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Ioana Orlaie


Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration

College/School: College of Business

Ioana Orlaie came from a world away to become a Worlds Ahead graduate. Back home in Romania, Ioana spent her long days on her knees working the strawberry fields, pulling weeds with her blistered hands and cultivating the land in the middle of nowhere in a village called Hida. She was bullied by other kids because of her family’s religious background, spit upon and called names. Ioana and her identical sister decided they’d had enough and left their parents and eight siblings for the city in search of an education.

While working two jobs in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Ioana studied business administration with a merit scholarship and, when she’d saved $3,000, headed to FIU and started a new life (her sister went to study in Australia). Hardship followed Ioana. She learned she has a heart condition and underwent multiple surgeries, resulting in a pacemaker. While visiting family in Romania, her brother was killed in a car accident. With support from her now-husband and her mentor Gina Bretos, manager of advising services, Ioana persevered, testing out of numerous courses, taking extra credits each term and maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout. At first, she worked at Publix and Wendy’s, but she now is an audit data analytics intern at BDO. After a cybersecurity consulting internship this summer, Ioana will return to FIU for a master’s in management information systems with a focus on cybersecurity.

By Lauren Comander
Writer, College of Business