From Refugee to Community Activist

Hanka Grabovica was born in Bosnia, but came to Utica in Dec. 2001 when she was 16 with her parents for a better life and educational opportunities, and in August 2007 became a US citizen. She was 23 years old when she was standing on her own two feet with a college degree, teaching job, house, car, and partner. However, she knew no one in Utica, no family connection, only a few friends. This hasn’t stopped or slowed her down from being extremely active in the community including being on the Boards at WCNY and the United Way and running for Utica School Board and Utica City council at Large. She will talk about her journey and her resilience along the way.
Hanka is married with two children and works at Utica Academy of Science Public Charter School as a Student Affairs Officer. Previously, Hanka worked as an English as a second language (ELL) teacher in the Utica School District. Hanka has a BS from Utica College in Childhood Education and MS in Education Administration from Grand Canyon University, AZ. She is bilingual, has a black belt in Karate, and loves to travel the world, including once traveling to Japan to represent the USA National Karate team.