Bridging Disciplines Programs

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Student Profiles

Click on a student’s name or picture to learn more about their experiences with the Bridging Disciplines Program in the School of Undergraduate Studies. To view student success stories from other UGS programs, visit the student success page.

Sarah McConnon
Major: Biology
BDP Certificate: Social Entrepreneurship & Non-profits
Graduation Year: Fall 2015

Social Entrepreneurship & Non-profits BDP student Sarah McConnon spent a semester interning with the Colorado River Alliance, a non-profit focused on the conservation of the Texas Colorado River. This internship allowed Sarah to explore the intersection of her passion for environmental sustainability and her interest in the role of the non-profit sector in society.

“…I have realized that passion is instrumental to my future career endeavors.”
Sarah Qureshy
Major: Biochemistry
BDP Certificate: Human Rights & Social Justice
Graduation Year: Spring 2016

Human Rights & Social Justice BDP student Sarah Qureshy pursued an independent research study investigating prisoners’ rights within the English criminal justice system. Sarah’s experience conducting research reinforced the value of approaching complex problems from a holistic, interdisciplinary perspective.

“This process illustrated to me the importance of interdisciplinary analysis when solving a research problem, especially regarding something as multifaceted as a human being.”
Sarah Song
Major: Biochemistry, Nutrition
BDP Certificate: Children & Society
Graduation Year: Spring 2017

Children & Society BDP student Sarah Song spent her summer interning with the Johnson Center for Child Health and Development, where she managed a free summer event series for children and their families. Sarah feels the relationships she developed and the lessons she learned through this internship have helped prepare her for her future career as a health-care provider.

“My time at the Johnson Center has been invaluable by shaping me as an adult, as a professional, and as an aspiring health-care provider.”
Sarah Talaat
Major: Journalism, Psychology
BDP Certificate: Media, Culture & Identities
Graduation Year: Spring 2016

Sarah Talaat, a student in the Media, Culture & Identities BDP, spent the summer before her senior year researching the history and evolution of Wien Hauptbahnhof, the central train station in Vienna, Austria. Her firsthand observations of the site, along with her study of Vienna’s rich history, informed her research and helped her understand the significance of this site. Sarah’s experience conducting research reaffirmed the importance of exploring the history and meaning of the places and buildings around us.

“This Connecting Experience has further shaped my desire to share with people the many reasons why informed living and travel is so important.”
Selina Bonilla
Major: Journalism
BDP Certificate: Social Entrepreneurship & Non-profits
Graduation Year: Spring 2015

Journalism major Selina Bonilla employed her writing skills and her passion for helping others during her internship with Latinitas, an organization that seeks to empower young Latinas through creative media and technology. Selina deepened her understanding of non-profit administration and community welfare, topics she is studying in the Social Entrepreneurship & Non-profits BDP.

“The internship also helped me realize that my skills as a journalist are not limited to news and reporting and that they can help me communicate messages more profound than a breaking story.”
Shayna Goldblatt
Major: Plan II
BDP Certificate: Ethics & Leadership
Graduation Year: Spring 2011

Ethics & Leadership BDP student Shayna Goldblatt studied how sports can be used as a vehicle for grassroots peace-building and reconciliation. Using the Barkai Center for Education, Coexistence and Soccer in Israel as a case study, she investigated how sports can be used to develop leadership skills such as teamwork and communication as well as ethical values such as sportsmanship and fair play.

"My project took a non-traditional focus in the sense that it is more common to use diplomacy and funding to try to solve a problem, and not a game... Sometimes the most effective leadership decisions involve innovation and unprecedented creativity."
Simi Aliu
Major: Urban Studies
BDP Certificate: Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship
Graduation Year: Spring 2015

Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship BDP student Simi Aliu spent the fall 2013 semester interning with Austin Technology Incubator.

"During my time at ATI, I worked for the clean energy focus area, which allowed me to develop valuable conceptual and analytical skills applicable to my desired profession."
photo of Sofia Moreno Cesar
Major: Management Information Systems; Business Honors Program
BDP Certificate: Digital Arts & Media
Graduation Year: Spring 2016

Sofia Moreno Cesar, a Digital Arts & Media BDP student, developed a series of animations exploring cryptography in the context of the digital era, exposing social questions surrounding data security, encryption and corruption.

“This project helped me reflect on one of the main lessons I have learned through the Digital Arts & Media BDP: in my future career and in life in general, it is not about being right, but about being understood.”
sriram palepu headshot
Major: Business and Biology
BDP Certificate: Environment & Sustainability
Graduation Year: Spring 2020

Sriram Palepu, majoring in both Business and Biology and completing the Environment & Sustainability BDP certificate, conducted research in India on the effects of mercury content on the fishing industry of the Godavari River. He focused on whether or not a correlation existed between fish mercury content and neurodegenerative diseases in the area of Andhra Pradesh, India.

The most rewarding aspect of this experience has been finding patterns and explanations for the data that I collected, because it means I can get closer to finding a solution.
Stephanie Adriaenssens
Major: Public Health
BDP Certificate: Social Entrepreneurship & Non-profits
Graduation Year: Fall 2015

Social Entrepreneurship & Non-profits BDP student Stephanie Adriaenssens tracked children’s health and planned lessons for them while interning this spring at The Miracle Foundation. Stephanie’s experience with this organization confirmed for her the importance of working on behalf of vulnerable communities. After graduation, Stephanie aspires to work in advocacy or the nonprofit sector.

“This Connecting Experience has solidified my plans to pursue a life of work in the nonprofit or advocacy world. After working on something so meaningful it would be impossible for me to do work that wasn't impacting the lives of those most in need.”