Every day, senior Karolina Dombaxi moves forward with purpose. While her goals are big, her ambition is bigger.
Born in Moscow, Russia, Dombaxi and her parents immigrated to the United States when she was five years old, settling in Buffalo, New York.
“Being a first-generation college student and immigrant is a lot of pressure,” she said. “It comes with the knowledge that I am setting a path for my family and for whoever comes after me... It’s an accomplishment, yes, but it’s also a weight on my shoulders.”
Working hard and remaining focused on her life goals is how Dombaxi maintains her high output while also keeping anxiety at bay.
A journalism major in the Jandoli School of Communication, with a minor in criminology, she serves as president of Her Campus at SBU and as a student worker for the Office of Alumni Engagement. She was the first junior to receive the Tapestry Diversity Award, being honored for her focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in her work.
Dombaxi wants to travel the world and experience different faiths, cultures and food. She also dreams of one day becoming a celebrated novelist.
“I want to write novels with characters that not only I can relate to but that give a voice and inspiration to little Black girls or Black women,” Dombaxi said. “Growing up, a lot of the adventurous fantasy books I read didn’t have characters that looked, acted or had any experiences that I did. That’s something I want to change.”
She appreciates the personalized education she’s receiving at St. Bonaventure and the close-knit community she’s found here.
“What I love most about being a student in the Jandoli School is the support,” she said. “Not only am I supported and helped by my professors but also by my classmates who don't view me as competition and are always glad to help.”
Professor Anna M. Bulszewicz, lecturer in the Jandoli School, has high praise for how Dombaxi has approached being in school.
“Karolina is completing her journey as a refined, fierce, feminine force. This is what we hope for. She ‘got the assignment,’” Bulszewicz said. “She takes advantage of her opportunities, works hard for her success, and chooses victory. In my opinion, knowing she will professionally contribute to our future world, translates to immense promise.”
It is a future Dombaxi cannot wait to begin. Even while settling in for her final year as an undergrad, she is laying the groundwork for life after graduation.
“What inspires me is the thought of being a financially independent woman,” she said. “I want to think of college as a steppingstone that helps me go on to bigger and better things.”