Skip to Main Content
GRAMELAC Political Science Pre-Law Philosophy Accountancy Honors College

Anastasija Mladenovska '26

Anastasija Mladenovska '26
GRAMELAC Political Science Pre-Law Philosophy Accountancy Honors College

Anastasija Mladenovska '26

  • Hometown: Kumanovo, Northeastern, North Macedonia
  • Class: 2026
  • Major: Political Science; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; Accountancy
  • Minor(s): Philosophy and Law
  • Other Activities:
    • Honors College
    • First-Generation College Student
    • Government Relations Network and Office of ASPIRE
    • The Miami Student Newspaper and Magazine
    • Humanities Apprenticeship Program
    • 2024-25 Geoffrion Fellow
    • Incoming Resident Assistant
    • League of Women Voters of Oxford
    • National Society for Leadership and Success
    • Diplomacy Lab
Begin Quote
....embrace the learning journey and acquaint yourself with the myriad opportunities available.
End Quote
Anastasija Mladenovska, Advice for Prospective Students

Why Miami?

By a stroke of fate, I found myself applying to Miami University in Ohio, quite unintentionally. As an international student, I was under the impression that "Miami University" referred solely to the renowned institution in Florida. Thus, when navigating the Common App, I instinctively assumed I was applying to the Florida-based institution.

During this time, I was actively engaged with the Competitive College Club, an initiative sponsored by EducationUSA, an arm of the U.S. Embassy in North Macedonia. This affiliation provided me with invaluable support, including a scholarship that covered expenses such as SAT fees, visa processing, airfare, and the SEVIS fee required for studying in the United States.

As I weighed my options among several universities, Miami University's unexpected acceptance letter arrived, accompanied by a generous scholarship offer, all on the day of my birthday. This serendipitous gesture left a profound impression on me. Despite considering other enticing offers, I couldn't shake the feeling that Miami was the right fit for me. Ultimately, it was the genuine care and attention exhibited by the staff in the international students office that solidified my decision to commit to Miami University. Their warmth and support made me feel not just welcomed, but valued, reaffirming my choice to embark on this journey at Miami.

How did you choose your major?

Back in my home country, high schools took a specialized approach, aligning coursework closely with college tracks. For four years, my studies were centered on advanced mathematics and programming languages. Yet, as proficient as I was with numbers, my fascination extended beyond mere calculations to encompass the broader institutional frameworks that underpin scientific endeavors, including the legislative frameworks guiding educational policies.

When the time came to select a major, I opted for political science at Miami University, despite my initial uncertainty regarding what political scientists actually do . My motivation stemmed from a desire to comprehend the underlying dynamics shaping global affairs, particularly given the backdrop of pervasive corruption and ethnic tensions in my home country.

During my first semester, a lucky encounter at the Armstrong Student Center's departmental fair introduced me to Dr. Sutcliffe, whose passionate advocacy for Miami's Russian and East European Studies program sparked a newfound interest. This prompted me to embrace the program as my major, initiating a journey of exploration into Slavic heritage and culture, including the acquisition of proficiency in the Russian language.

As time progressed, my academic journey was enriched by various opportunities, such as the opportunity of studying abroad in Estonia. These experiences, coupled with the unwavering support and guidance of dedicated faculty members, facilitated a clearer understanding of my academic and career trajectory.

Key Moment at Miami

Reflecting on my journey as a rising junior at Miami, it's clear that I've undergone significant intellectual growth and have discovered my passion within the realm of political science. However, despite this development, I still approach concepts with a sense of skepticism, always considering the notion of "absolute truth." This mindset was instilled in me at Miami, where I've learned that embracing an interdisciplinary and well-rounded approach enhances one's ability to assess situations effectively.

My time at Miami has been filled with numerous enriching academic experiences, each contributing to my enthusiasm and understanding of various fields and disciplines, from business calculus to U.S. National Security Issues. Professors such as Dr. Emily Zakin, Dr. Keith Preble, Dr. Kelly Swope, Dr. Gaille Pohlhaus, Dr. Pepper Stetler, and Dr. Patrick Haney have played pivotal roles in my academic journey.

One particularly impactful experience was the Political Philosophy class on Hannah Arendt, taught by Dr. Emily Zakin during my first year's spring semester. As a first-generation student navigating college, I initially felt uncertain about what to expect academically. Despite my hesitations, I immersed myself in this intellectually stimulating environment alongside both undergraduate and graduate students. Engaging in post-class discussions on truth and epistemology during dinners with classmates remains a cherished memory.

