Gabriel Toba is a 20 year old student who is in his second year of college pursuing a mechanical engineering degree.
He was presented to Hearts Across Romania as a potential scholarship recipient based on his financial struggles. He is from a small remote village about a three hour train ride from Brasov. He tries to get back home once a month with his $5 round trip student discount in order to visit his family and to bring food back to the dormitory, which is a major expense to any college student, but especially to those in financial need.
His family unit consists of a mother and an older sister. His only financial help comes from a $100 pension due to his dad's death, of which seventy-five dollars goes toward his dormitory cost at the university. He relies on his mother and sister to help with his finances.
He excels academically with a 9.5 out of a possible 10 grade point average last year. Additionally, he was selected as one of 16 students to participate in the Formula One competition in Barcelona, Spain over the summer. He was selected as a freshman, and it is very unusual for a first-year student to be chosen for this project. Gabriel was very passionate and excited about this honor.
He does not use public transportation in order to save money. He does have a bike at home, but he is concerned about leaving it at the university. He is afraid it will be stolen, and it is one of his few pride and joys. Gabriel enjoys his bike when he goes home, and he has even made videos of himself biking down some of the mountains near his village.
When asked who his role model is, Gabriel stated a neighbor who helped guide and council him in high school and supported his academic goals, which led to him passing the National College Entry Exam.
When asked what he felt was the most pressing global issue, he responded the discrepancy between the rich and poor with very few middle class.
Gabriel is in desperate need of a computer as he is currently borrows one of his dormitory roommates’ when they're not using it.