Iva Dimitrova, an anthropology and mass media arts major from Duluth, Ga., serves because she believes she is personally responsible for giving back what she has been given through the support of her family and mentors, and through her education at UGA. She realized that through service at UGA, she could utilize the awareness she had developed through her classes, in addition to the skills she was building, to have an impact outside the classroom.

As a Student Scholar, what have you learned about how and why the university engages in service?

I have learned about the breadth of programs and outreach that the university is engaged in, not only on campus and in the Athens community, but throughout the state and even along the coast. Learning about the eight public service units has shown me that public service can take many forms. What ties them together is their focus on growing long-term, sustainable partnerships with the people with whom they work and providing the resources and support to those communities.

What service and leadership activities are you involved with at UGA?

I tutor at the Boys and Girls Club through the organization MindBlowers.

How has service-learning helped you grow as a student or in your personal life?

Service-learning has shown me the value of reflecting on the link between my education and service. It was the first step in reflecting on how my service ties into larger structural issues and beginning to think on a bigger scale. I have started to prioritize working towards a career that utilizes my skills and knowledge to benefit others, and to define my own personal ethics.

Why do you feel it is important for students to participate in public service and outreach? How does it benefit the community?

I think it is important for students to be aware that there are so many different ways to become involved. I believe public service is a long-term practice. I think that service encourages reflection which inspires more service. So as we participate in public service, the more we realize what there is still to be done. In that sense, it expands our scope beyond the university and asks us to consider, what are the struggles of other people, and how can we do our part to alleviate them? I think engaging in public service and outreach is valuable to the community because it utilizes the energy and passion of the large student body to support organizations and initiatives in Athens.

What are your plans following graduation? 

After graduation, I plan to work for a year, before applying to a media management master’s program.

What are your interests and hobbies outside of school? 

Recently I started sketch journaling. I like running, swimming, and dancing. I enjoy storytelling events like Rabbit Box and listening to podcasts about languages (check out The World in Words).

What is your favorite spot in Athens, at UGA or in Georgia? Why?

Walkers. A cup of coffee at midday is a treat during especially stressful times of the semester. I also like going there early in the mornings before it gets really busy. It’s kind of loud, so it’s not the best for analytical thinking, but it’s great for brainstorming.

What motivates you or inspires you in life?

What inspires me is knowing that things can and will change. We can’t predict the future from the past, and so we should constantly remind ourselves that while we can’t know for sure how the future will look, we can envision it. Having clarity of vision gives me the strength to overcome doubts, tiredness, and seeming setbacks. I am inspired by my friends, my family, my mentors, and role models who are visionaries in their own fields.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

I highly value advice from people, and so I can’t choose just a single one, but most recently, I remember this piece of advice. “Honest and sincerity will always be rewarded in life. For a short time it may seem otherwise, but it will always come back.”