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Participant Bloggers

What will your story be in the United States?

Research Scholar

Diana Pauna

Country: Latvia

Last seen in Latvia: Delegating tasks with a clear sense of what is to be accomplished during the year while I am away

Where in the United States? University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Bio: I have earned Dr. paed. at the University of Latvia with additional extended periods of education at the University of Surrey (UK) and Bell College Saffron Walden (UK), and extended study visits to Sweden and the US in the early 90s. I have worked for the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga (SSE Riga) since 1994 as a lecturer and course director and since 2001 as the Pro-rector. My scope of activity involves teaching and curriculum development, administrative and management affairs, and project work and research. Having written a number of reference letters for SSE Riga students and alumni for BAFF internships, it occurred to me that I could apply for a BAFF research grant myself and ask my colleagues to write a letter of reference for me.

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Professional Internship Program

Jürgen Klemm

Country: Estonia

Last seen in the Baltics: at Tallinn Airport, hugging my family goodbye and trying to man up and not to cry

Where in the United States? San Francisco, CA

Bio: Born in the USSR, schooled at Tallinn English College, studied at the University of Tartu, worked at the Estonian Public Broadcasting.

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Živilė Marija Vaicekauskaitė

Country: Lithuania

Last seen in Lithuania: working on a book chapter dedicated to discussing the Baltic Sea Region security cooperation.

Where in the United States? Washington D.C. at the Atlantic Council

Bio: For the last 6 years I have been working for the Lithuanian Atlantic Treaty Association. As a project manager I have been leading numerous initiatives devoted to raising public awareness of transatlantic security cooperation and its importance to Lithuanian national security. Currently I am also contributing to the analysis of Nordic – Baltic security issues at NATO Association of Canada.

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Sandis Babauskis

Country: Latvia

Last seen in Latvia: Behind my home office desk, working on freelance projects.

Where in the United States? Edgemar Center, Los Angeles, CA

Bio: As a MBA graduate from the “School of Business Administration Turiba”, future entrepreneur and freelancer - Sandis is always looking for new challenges and adventures. Working in very varied fields of business, he is able to look on processes from a great perspective. For the last few years, working in event management, business development and freelance projects, Sandis gained experience and confidence and as a result - he founded his own business. His goal is to create a company, that will help small and medium size companies to improve their business by providing business development assistance as a product.

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Andrius Balciunas

Country: Lithuania

Last seen in Lithuania: discussing with a banker in the currency exchange about whether the US dollar will drop against the euro in the near time.

Where in the United States? New York, NY @ Lloyds TSB Bank

Bio: I was born in a family where everybody got enough attention and care. By 4 years old I already knew who I want to be in my life: a banker, a person whose activities are related to finance, numbers and counting (that's how I imagined a banker then). From my first classes at school I was surrounded by future leaders. Our class won every single competition in the school. Eagerness to be the best in my field of interest didn't fade. By age 15 I started to invest in the Lithuanian stock exchange (now I prefer investing and trading in currencies). Later I started my own business in the field of sales intermediary. In June 2011 I graduated from Vilnius Mykolas Romeris University with a bachelor’s degree in Financial Economics. While studying at the university my colleague and I established the Mykolas Romeris Investors club. I am very happy that the club is doing well while I am in the US.

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Ulrika Beitnere

Country: Latvia

Last seen in Latvia: Working in a molecular biology lab, investigating protein expression in different kinds of tissue at the Biomedicine Research and Study Center in Riga, Latvia

Where in the United States? Birmingham, AL for 6 months; Los Angeles, CA for another 6 months

Bio: From her student days, Ulrika was attracted to biology, especially molecular biology from the view of human physiology. That’s why a logical step was to study biology at the University of Latvia and take the opportunity to have an exchange year at the University of Cologne in Germany. There she had the chance to work on her first scientific project with an international work group in the laboratory of Prof. G. Schwarz in the Institute of Biochemistry. She knew that her choice was the right one, but it also made her realize she still had a lot to learn in order to become the scientist she always wanted to be—not only experienced and competent, but with the skills of a great tutor, sharing knowledge with eager minds. After coming back to Latvia and searching for a theme for her bachelor’s thesis, Ulrika met her supervisor, Prof. Vija Kluša, who opened the doors to neuropharmacology. Ulrika learned new methods, was mentored by scientists at the Biomedicine Research and Study Center, and participated in some international conferences in Europe. There again, she understood that after her master’s studies she would like to deepen her knowledge and learn from the best. One of the ideas was to complete an internship in a U.S. laboratory.

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Martins Birgelis

Country: Latvia

Last seen in the Baltics: singing karaoke version of "I will survive" with my best friends.

