The University of Georgia
Koksarova, Julianna

UGA's Amazing Students

Julianna Koksarova

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October 5, 2007

International student Julianna Koksarova worked in nonprofit organizations for three years before she decided to pursue more education in the field. When she found there were no programs offered in her homeland, Latvia, she started looking elsewhere. Out of the nine existing programs in the world that offer the Management of Nonprofit Organizations major, and UGA was at the top of the list. She applied to UGA’s master’s of nonprofit management program without even visiting the university. When she was accepted and offered a graduate assistantship, she knew her life would never be the same. Since she came to UGA, she has decided to specialize in philanthropy, and she recently completed an internship with a fundraising consulting company in Kansas. Her work there included helping her alma mater in Lithuania develop a fund-raising plan, and she was responsible for designing their alumni association. After graduation, she plans to pursue her doctoral degree and then work on spreading the idea of philanthropy in Eastern Europe.

Expected graduation:

Spring 2008

Degree objective:

M.A. in management of nonprofit organizations

University highlights, achievements and awards:

Despite the intercultural differences, I managed to excel academically at UGA. I have also been able to participate in events offered by the Office of International Student Life, including the Georgia International Leadership Conference. I received an international student award last spring. Last summer, I did an internship at the Hartsook Companies, Inc., an international fundraising consulting firm located in Wichita, Kan. I served as an assistant on a number of contracts, including work with my alma mater, the LCC International University, Camp Fire USA Alaska Council, Christian Family Services of the Midwest and the Catawba Valley American Red Cross nonprofit organizations. I worked on developing and implementing a fundraising campaign for LCC International University in Lithuania. My major responsibilities included donor cultivation and face-to-face solicitations as well as development of the design for an alumni association. This fall, I am going to attend the Graduate School Leadership Conference, and I will continue looking for opportunities to volunteer with organizations that promote children’s welfare.

Hometown:

Liepaja, Latvia

High School:

High School #12

Current Employment:

As a graduate assistant, I have been working on various projects initiated by the Management of Nonprofit Organizations program. My most recent endeavor is a community outreach project that aims at establishing a system that will give non-profit organizations in Georgia better access to resources.

I chose to attend UGA because...

After working three years in nonprofits, I knew the nonprofit sector and the world at large needed more people with an educational background in nonprofit management. I did some research and found there are only nine schools in the world that offer master’s degrees in Management of Nonprofit Organizations. Interestingly enough, the first school that appeared on my screen when I did my Google search was the University of Georgia! I explored the school’s Web site, found the school very attractive, and I applied.

My favorite things to do on campus are...

My absolutely favorite thing to do on campus is to sit on a bench near the Main Library and watch people walking from their classes. I adore the spirit that students and professors bring with them to the campus. This is the spirit of ideals and progress. I feel overwhelmed and happy to be a part of the campus world that brings about innovation and change.

When I have free time, I like...

...to dance. I enjoy Christian worship dance. It is a very special way for me to express my inner world. I dance with my body, mind and spirit. There are no random movements in my dance. I tell a story with my movements. I express my inner joy that I want to share with the rest of the world. Sometimes, people understand me better after they see me dance.

The craziest thing I've done is...

...visited Africa, Europe, North America and Central America during the months of December, January, February and March of 2006-2007. It was absolutely incredible to learn about the ancient world of pharaohs and the secrets of the pyramids when I visited Egypt in December 2006. I was amazed by the richness of the culture that Egypt and the Egyptian people had to offer. After the trip to Egypt, I returned to Europe just to pack my luggage and make a long trip across the ocean to the United States of America. Two major things that stood out to me were the hospitality of American people and abundance of resources in America. Nearly after two months after coming to the U.S., I made a mission trip to Costa Rica with the Athens First United Methodist church. This was a life-changing experience that helped me to understand how small actions can make a huge difference in the world.

My favorite place to study is...

...in Mary Lyndon Hall. It does not matter if I am in my room or a study room, I always feel very cozy there. I like that I can take a break and go play on Myers Quad with my friends, I can go to Snelling or Oglethorpe dining halls, and I can always find a quiet place where I will not be distracted.

My favorite professor is...

...Thomas Holland. He started the Management of Nonprofit Organizations Program at UGA. I took a fundraising class with him last semester. Everything I learned in this class was so useful, and I used so much of it when I worked at Hartsook Companies as a fundraising consulting intern. I admire Dr. Holland for his ability to connect with students and present the course material in a very professional and interactive way. He is one of the most caring professors I have ever had. He is a real servant leader who is willing to help all students every time they need his help.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...

...Mother Teresa. I admire her humble character and servant heart. She is my role model. When I think of my dreams and goals I think of Mother Teresa. She gave her entire life to serving the poorest of the poor. I believe that the world can become truly good if all people in the world followed her life principles: love your neighbor as yourself and serve the poorest of the poor. I read Mother Teresa’s quotes every day and try to apply her wisdom into my life. She says that it is not important what one does. What truly matters is that he/she does it with love. I try to live my life according to this advice. My motto is to do everything out of love. This brings me joy and has changed the world around me.

If I knew I could not fail, I would...

...bring the concept of philanthropy into Eastern Europe. Because of historical and political factors, this is a foreign concept in most of Eastern Europe, but I believe that the economic, spiritual and political development of this region has changed the social paradigm making it possible to start building a civil society and establishing public trust. The presence of these two factors should gradually make the idea of philanthropy viable in this part of the world.

After graduation, I plan to...

...enter the Ph.D. program in philanthropy. I am very interested in researching the current situation in Eastern Europe and investigating how the concept of philanthropy could be internalized by people in Eastern Europe.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...

...flying back to UGA from visiting my family in Latvia and feeling at home in Athens. This is a great feeling! UGA has given me so much more than education. It has given me a ticket into a life of opportunities and fulfilled dreams.