Vedrana Balta

Vedrana Balta

Are there honors/achievements/special recognition you would like to list that are not included above?

What led you to your area of study/field of interest?
One of my goals in life is to have a Juris Doctorate degree in international law. Another one of my lifetime goals is to help families adopt children from countries other than the one where I will be practicing law. These goals have led me to my areas of study. International business and French, my fields of interest, will enable me to make my third goal a reality – work independently and open up my own practice.

What honor, achievement or accomplishment is most meaningful to you? Why?
I must say that being one of these phenomenal Women of Distinction represents an incredible honor, achievement, and accomplishment. My entire life I have been recognized for my grades and for my academic accomplishments. Although that kind of success is very meaningful to me as well, being recognized as someone who has done something special for other people and/or for a community represents an enormous wealth.

Who has been influential or had a significant impact on your life? Please elaborate. (Please include individuals at KU as appropriate.)
Throughout my life, I have had the privilege of being influenced by wonderful mentors, who have unselfishly helped lead me onto the right path.

One of these phenomenal persons is my mom. As a doctor, high school teacher, wife, and a mother (all at the same time!), my mom is an extraordinary woman, who has shown me that it is possible to have both a career and a family – and to excel in both. My mom is my role model, and my ultimate goal in life is to be as special, as unique, as brilliant, and as successful as my mom has been her entire life.

Another person who has had more impact than she might ever realize on my life is an incredible woman who welcomed me into her home when I first arrived to the States as an international student at the age of 14. She embraced me and held me tight when I needed it the most, when I was thousands of miles away from my own mom. Furthermore, besides giving me emotional shelter, she gave me wisdom and strength to be the best person I can be. And to this day, every time I fall, it is thanks to this woman that I lift up my chin and raise myself.

I thank both my real and my American mom for the person I have become today. I would not have been a Woman of Distinction had I not had the honor and the privilege of having both of these women in my life!

Why do you believe it is important to recognize women for their accomplishments?
It is important to recognize both women and men for their accomplishments. Throughout history, however, women's impact on the society has been underestimated and undervalued. Today, this immense influence is slowly emerging to the surface. The world is able to see that women are as capable as men in any area of expertise. Having a way of recognizing women's successes, such as «Women of Distinction Calendar» further enhances this message. Such a calendar is only one of the means of breaking the stereotypical image of a woman simply because in a today's society, a woman can be anything she wishes to be. Still, she is not, but she CAN be. Due to my optimistic nature, I am hoping that some day, she will be…maybe even the President of the United States…

What is a most favorite/least favorite memory as a student?
To be honest, I barely have any specific bad memories as a student. The general bad experience that I still encounter is when I meet students and/or faculty, who are extremely judgemental of others they don't know. I strongly dislike it when people categorize others based on a mental or physical characteristic or a part of heritage that they have. Our university would have less problems and would be a better, more welcoming place if people were more willing to meet those who are different then them.

On a brighter note, I have had numerous favorite moments as a student at the University of Kansas. One of those moments occurs every time when I work at the International Student Orientation, during which I meet students from all over the world. It is an incredible feeling being placed in the same room with 200 students from almost every continent, helping them adjust to the University, and watching them interact with each other. I wish everyone had the opportunity of enjoying such a fabulous moment.

Another one of those moments happens each year at numerous Hawk Week events, when the thrill and the excitement of being in college for the first time is in the air, when students are so friendly and enthusiastic to meet other students, when roommates are bonding, and when new friendships are made… Fabulous feeling!

There are other, simpler favorite moments I have had, such as watching movies with my roommates, spending time with my friends, or getting an A on a final. In general, as cheesy as it sounds, being a student at the University of Kansas has been the most favorite moment of all.

What is your definition of success?
My definition of success has varied according to different stages and different roles I have had in my life. When I first came to the States, success to me meant being able to speak English fluently. Throughout the academic aspect of my life, success has meant having a high GPA. In the future, success will mean graduating from a university and from a law school. Personally, success has always meant being a good friend, daughter, and a sister – being the best person I can be.

Overall, however, the word success is synonymous with «making a positive impact,» whether this impact is directly or indirectly affecting my life. Direct impact is made through my own achievements. Indirect impact, sometimes the most important kind, comes from making a difference in someone else's life or knowing that I have helped another person in a way she/he needed that help.

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