Mariya Cheklina embodies the typical MPA student: Fulbright Scholar, accepted to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars for outstanding academic performance, Psi Beta Honor Society member, and the past winner of several scholarships. But beyond the grades and honors, Mariya demonstrates something else that is common with students in the MPA program: determination.
Mariya’s father was diagnosed with leukemia when she was five and her family moved from Russia to Germany when she was fifteen in order for him to receive better medical treatment. In six short months, she had to immerse herself in the German language not only for school, but to communicate with doctors about her father’s condition. During her 2 years in Germany, she learned to speak German, English, and Spanish fluently.
Right after graduation from grammar school, she was one of fifteen students chosen nationwide to receive the Fulbright Diversity Scholarship to represent Germany at California State University. She then moved to America to be closer to the father of her son and attended classes at Central Texas College, earning an overall GPA of 3.94. Bigger dreams and strong ambition led her to the MPA Program at UT.
“I was terrified of accounting at first because I thought it was so complicated and just a different language. But I was interested because I love languages so I wanted to learn this language.”
When people ask what makes MPA students so special, it is easy to mention GPA, internships, and campus involvement. However, Mariya exemplifies another side of MPA students: dedication to reaching a goal, determination to succeed, and the focus to make it all work.