Occupation: Environmental Scientist at St. Thomas University
Country of Birth: Croatia Current: St. Paul, MN
“In the STEM area it can be difficult to be self-confident because you’re always looking up to people who know so much. It’s important to build relationships along the way… because, ultimately, we function kind of as a collective.”
Born in Croatia, Dalma spent her childhood living what she felt was a pretty average life. She dreamed of becoming a comparative literature scholar one day, as science was never really her passion. In high school, however, she completed an exchange program in the United States where she took classes in chemistry, biology, and physics. She found a passion for science through these classes and became engaged in the discovery process. Although she completed her undergraduate schooling back in Croatia, she decided to seek out opportunities in the United States for graduate school. An assortment of government issues at the time prevented Dalma’s move to the US from being completely seamless, and she struggled with things such as last-minute expenses and becoming separated from her luggage.
She eventually arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, and overcame new obstacles like writing a check or setting up home utility services. Eventually, she graduated with her master’s at the University of Mississippi and stumbled into a job working in the medicinal plant garden at the University of Mississippi. This job led her to a variety of new work skills and new connections that opened doors for her professionally, which eventually landed her at the University of Minnesota and in postdoctoral work with the Environmental Protection Agency. Her immigrant status continued to cause challenges in her job pursuits, but with patience and understanding, she finally ended up in her current role at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Dalma now works as an environmental scientist, and much of her work focuses on clean water research and initiatives. She is deeply grateful for all of the collaborative opportunities she has had during her professional career and contributes her success and innovation to the opportunity to engage in work with others.