Growing up in Transylvania, a region in central Romania known for medieval towns and mountainous borders, Florina Dan grew up surrounded by winding roads through dense, dark, ancient mountain forests where Bram Stoker’s Dracula lurks in its midst.
“I was always so scared of Dracula,” said Florina. “I avoided any type of discussions or activities that had to deal with his legend!” she said.
Although she avoided Dracula, Florina spent most of her childhood on the ski slopes. “I absolutely love skiing,” she said. “I started skiing when I was seven years-old, and I used to participate in many different ski competitions.” In addition to her love of snow, Florina also had a strong creative streak as a child.
“I was the creative mind of my family,” said Florina. “I always let my imagination flow to create ‘pieces of art,’ as I used to call them. I remember in ninth grade I had to do a presentation about what life means to me, and I created a movie that impressed the whole school. After that, I began collaborating with one of my teachers to help her with many different extracurricular projects.”
Florina went on to study at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca to obtain her bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and information technology where she graduated as a trained engineer. After graduation, she began working as a web designer and developer. After just a few months, she had the unexpected and unique opportunity to move to America with her husband.
The transition was challenging, but Florina strongly believes that with challenges come new learning opportunities and fresh perspective. Florina spent a couple of years volunteering while she was looking for work.
“After I moved here four years ago, I decided to focus my career on what I love and what motivates me every day,” she said. “I have always been fascinated with web and graphic design; it has become a way for me to showcase my creativity. It’s incredible to be able to pursue design as my full-time career. I don’t have formal training, but I have been teaching myself everything about design for the past four years. My engineering background certainly helps.”
Florina began working at Apex Learning as a subcontractor two years ago and was eventually hired on as a full-time marketing designer. “After working at Apex for several months, I began to see how passionate my colleagues are about what they do, and it’s very contagious,” said Florina. “I thought I could learn a lot from these people because we share many of the same values, and what we do for students is truly remarkable.” Today Florina spends her time creating and updating the website and designing marketing materials.
“I choose to work for Apex Learning because of the impact we have on people’s lives—including students, teachers, administrators, and parents—which is quite incredible.”
If Florina is not at Apex, you might catch her on the ski slopes, or exploring the beautiful mountains of the Pacific Northwest on hikes with her husband. She also began teaching herself how to play violin last year. “I went to a couple of classes and took some private lessons, and now I’m just trying to practice what I’ve learned to move onto the next level,” she said. “It’s a good way to detach, although my husband might not agree; he wears ear plugs. Right now, it still just sounds like a lot of noise.”