planning to pursue either a master's or a doctorate degree in social entrepreneurship, as this burgeoning field offers immense research opportunities. I'm also planning to continue to develop and research the initiative I began at the Clinton Global Initiative University, expanding into an institute.

Advice to Prospective EPPS Students

My advice to students considering EPPS is to take advantage of any rewarding opportunity which advances your particular interests and to continuously expand your networks. There are numerous amazing opportunities regularly sent out via email by EPPS advisors. It's most helpful to get to know your peers - whom you'll undoubtedly share the majority of your classes with. This way, you'll develop a strong knowledge of the backgrounds of individuals pursuing work in similar fields and can seek cooperation or differentiation, depending on how you're intending to work in the domain.

Other Interests

I travel to conferences on my pursued expertise, read journal articles on the topics of anthropology, forensic musicology, social enterprise or international relations, and partake in electronic dance events either as a rabid reveler or as an inconspicuous observer.

Learn more about Maria-Luiza's Clinton Global Initiative University experience.