Student Spotlight: Stela Gavrilova

Stela Gavrilova

February 6, 2020

Stela Gavrilova is a master’s student in applied economics and management with a focus in technology management from Bulgaria. After studying at Sofia University in Bulgaria and Sciences Po Paris in France, she chose to attend Cornell for its collaborative nature, close community, and program offerings.

What is your area of study and why is it important?

My area of study is technology management and it is a logical next step in my career as I aspire to augment further my expertise in technology and innovation. I am already in my second semester and the program has the perfect balance between laying a theoretical base, teaching hard skills, and incorporating a case studies approach. Last semester I was working on an exciting, hands-on cloud computing project with Intel, which involved extensive research and ended with a visit and final presentation in Intel’s headquarters in California.

What are the larger implications of your field of study?

In today’s world of exponentially evolving technology, it is highly important to focus on cross-field innovations in order to maximize the economic benefits. We see many industries and companies breaking under the disruptive forces of technology and that is why it is essential to study how to navigate companies successfully in such a dynamic environment. In order to leverage innovation as a driver for economic development, I envision the need for cross-industry collaborations that bring highly innovative ideas and layer the ground for global economic impact.

What inspired you to choose this field of study?

I am really passionate about technology and the way it disrupts industries and has an impact on our society. In fact, I believe that technology and innovation are the cornerstones of modern human society – they are the prerequisites of human well-being.

What does it mean to you to have received the Thanks to Scandinavia (TTS) Scholarship?

The Thanks to Scandinavia Foundation serves a remarkable mission to preserve the memory about the great acts of courage and tolerance with regards to the rescue of the Jews in Scandinavia and Bulgaria during World War Two. Despite the severe oppression, Bulgaria stood out as a country that preserved all of the Jews on its territories and, most notably, this act was mainly driven by the Bulgarian intellectual elite – writers, lawyers, physicians, and church representatives. I strongly believe that we should keep the memory and teach next generations to preserve this spirit of great bravery and boldness.

What will this scholarship allow you to do that you might not have otherwise been able to?

The scholarship allowed me to pursue my dream to study at Cornell University and it is a great honor to be a TTS scholar. I firmly believe that the most valuable benefit that the scholarship provided me is the opportunity to meet and collaborate with many notable professionals from all areas of business and academia. This experience, coupled with the unique perspectives that these people bring from all over the world, is highly rewarding in grasping different viewpoints and shaping one’s leadership skills further.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of your studies or scholarship? 

I love trekking and spending time in the mountains and Ithaca is amazing as there are lots of breath-taking day-long treks. In terms of physical exercising, Cornell offers vast opportunities that involve care for the mind and body. For example, I am taking a class in figure skating and join yoga and dance classes.

There are numerous clubs and I highly recommend people join them in order to meet amazing people with similar mindsets and interests. Here, I am Organizational Liaison Officer at the Graduate and Professional Women’s Network as well as part of the High-Tech Club.

Why did you choose Cornell to pursue your degree?

The university’s cross-industry and cross-functional approach is exactly what I value the most. As a person interested in technology, Cornell has invested heavily in tech, and the program and courses fit my interests perfectly. In addition, what I really like about Cornell is that it is very community-focused and close-knit, with programs that are designed with collaborative leadership in mind, and thus a person can create more meaningful relationships and friendships with people from all over the world.