On March 14, 2021, everything changed. There I was on an airplane for the first time, traveling for 3 days, over 3 continents, and through 7 different airports, embarking on a new journey into a diverse world. And now, here I am, a Fulbright alumnus. I graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Master of Public Affairs.

As a first generation, this degree is a manifestation of my family’s resilience, determination, and hopes for an education for us. And surely, a manifestation of what I dreamed, prayed, and worked hard for. I DID IT.

Fulbright provided me with an extraordinary, life-changing experience that I am grateful for and will cherish every day. I have gained a broader understanding of the world and developed a deep appreciation for diversity. As I reflect on my time at the Truman School of Governance and Public Affairs, I am grateful for the invaluable cultural experience, intellectual growth, and practical skills I have gained. I am provided with a solid foundation and deeper understanding of the role and significance of policy in shaping societies for the better. Armed with this knowledge and perspective, I am excited to embark on a career dedicated to making meaningful contributions to the field of governance, policy, and public affairs, driven by a passion for positive change and a commitment to serving the public interest.

This journey has not been a one-man show. I have met some of the most amazing strangers, some of whom have become family. I am immensely grateful to the countless phenomenal individuals who have supported me throughout my academic journey. I am also grateful to the University of Missouri-Columbia community and the dedicated educators and mentors who have played a pivotal role in shaping my academic path, Angie Hull and Leanne Tippett Mosby, MPA, I will forever be grateful. And to my family and friends, thank you for your unconditional love and support. Your unwavering encouragement and belief in my abilities have been instrumental in my success.

And so, here is to a new chapter of changing and impacting communities. I am excited and look forward to building my professional career in women empowerment, policy-making, and international development.
  Twilika Elias Pic