Romanian immigrant graduates from Emory after long road - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Romanian immigrant graduates from Emory after long road

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Romanian immigrant Mariangela Jordan graduated from Emory on Monday. Romanian immigrant Mariangela Jordan graduated from Emory on Monday.

One student took a long path to her walk across the stage for graduation Monday at Emory University.

For Mariangela Jordan, the walk across the stage to get her degree began several years ago in Romania.

After spending her youth under the communist regime, she realized there were few options available to her and thought she might find her place here in the United States.

That was only eight years ago.
"I quickly realized that if I want to fulfill my potential, I must find my life somewhere else," said Jordan.
Eventually that search brought Jordan to Emory as a transfer student.

She graduated with a nearly perfect GPA in anthropology and received one of the school's highest honors, the McMullan award and the $20,000 that comes with it.

Jordan's road to graduation was a long one and included several odd jobs along the way, including one that involved her on the road.

"I was supporting my family back in Romania as well.  My first job was as a janitor in South Carolina, in a factory. Then I worked at Olive Garden, then I worked  at a gas station," said Jordan. "I made a plan to get back to school, which involved driving a semi across the U.S."

While working her way through college, she also tutored children of refugees living in the Atlanta area.

For all Jordan has achieved, she had one regret on her big day -- that her mother who still lives in Romania and her father living in England as a political refugee couldn't be there in person to share it with her. Instead, they watched the ceremony on the internet.

"They're proud and they're really happy, but they've always been proud," said Jordan.

Jordan plans to use part of the financial award to set up an educational program for refugee children living in the U.S. She will also continue her studies, first at Oxford in England and then at Cornell University.

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