Where in the United States? Washington D.C. @ American Bar Association ROLI

Bio: Starting from a very young age, I found myself cross-examining my sisters after some of my snacks went missing. From that time on, I understood that I should devote my life to fighting for truth and justice, however, time went by and I decided to become a lawyer instead (only joking of course!) In all seriousness, studying and practicing law has been a wonderful journey for me – one that has been both challenging and rewarding at the same time. I really appreciate the opportunity given me by BAFF, and I can say with the utmost certainty that I will make the most out of it!

Kamile Gimbutaite

Country: Lithuania

Last seen in the Baltics: Discovering the beauty and charm of Vilnius over and over again when coming back from Sweden for a vacation

Where in the United States? New York City @ Lloyds TSB

Bio: I am a finance professional currently finishing my M. Sc. in Corporate and Financial Management in Lund University, Sweden. I have a diverse background, including a BA in Economics from Vilnius University, experience running a wellness club in Vilnius, and a marketing role in an international software development company. I have participated in the student program "Work and Travel USA", spending two summers working in the world famous companies, Hard Rock Cafe, Marriott, and Harrah's in South Carolina and California.

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Lita Juberte

Country: Latvia

Last seen in the Baltics: State police of Latvia, working as a PR specialist – creating an image and communicating on daily issues.

Where in the United States? Rockville, MD @ The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC)

Bio: I am a communications passionate. I am sure that communication is one of the key elements for growth in every field – business, politics, private relations and more and more. No matter how great and talanted someone or something is, without effective and purposeful communication it’s impossible to get the desired outcomes.

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Zane Kokina

Country: Latvia

Last seen in Latvia: saying “Eureka!”, after having cracked the code for remembering different cable combinations while working in an innovative Latvian start-up Vendon Ltd, part of DraugiemGroup.

Where in the United States? Idea Bits Llc @ Los Angeles, CA

Bio: I believe that being outside of your typical environment – meeting new people, trying-out new things, living in different places and with different people, as well as going through unexpected situations – one really learns a lot. Learns about oneself. Gets more experienced, more open and sociable. The more distant and unknown is the new environment, the more there is to learn from.

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Helena Korge

Country: Estonia

Last seen in the Baltics: I've been a world citizen for 4 years now, but some strange force draws me back to my native soil every now and then. Merely an eager visitor at present, a full-time enthusiastic resident soon!

Bio: I am an Estonian Londoner, who is currently finishing her Bachelor’s degree in Media studies. I have taken a keen interest in the diplomatic sector since high school and the enthusiasm has not gone off since. I have always had the itch to do something meaningful, something that would matter to my country and pursuing my career in an area which has been described as a peaceful alternative to war is, in my opinion, pretty meaningful. BAFF Internship programme will definitely bring me closer to my dream of working in the foreign sector one day. I could see myself representing my country, promote its national interest, economy, enterprises and customs to foreign public and saying to the world: Welcome to Estonia!:)

Ilze Lagzdina

Country: Latvia

Last seen in the Baltics: Painting the world green

Where in the United States? Trenton, NJ @ TerraCycle

Bio: Ilze = creative, active, optimistic, green thinker.

Ilze started to focus more on "green lifestyle" when writing her Bachelors thesis about Promotion of Ecological Cosmetics. After graduating from the faculty of Social Science in Management, she was asked to help with the marketing activities at a Latvian natural paint company, PaintEco, where she quickly proved herself and became the Creative Director, getting involved in all facets of marketing- from design to guiding the vision and direction of the product. Demonstrating her interest in the business environment in the United States and her passion for eco-style, she became one of the BAFF Professional Internship Program participants.

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Sanita Laivina

Country: Latvia

Where in the United States? SanFrancisco @ Plug&Play Tech Center

Bio: Currently, I am a first year PhD student in Business Administration and project manager at business incubator. It is my passion and mission to help business startups succeed. Seeing those companies growing ensures me a feeling that I’m doing something that matters. My aim is to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystems that support innovative, high-growth Baltic startups. And I have the desire and guts to make a change and to stride out.

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Katherin Liibert

Country: Estonia

Last seen in Estonia: Stopping in Tallinn en route to the USA from Poland.

Where in the United States? Savannah, GA at The Creative Coast, Inc.

Bio: A citizen of Estonia, I recently graduated from Manchester University in the United Kingdom and am currently absorbing as many business and entrepreneurial experiences as possible during my year-long internship in the United States. I pride myself on my relentless curiosity, willingness to learn and relearn, unyielding kindness and on diving in headfirst.

Taavi Lindmaa

Country: Estonia

Where in the United States? NYC @ Gamification Corporation

Bio: I have completed studies in Interactive Media and Knowledge Environments and earned a master’s in engineering. I have also complemented my studies with exchange programs in Sweden and Germany. For the past five years, I have worked as a sales and marketing manager. Besides that I have consulted and managed various companies, where I have done social media marketing and made client relationships more interactive. In a professional environment, I’m able to work both independently and in a team. I can easily take the lead when things are not running in the right direction. I know how to balance my work with leisure time by being active in sports—football, tennis, skiing, and sailing. As a member of a yacht club and youth sailing organization I have arranged charity sailing regattas.