Although it's uncommon for a first-year student to enroll in a 400-level class, I seized the opportunity both for the subject matter and my connection to Dr. Zakin, whose class I had previously taken to fulfill a Miami Plan requirement. This experience was transformative, not only due to the supportive community and exceptional peers but also because it affirmed my belief that academia is inclusive and accessible to individuals like myself. It reassured me that I belong and can thrive in a collegiate setting.

Other Notable Experience

Undoubtedly, my most significant extracurricular experience at Miami University has been my involvement in undergraduate research, a journey that has not only allowed me to explore beyond the confines of the classroom but has also shaped my perspective in profound ways. My gratitude for the opportunities afforded to me at Miami knows no bounds, particularly as it has enabled me to embark on two transformative international research trips.

My introduction to undergraduate research began at the Humanities Center, where I embarked on my journey as a Humanities Research Apprentice under the guidance of Dr. Zara Torlone. Through this program, I delved into the intricacies of academic writing, learning the essential steps towards crafting a scholarly publication. Under Dr. Torlone's mentorship, I gained invaluable insights into the world of research, laying a solid foundation for my future endeavors. Looking back, I am struck by how a simple inquiry opened the door to such enriching opportunities—an enduring lesson I learned at Miami University, where seizing opportunities often hinges on the courage to ask.

One pivotal moment in my research journey was reaching out to Dr. Stetler, initiating a connection that would prove instrumental in furthering my academic pursuits. Through our correspondence, I was kept abreast of research opportunities and developments, underscoring the university's commitment to fostering student engagement. My collaboration with Dr. Torlone not only deepened my understanding of research but also paved the way for yet another transformative opportunity—the Diplomacy Lab.

Participating in the Diplomacy Lab, facilitated by the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, was a defining experience that transcended academic boundaries. It provided me with the platform to contribute meaningfully to my homeland community in the Balkans while engaging in immersive, ethnographic research. These experiences have left an indelible mark, shaping not only my academic trajectory but also influencing my personal growth. Each day, I am reminded of the profound impact of research—a sentiment that fills me with gratitude for the vibrant academic community housed within Elliot Hall and the supportive environment cultivated by Miami University. Indeed, these institutions have become my cherished home away from home, nurturing my intellectual curiosity and instilling in me a deep sense of belonging.

Advice for Prospective Students

As I embarked on my college journey, I often heard the adage that college is what you make of it. At first, I wasn't entirely convinced by this sentiment, but as I reflect now, I realize the truth in those words. My entry into college was somewhat spontaneous yet eagerly anticipated—I was prepared, yet equally eager to savor every aspect of the college experience.

A pivotal moment in my journey came last summer when I had the privilege of serving as a Student Orientation Undergraduate Leader, guiding incoming students through their transition to college life. It was during this time that I recognized a common apprehension among students: the fear of making mistakes. Through my interactions, I came to understand that mistakes are integral to the learning process. At Miami University, students and alumni exhibit a remarkable ability to learn from these mistakes, leveraging them as opportunities for growth and innovation. There is a palpable sense of pride in our community's commitment to accountability and responsibility.

Reflecting on my own experiences, I would offer prospective Miami University students a piece of advice: embrace the learning journey and acquaint yourself with the myriad opportunities available. Upon arriving at Miami, I was filled with a desire to immerse myself in every facet of campus life—to join every club, seize every opportunity. However, I quickly learned that college is about finding balance and discovering one's niche. While it may seem tempting to pursue everything, it's essential to prioritize rest, breaks, and moments of reflection along the way. In doing so, we not only achieve academic and extracurricular success but also cultivate a fulfilling and sustainable college experience.

What are your career goals?  

While I haven't yet settled on a definitive career path, I'm exploring several options that align with my interests and aspirations.

One potential avenue is delving into the realm of political risk consulting, a field that intrigues me due to its emphasis on research and analysis. The prospect of relocating to Washington D.C., a hub for political activity, holds a particular allure. Additionally, I'm considering furthering my education through graduate school or law school, with the ultimate goal of pursuing a career in either law or diplomacy.

What draws me to these fields is the opportunity to cultivate a diverse and intellectually stimulating career that encompasses my varied interests. Whether it's navigating complex legal issues or engaging in diplomatic negotiations, I am eager to embark on a path that challenges me to grow both professionally and personally.

While I may not have all the answers at this moment, I'm confident that the next two years at Miami University will provide me with invaluable experiences and insights to help clarify my path forward. Through exploration, introspection, and continued learning, I am optimistic about forging a fulfilling and meaningful career that resonates with my passions and aspirations.