Vladimir Hruda, a University of Richmond senior and native of Slovakia, dreams of changing the world, but he doesn't think of himself as an idealist.

"Things don't get accomplished by sitting around thinking about what you could do," said Hruda, a mathematical economics major with a minor in business. "You have to get up and start trying out ideas."

To refine his interests and goals, Hruda began visiting the Career Development Center early in his educational career. Through career advising appointments and participation in CDC programs like Spider Road Trips and Evening of Etiquette, Hruda gained the skills, confidence and direction he needed to focus his passions into a plan.

It didn't take long for Hruda's ideas to come to life.

During the summer of 2008, Hruda interned with the Highland Support Project in Guatemala. The organization works to improve conditions in developing countries, and Hruda was there to serve as a technological consultant. For eight weeks, he worked on a project to connect Guatemalan schools with partner schools in the United States, allowing children to form friendships and exchange ideas.

"The goal was to bring the Internet to a place that had no running water," Hruda said. "This experience has grounded me and will stay with me forever, personally and professionally."

Building on his summer experience, Hruda returned to Richmond and created a non-profit online search engine that supports the U.N. World Food Programme. The site is supported with advertising, and every time someone uses it to search the Internet, a donation is made to deliver food to developing nations.

Hruda said his experiences have taught him to adapt to new situations, adjust to available resources and respect other cultures and ways of life. 

These skills will come to good use when Hruda graduates this May. He's accepted an associate position with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Prague, Czech Republic. It's here that he hopes to refine his problem-solving ability, develop a network of professional contacts and hone his management and organizational skills. 

"Consultants are problem solvers at the very core," said Hruda. "It's my dream to apply the business solutions I learn from this position to affect change in the world and help those who need it most."