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.

Camila Olmedo-Mendez
Major: Economics
BDP Certificate: Social Entrepreneurship & Non-profits
Graduation Year: Spring 2016

Economics major Camila Olmedo-Mendez, a student in the Social Entrepreneurship & Non-profits BDP, spent her summer interning at the Yunus Centre in Dhaka, Bangladesh. While there she studied and analyzed social business models and gained firsthand experience with social businesses on site visits. She also had the opportunity to meet Professor Yunus, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his innovative efforts to end poverty through microfinance. This experience has affirmed Camila’s desire to pursue a career in sustainable development, and given her confidence in her potential as a social entrepreneur.

“Being submerged in the social business hub, and having the opportunity to meet and interview Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, has made me realize I do have an entrepreneurial spirit and potential.”
Caroline Starling headshot
Major: Biology Honors
BDP Certificate: Social Inequality, Health & Policy
Graduation Year: Spring 2017

Caroline Starling, a Social Inequality, Health & Policy BDP student, connected her interests in medicine and public health as an intern with the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas (WHFPT). As a Research and Evaluation Intern, she assisted with data analysis related to Title X funding and agencies’ financial sustainability.

"The Connecting Experience helped me to see the importance of public health research to improving population health outcomes and provided a chance for me to practice skills I had developed in my UT courses."
Casey Locey
Major: Social Work, Psychology
BDP Certificate: Children & Society
Graduation Year: Spring 2014

Children & Society BDP student Casey Locey interned with SafePlace, a non-profit organization that helps survivors of interpersonal violence and sexual assault.

"This internship showed me ways to support children and taught me intervention perspectives based on developmental psychology and strengths-based social work models."
Chelsea Berchon
Major: Psychology
BDP Certificate: Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship
Graduation Year: Spring 2015

Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship BDP student Chelsea Berchon concluded her undergraduate career by developing the burgeoning mobile application Budz. The startup, developed with a team of three others, will enable users to turn music listening through their phones into a social experience. Chelsea, who graduated in May with a psychology degree, deepened her understanding of various disciplines while attempting to build a company up from the ground.

“…working with Budz has expanded my understanding of the legal industry, finances, marketing, and so much more. Thus, it has opened my eyes for any job that falls into my path.”
Christine Edomwande
Major: Human Development and Family Sciences
BDP Certificate: Children & Society
Graduation Year: Spring 2015

Children & Society BDP student Christine Edomwande spent her final semester at UT investigating health disparities in urban versus rural neighborhoods in central Texas. In particular, she examined differences in the prevalence of childhood asthma. This was Christine’s first time conducting independent research, and it gave her the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills she developed in her statistics and research methods coursework. Christine, who graduated this May with a degree in human development and family sciences, plans to pursue a career in medicine with a focus on underserved and minority communities.

“My career goal is to become a pediatrician, however, I have become interested in achieving additional goals because of my BDP experiences…. In the future, I hope to tackle minority health disparities and reach out to underserved communities by providing these communities with education, resources, and access to preventive care.”
Clarissa Riojas
Major: English, Mexican American Studies
Graduation Year: Spring 2014

Clarissa Riojas is a Children & Society BDP student who spent the fall 2013 semester interning with the Texas Center for Education Policy. She helped organize a conference to address the need for more Latino children’s literature in libraries and schools, and she also helped initiate the process of developing a Mexican American Saturday school.

"It was inspiring to see how collaboration between a group of powerful and passionate individuals helped to create change in the community."
Cody Church headshot
Major: Political Communication; American Studies
BDP Certificate: Environment & Sustainability
Graduation Year: Spring 2018

Cody Church, completing a BDP certificate in Environment & Sustainability, undertook an independent research project called “Natural Burial: The Effect of Resurgent Social Death Practices on Attitudes toward Environmentalism among the Working Class,” which explored the funeral industry and possible motivations for a return to natural burial methods.

"Finding the connections between environmental and social issues through this project proved to be interesting, and I would love to pursue the subject further in the future."
Daniella Lewis
Major: Architecture
BDP Certificate: Environment & Sustainability
Graduation Year: Spring 2013

As an Environment & Sustainability BDP student, Daniella researched and planned the implementation of UT’s first micro farm, a continuation of the UT Community Garden project. Her research consisted of covering all bases to make the implementation of the UT micro farm a success, including documenting precedent projects from other university campuses, defining project objectives, selecting technologies for irrigation and pest control, and developing a calendar for garden maintenance.

"This Connecting Experience has profoundly shaped both my university experience and my future plans beyond graduation. I discovered and have started to explore my passion for food, society, and the environment."
photo of Danielle Green
Major: Psychology; Communication Sciences and Disorders
BDP Certificate: Children & Society
Graduation Year: Spring 2017

Children & Society BDP student Danielle Green interned with the Autism Society of Central Texas, where she worked with the community directly as well as helped to facilitate major events, including the featured events during National Autism Awareness Month.

“I have had a passion for working with kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder for a while now and having the opportunity to have hands-on experience with this community in Austin was really influential.”
Danielle Meyer
Major: Art History
BDP Certificate: Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship
Graduation Year: Spring 2017

Art history major Danielle Meyer traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, for a summer internship with Endeavor, a global organization that fosters and supports entrepreneurship. While there, Danielle collaborated with another intern to design an entrepreneurship challenge for Turkish university students. This experience showed Danielle how to apply creativity to the business world, and it has encouraged her to consider living and working abroad after graduation. Danielle is earning a BDP certificate in Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship.

“This Connecting Experience has shaped my future plans by showing me I can use my creativity in unconventional ways.”