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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.

Julia Chernis
Major: Biochemistry
BDP Certificate: Digital Arts & Media
Graduation Year: Spring 2016

Digital Arts & Media BDP student Julia Chernis created an animation affirming the safety of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. A biochemistry major, she sought to counter the misperceptions of family members and friends with non-science backgrounds, who thought the medical procedure harmful. The experience has encouraged Julia to consider a career designing educational tools for medical students, in addition to practicing medicine.

“Working on this project has reminded me how much I enjoy creating new media and it has influenced me to seek out ways to incorporate digital art into my future medical career goals.”
Jessie Neuendorff
Major: Advertising
BDP Certificate: Ethics & Leadership
Graduation Year: Spring 2015

Ethics & Leadership BDP student Jessie Neuendorff spent her final semester at UT studying native advertising on social media sites. She analyzed the difficulties regulatory bodies experience as technology shifts rapidly, and audience perceptions of quickly adapting advertising strategies. After completing her degree in May, Jessie will continue her research while working at an advertising firm. She eventually plans to attend graduate school.

“It took a lot of persistence to fight for this Connecting Experience, and it paid off. That's the beauty of a BDP: you can make it into whatever you want.”
James Rauhut
Major: Management Information Systems
BDP Certificate: Digital Arts & Media
Graduation Year: Spring 2015

Digital Arts & Media BDP student James Rauhut set out to build a bridge between science and faith during his last semester at UT. His creative project, Alpha of Genesis, is an interactive web experience blending text from the Bible’s opening chapter with astrological, biological, and chemical images, among others. The experience not only helped James hone his web development skills, but also sparked meaningful conversations on the topic of religion and science.

“Overall, each phase of the project has pushed me to learn a new aspect of web design. This will be very helpful when I start my full-time job soon.”
Blair Robbins
Major: Plan II
BDP Certificate: Human Rights & Social Justice
Graduation Year: Spring 2015

Human Rights & Social Justice BDP student Blair Robbins researched volunteer tourism programs as part of her undergraduate thesis. Applying a postcolonial lens while maintaining historical insights, she analyzed the participation of mostly American, British, and Australian college-aged students in “ethical” short-term trips to developing countries. This experience prepared Blair for her summer internship at a local nonprofit, where she examines Texas police forces’ use of military surplus equipment.

“I have learned to speak about a timely and contentious topic in a way that people can relate to and understand. I have also learned more about how larger political and historical contexts inform popular perceptions and small-scale interpersonal interactions, leading to subtle perpetuations of power and oppression.”
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.”
Major: Theatre & Dance, Advertising
Graduation Year: Spring 2015

Sara Robillard, who graduated in May with a BDP certificate in Global Studies, spent her final semester at UT interning for the U.S. State Department. Sara created content, which the department ultimately distributed to embassies, explaining transatlantic trade. She intends to apply lessons learned from this experience to her future work in the nonprofit sector.

“While I had previous experience in social media, I'd never worked on social media for a government body and that's a whole different ball game.”
Molly Marek
Major: Applied Learning & Development
BDP Certificate: Children & Society
Graduation Year: Spring 2017

Molly Marek, a Children & Society BDP student, integrated education with the dramatic arts as an intern at the Pollyanna Theatre Company. Molly planned and employed performance-based lessons at schools around Austin as part of the organization’s endeavor to provide audience experiences for students without means to pay for tickets. The experience sparked Molly’s interest in exploring multidisciplinary research at the graduate level.

“Originally, I intended to use this internship to learn more about incorporating the arts into the classroom, but through my experience, I have discovered my desire to attend graduate school and research the interaction between learning and the arts.”
Martina Belozerco
Major: Biology
BDP Certificate: Social Inequality, Health & Policy
Graduation Year: Fall 2015

Social Inequality, Health & Policy BDP student Martina Belozerco researched the inclusion of African-American stereotypes in public service announcements about HIV. Her project built on experience as an outreach specialist working with people and communities impacted by the virus. Martina aspires to continue developing as a patient advocate and now feels more aware of obstacles she might face in that role.

“I know now that I cannot effectively serve marginalized populations if I am unwilling to acknowledge the existence of messaging that deters those highest at-risk from seeking medical help.”
Major Ellis
Major: Economics
BDP Certificate: Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship
Graduation Year: Spring 2016

Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship BDP student Major Ellis interned at Austin technology startup accelerator and co-working space Capital Factory, where he worked to identify local early-stage companies. After graduation, Major plans to launch his own entrepreneurial endeavor. He now feels connected to key players in the Austin startup scene and better equipped to deliver solid pitches to potential investors.

“The connections I made and the people I met were the most rewarding aspects of my internship. I met a diverse range of entrepreneurs and made connections that will give me lasting opportunities and relationships.”
Lily Hayes
Major: Dance, Geography
BDP Certificate: Environment & Sustainability
Graduation Year: Spring 2015

Environment & Sustainability BDP student Lily Hayes worked this spring to make the Forty Acres a more beautiful and sustainable place. An intern with the UT Landscape Services Division of Urban Forestry, Lily catalogued and mapped campus trees and assisted in assuring that trees removed from campus were repurposed. She now feels more prepared to pursue a career in energy and resource management, conservation, or environmental justice.

“I feel as if I am more well-rounded in my education because I have now been able to work directly in environmental policy, which is the area that I would like to pursue.”