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.

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.”
photo of Mary Cantu
Major: Psychology; Communication Sciences and Disorders
BDP Certificate: Children & Society
Graduation Year: Spring 2017

Mary Louise Cantu, a Children & Society BDP student, joined Dr. Catharine Echols in the Language Development Lab to help initiate a research study on children’s perception of the credibility of accented speech.

“The most rewarding aspect of this experience has been to work closely with a professor and fellow research assistants in a group setting, which I felt uncomfortable doing before.”
Mathew Oldiges
Major: Nursing
BDP Certificate: Ethics & Leadership
Graduation Year: Fall 2013

Senior nursing major Mathew Oldiges spent the summer at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, as a clinical ethics intern. In addition to shadowing physicians and attending institutional review board hearings, he participated in lectures that explored different ethical frameworks and conducted independent research. Mathew is pursuing a BDP certificate in Ethics & Leadership with a concentration in Ethics of Health Care.

“I am now able to more objectively approach difficult moral and ethical decisions appropriately. My research on the limitations of cultural knowledge has sparked new interests in me.“
Matthew Snidal
Major: Youth and Community Studies, Sociology
BDP Certificate: Social Entrepreneurship & Non-profits
Graduation Year: Spring 2016

Matthew Snidal, a student in the Social Entrepreneurship & Non-profits BDP, spent the summer before his senior year participating in the Research Experience for Undergraduates program, in partnership with the Population Research Center. Through this experience, Matthew was able to conduct a study of the relationship between the number of days a student has been suspended and the likelihood of that student graduating from high school. As a result, Matthew has refined the focus for his future graduate studies, in which he hopes to continue exploring the intersection of education and criminology.

“I've taken many classes at UT that I have enjoyed but this is the first time I've been able to focus my studies on exactly what I wanted to learn about.”
Maya Patel Headshot
Major: Chemistry
BDP Certificate: Public Policy
Graduation Year: Spring 2020

Maya Patel, a Chemistry major completing a BDP in Public Policy, spent the summer in Washington, D.C. as an environmental and policy intern at the Center for American Progress. There she learned a great deal about the day-to-day world of policy making and reflected on her next steps after UT.

“Seeing reports published that I helped write or letters that I wrote be submitted to the Secretary of Interior and Commerce is so incredibly rewarding.”
Megan Maldonado
Major: Sociology, International Relations & Global Studies
BDP Certificate: Ethics & Leadership
Graduation Year: Spring 2016

Ethics & Leadership BDP student Megan Maldonado analyzed the literature on transnational surrogacy practices in India. Among other aspects, she studied risks to reproductive laborers. Megan’s research took her to the Emerging Scholarship in Women’s and Gender Studies Conference at UT in March, and bolstered her credentials as an aspiring scholar.

“Having the responsibility to undertake my own research project has been a reaffirming experience that has given me confidence in my ability to pursue graduate school.”
Michelle Horsley
Major: International Business, Spanish
BDP Certificate: Children & Society
Graduation Year: Fall 2012

In summer 2010, as part of her Children & Society BDP certificate, Michelle interned with Community New Start, a non-profit that focuses on reaching out to children in St. John, TX. She developed new curriculum activities for teachers during the school year and conducted a qualitative study exploring the impact of summer camp on children compared to children not attending a summer camp.

"This internship really helped me understand my BDP because I got to see how children interact within their niche."
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.”
Mrinalini Shah Headshot
Major: Government
BDP Certificate: Public Policy
Graduation Year: Fall 2017

Mrinalini “Nali” Shah, a Government major earning a BDP certificate in Public Policy, interned at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Washington, D.C. As a governmental affairs intern, Nali monitored congressional activity and supported UNHCR staff in their mission to assist refugees.

“Ultimately, I hope to put my scholarship and work experience towards promoting efforts that enable refugees and asylum seekers to lead lives of dignity.”
Nathan Waters
Major: Radio-Television-Film, Computer Science
BDP Certificate: Digital Arts & Media
Graduation Year: Spring 2015

For his Digital Arts & Media creative project, Nathan spent the summer developing a mobile video game called “The Runners.” Set in an urban landscape, Nathan leads the player through a zombie chase.

"Since diving into the art form of video games, I have had a drive to learn everything I can about the medium. This has taken me from reading about everything from the psychology of horror to the nuance of typography."