by Eunsil Lee
Anna Dombrowski was born near Pittsburgh in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Her grandparents immigrated to the US from Poland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They came to the US to work in the steel mills near Pittsburgh. Her parents were born in the US, but spoke Polish. She grew up where she was born, in a small mill town near Pittsburgh. She is one of five children. They grew up learning some Polish words and phrases, but didn’t learn to speak, because her grandparents wanted them to only speak English.
She has lived in Princeton since 1986. That year, she finished law school and married her husband who started here as an assistant professor in Electrical Engineering in 1985. She met Mansour, her husband, at the first party she went to as a freshman in college. The college she attended was Wellesley, an all-women’s college. Mansour was a student at MIT. He had helped his sister move into the dorm and came to a party with her in the evening. He tried to show Anna how to dance to disco music, but he was a terrible dancer. Anna had told him that She played tennis, but she didn’t tell him that she was a terrible player. The next day, he came to visit her and brought tennis racquets and balls so they could play. He was very patient and nice, so she liked him. She figured they were even — he was bad at dancing and she was bad at tennis!
They have three children. Rameen is 23. He graduated from college and majored in religion. He also is a musician, who makes guitars and is currently learning to make violins in Pennsylvania. Leila is 20 and is studying neuroscience, applied math and German. Komron is the youngest child at 16. He’s in high school and likes science, too. He plays soccer and squash, so they watch a lot of soccer on TV, especially the German soccer league. They’re fans of the Bayern Munich soccer club. She’ll miss Komron a lot when he goes off to college.
She worked for several years as an attorney for the State of New Jersey. Mostly, her work involved writing draft decisions for the Appellate Division. She also worked for the Office of Attorney Ethics, which makes sure lawyers in New Jersey behave in the best interests of their clients.
She also has a MA in Art History. When she was a graduate student, she gave tours at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and taught first year students Introductory Art History. When they first lived in Germany in 1993, they lived in a small village outside of Munich. She spoke very little German then and it was quite lonely. They next spent 7 months in Munich in 1997 and they really enjoyed living in the city. Her older children went to school there and she learned more of the language, so they made friends then that they still have today. Since those early years, they’ve returned to Munich every other summer, for as much time as they can spare.
Her neighbor, Irene White, encouraged her many years ago to volunteer through the International Center, but she didn’t have time to dedicate to the program then. About 4 years ago, once her children were older, she started to volunteer. She primarily works as an individual tutor and finds it fascinating to learn about the research areas of her students. She enjoys the group sessions too, because it’s fun to have a conversation with many students from different countries and to learn about their opinions and experiences.