UOG alumna Maria Dolojan selected for Obama Foundation’s Leaders USA 2023
Just a few years after graduating from the University of Guam, alumna Maria Dolojan has earned her place in a program for some of the nation’s future leaders.
Dolojan, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration and Criminal Justice from UOG in 2019, is one of 100 selected from across the nation to be a part of the inaugural cohort of the Obama Foundation’s Leaders USA 2023.
She’s grateful and proud to be representing Guam, the Filipino community, and the greater Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders community in the inaugural cohort of the Obama USA Leaders program, Dolojan said.
The U.S.-based “Obama Leaders” will learn skills and tools to accelerate positive and lasting change in their communities, according to the Foundation.
Dolojan is the founder of Famalao'an Rights, whose advocacy is to help ensure girls and women in Guam can access affordable and timely reproductive health care options. In 2021, Teen Vogue published her opinion about the restrictive access to abortion in Guam, even for underage girls who were victims of rape.
She is based in New York City, working as a development associate for the University of Oxford North American office. In New York, she also developed a passion for empowering low-income and immigrant communities and fundraising for higher education.
Dolojan was raised in a family that had a humble beginning.
Her mom was a housekeeper who died when she was 10, leaving her and two younger siblings in the sole care of her dad, who worked construction all his life to raise them.
At first, all she wanted was to get a college degree at UOG, initially unsure of what degree to aim for.
Eventually, she gravitated toward public administration (https://catalog.uog.edu/current/programs/school-business-and-public-administration/public-administration.php).
“It was through my UOG education that I had the privilege of being mentored by the best and the brightest academics in the region, and in doing so, empowering me to challenge the odds that were predetermined for me as someone from a low-income immigrant, single-parent household.
The education I have received from UOG has helped me thrive in spaces I never thought I would be able to be in."
After her undergraduate at UOG, She went on to earn her master’s from the highly competitive Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, at New York University in New York City.
Dolojan looks to her mentors at UOG and the guidance they gave as pivotal to her path to success.
“I had many mentors and a strong support system at the University of Guam, but there were those who truly pushed me and inspired me throughout my academic journey and even beyond that during my professional career. Dr. Ansito Walter, Dr. Ron McNinch, Professor Ron Aguon, Dr. Annette Taijeron Santos, and UOG President Anita Borja Enriquez have all shaped my experiences at the University in such an intentional and meaningful way,” she said.
"Whether it be through my academic accomplishments, engagement in student organization activities or volunteer opportunities, their unwavering support and presence during those moments are memories I will never forget," Dolojan said.
“None of what I have achieved in my career thus far would be possible if not for the mentorship, guidance, and education I received at UOG.”