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Sander Muruments

Country: Estonia

Last see in the Baltics Mixing pharmaceuticals in 3000 litre vessels in Viimsi and playing saxophone on the weekends with Tihvan BigBand.

Where in the United States? Research Triangle Park, Durham, North Carolina @ GSK HIV DPU

Bio: As I finished my Master's degree in Chemistry at University of Tartu, I started working in a pharmaceutical production firm as a chemist-technologist. On my spare time I play tenor-saxophone in a Bigband that I currently manage as well - it is a great diversification from the daytime job and helps me to be creative and open-minded.

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Aurelija Oleandraite

Country: Lithuania

Where in the United States? Minneapolis, MN @ The Advocates for Human Rights

Bio: I just obtained my major in International and European Union law at Vilnius University Faculty of Law. I was always interested in human rights and amazed by the impact NGO’s can make. This is the reason why I spent a couple of years working and volunteering at some Lithuanian NGOs, related to law of NGO’s and human rights.

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Triin Orav

Country: Estonia

Last seen in the Baltics: Intervening in city planning with small-scale projects – building a chicken garden in the centre of Tallinn and crating ice-architecture in Pärnu.

Where in the United States? MS&R, Hyattsville, MD

Bio: I am not that type of a person who has known since a kid what they want to become when they grow up. I found my subject – landscape architecture – accidentally, and I can now say that I have been lucky. I have had the possibility to improve my skills in different universities. I began my studies in Estonian University of Life Sciences, where I graduated bachelor in Environmental Protection. At the same time, I spent one semester as an exchange student in Finland, HAMK University, where I studied Landscape Design. In addition, I have participated in Riga Technical University’s summer school “Urban Outcast” and an online seminar by Kassel University called “Landscape Concepts”. Currently I am studying Landscape Architecture in the Master’s program at the Estonian Academy of Arts. Learning in different universities has given me a broader view of my subject and because of that I have found many interesting sub-themes landscape architecture concerns.

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Viktorija Puodziute

Country: Lithuania

Where in the United States? Washington DC @ HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm

Bio: I guess I was just lucky enough to discover my passion for arts and architecture in a quite early age a few years before entering Bachelor program of Architecture in Vilnius. After the exchange studies and a short-term internship in Italy, I was convinced that architecture is not only about creating buildings – it’s about creating lives, communications and history. It’s like storytelling: in the beginning you see one plot line but it changes constantly and this process is probably the most interesting part of my job.

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Rasa Syminaite

Country: Lithuania

Last seen in Lithuania: appreciating every corner of Vilnius, Lithuania

Where in the United States? New York City, InSites Consulting

Bio: I have been working in communication and video marketing field since my first days in Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU), from which I graduated with BA in Communication in 2013.

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Virginijus Sinkevicius

Country: Lithuania

Last seen in Lithuania: Working at the office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania, Regional and Ethnic issues unit.

Bio: I am currently a Master’s student at the Maastricht University, Netherlands. This summer, I have graduated from Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom and I was awarded Bachelor’s degree of Social and Economic Sciences. After graduation from the Aberystwyth University I completed internship in the governance of Lithuania. I was pleased how governance operates as I could notice a great effort for the better future of my motherland. Afterwards, I was certain that after completion of my international studies and gaining enough experience I want to live and work for Lithuania. Freedom is not free, and it is hard for small country to survive in such complex geopolitical position, but only with the effort and support from its citizens significant results can be achieved.

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Terje Trasberg

Country: Estonia

Last seen in the Baltics: I escaped the homeland glory a few years ago, but I’m missing it way too much, so I will be seen in Baltics a lot more in future.

Where in the United States? New York City @United Nations Cartographic Section

Bio: I am a pure representation of the typical young Estonian—blonde and ambitious. Currently, I am living, studying, and working in Austria. My ultimate goal (some may call it a dream) is to work for United Nations in the GIS (Geographical Information Systems) department. In other words—to save all children in Africa by making sure that the necessary help finds its way to where it is needed. The BAFF PIP takes me a big step closer to my ambitions, as I am interning at UN headquarters in New York City.

Tija Tuherma

Country: Latvia

Last seen in Latvia: Helping Latvians to learn English through lots of dedication and fun.

Where in the United States? Connect English, San Diego, CA

Bio: After English and Russian lessons started in primary school, I realized that with the help of Disney cartoons and Russian TV series , which my parents watched, I have managed to learn the basics of these two languages. Although I had always enjoyed math and science, somehow I turned up in Ventspils University College, studying translation and interpreting.

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U.S. Locations

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