Tchaprachikoff Scholar Daniella Gruwell (’07): “AUBG has a great reputation not only in the Balkans but also in the United States”

Passionate, hard-working and determined, AUBG graduate Daniella Gruwell (’07) has already established herself as a paralegal in the United States and now has been accepted for a Juris Doctor Degree at the prestigious school of law at the University of Texas at Austin.

The American University in Bulgaria is devoted to supporting its graduates not only during their school years but in their academic and career pursuits after graduation as well. Thus, AUBG awarded Gruwell with the Tchaprachikoff scholarship in 2015. 

The Tchaprachikoff fund supports AUBG graduates from Bulgaria who have been admitted to a graduate program at one of the top 20 universities in the United States or to any of the top 20 U.S. schools in the respective field of study.

Recognizing AUBG’s role in cultivating the region’s intellectual potential, Anna Tchaprachikoff left all her possessions to the university in her will with the purpose of providing top educational opportunities to talented young Bulgarians. Twenty-seven AUBG graduates have received the scholarship since 2009.

Gruwell graduated from AUBG with majors in business and economics. The time spent at the university was a key factor in her personal and professional development, she said.

“The greatest benefit I derived from AUBG is the great friendships with students from all parts of the world and an alumni network of amazing people whose accomplishments make me proud to be an AUBG graduate and motivate me to set higher goals for myself because their experiences have shown me year after year that anything is achievable through hard work and determination,” Gruwell said.

In addition to the peer network of ambitious and talented people, Gruwell also found inspiration in the professors at AUBG.

“The rigorous curriculum, taught by exceptional faculty with degrees from some of the best universities in the world, gave me an outstanding preparation for a successful career in an English-speaking professional environment,” Gruwell said.

One of the AUBG faculty members, Les Townsend, who taught Business Law, played an important role in nurturing Gruwell’s desire to continue her studies in a law school.  

After graduating from AUBG, Gruwell completed an accounting internship in a web development firm in Iowa that brought her closer to the goal of pursuing graduate education in the U.S. She then completed a paralegal program offered by a local college and began a career as a paralegal first in a personal injury law firm and then in a large insurance company. Currently, Gruwell is employed as a workers' compensation paralegal in the largest law firm in Iowa, Nyemaster Goode, PC.

During her time in the U.S., Gruwell realized that the local professional and academic community is aware of the strong potential that AUBG graduates possess.

“I discovered that AUBG has a great reputation not only in the Balkans but also in the United States, where most major companies and top graduate schools are familiar with the exceptional performance, skills and work ethic of AUBG alumni,” she said. “In fact, during my law school application cycle last year, I received unsolicited letters from a number of top universities encouraging me to apply and stating that my undergraduate school (AUBG) was one of the schools whose graduates they were specifically seeking.”

Gruwell’s professional experience in law paired with her solid academic foundation and strong application got her accepted with a merit scholarship to the University of Texas School of Law, an institution that ranks first among the top 15 law schools in the U.S. for biggest return on investment after graduation.

Story by Dimana Doneva

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