Name: Maja Stamenkovska
Position: Managing Editor
Location: Seattle, WA
Hometown: Stip, Macedonia
College: University of Washington

How did you get interested in global poverty?
I’ve been interested in international relations and international development from a young age. This interest was sparked by my own experience as an immigrant as well as an opportunity to see the work of the Peace Corps in my home country of Macedonia. I followed this passion to the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, and have been lucky to work with The Borgen Project and contribute to the fight against global poverty.

What’s your favorite thing about being part of The Borgen Project?
It’s difficult to choose just one! The mission of the organization is incredibly inspiring, and I firmly believe that we have a duty to help our fellow human beings around the world who are living in extreme poverty. Beyond that, our team is absolutely wonderful, and our collaboration and willingness to help one another even in the busiest of times never ceases to amaze me. It is a privilege to work with a team that is endlessly patient and encouraging, and that I have learned so much from.

What advice do you have for people who’ve just joined the organization?
Jump in head-first! There is so much to be done, and being part of this organization is such an incredible learning opportunity. Ask as many questions as you can, make yourself available to help and be curious. You will truly get out of this experience what you put into it.

What does your typical day look like?
Every day is different! Usually, it’s a combination of the following: answering email questions regarding fundraising and writing, checking-in with our team of in-office interns, editing articles for the blog and magazine, workshopping articles with writers and hosting training sessions on writing, editing and fundraising.

Where’s your favorite place in the world?
Ohrid – a glorious city on Lake Ohrid in Macedonia, which is both a Cultural and Natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s simply no place in the world like it. New York City is a close second.

Top three life highlights?

  1. In sixth grade, my school principal selected another student and me as the top male and female students of the school; we traveled to a nearby city and were recognized for our accomplishments at a statewide award ceremony. Taking place just two years after our immigration to the U.S., this was a very prideful moment for my parents, and something I’ll always hold near and dear to my heart.
  2. Hiking Rattlesnake Ledge for the first time- it was my first hike in the Pacific Northwest and the natural beauty out here does not disappoint; been a nature junkie since!
  3. Having my senior capstone (group report on the Syrian Refugee Crisis) evaluated by Mark Ward, Director of the Syria Transition Assistance Response Team at the U.S. Department of State. Hearing the real-world implications of our research was equal parts rewarding and astounding.

Favorite book?
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Favorite movie?
I think it’s impossible to pick a favorite of all time, but my most recent favorite is A Star is Born; I can sing along to the soundtrack on repeat for hours.