Building a Future at SPS

For Darina Mollova ’22, St. Paul’s School has provided opportunities in STEM not available in her native Bulgaria.


Last spring, students in Christopher Odom’s robotics class undertook a project to create high-tech versions of the flags and national anthems of their home countries. Built with electronic Arduino boards, 3-D printers, LED lights, and speakers, the representations of Bulgaria, Italy, Nigeria, South Korea, and the United States were a striking visualization of the rich diversity of the St. Paul’s School community. For Darina Mollova ’22, however, the project was also symbolic of something even more personal.

“Back home in Bulgaria, I was never encouraged to pursue science,” Mollova says, explaining that in her home country, science is regarded as a male pursuit. “Being part of Mr. Odom’s class motivated me to pursue a career in STEM, which was unimaginable for me back home.”

Mollova says her SPS experience, which has been supported by the Diamond Family Scholarship Fund, “has opened so many doors” for her. “I am thankful to the donors that contribute to the School,” she says.

Those open doors have included an opportunity to try new sports — Mollova played JV soccer as a Fifth Former, and this year joined the Swim Club — and to test her acting chops in Director of Theatre Christopher Briante’s improvisation class. She’s also burnished her fluency in French (Mollova speaks a total of four languages, including her native Bulgarian and Russian) and is pursuing her interests in mathematics, chemistry, statistics, and economics while building friendships with classmates from Romania, China, Nigeria, and the United States.


That’s something that’s really special about St. Paul’s. I have friends from all over the world. The access to an international community is also an opportunity I wouldn’t have had if I had stayed back home for high school.”

— Darina Mollova ’22

And if her home in Sofia at times feels far away, Mollova is philosophical about it. “I know why I came here,” she says, “I came to challenge myself. I want to be here.”

Mollova isn’t sure yet where she’ll end up after graduation, but for now, at least, she’s leaning toward a degree in biomedical engineering — an avenue she might not have discovered without the opportunity she’s been given to expand her horizons at SPS.