Discovery Scholars Program

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Meet Our Staff

DSP staff member Phaedra WhitePhaedra White Abbott

Phaedra has been employed at The University of Texas at Austin since 2001 and has been with the School of Undergraduate Studies since its inception. She received her B.A. in music education from Louisiana State University and an M.Ed. in college student personnel from Loyola University Chicago. She has spent her entire professional career working with college and post-graduate students and loves assisting students in getting the maximum out of their educational experience. Phaedra was raised in Tallahassee, Florida, and loves to travel and experience different cultures.

DSP staff member Lily DoñesLily Doñes
Graduate Assistant

Lily has been a college life coach with the Discovery Scholars Program since July 2015. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2013 and has a B.A. in both psychology and theatre and dance. Lily is currently pursuing a M.Ed. in educational psychology with a specialization in counselor education for school counseling and for higher education counseling and student affairs . As part of her master’s, Lily is currently completing a practicum with UT’s Counseling and Mental Health Center, where she works for the Counselors in Academic Residence Program as a counselor for undergraduates majoring in business and education. In her free time she enjoys lifting heavy weights.

DSP staff member Scott GaryScott Gary
Student Development Specialist

Scott has been a college life coach with the Discovery Scholars Program since May 2015. He has a professional background built upon advising college students with a relationship-driven approach. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in business administration in 2013, and before joining the Discovery Scholars Program, he served as an AmeriCorps member with the Austin-based non-profit College Forward. Currently pursuing his M.Ed. in higher education leadership at The University of Texas at Austin, Scott spends his free time exploring the Austin area and trying out new restaurants.

DSP staff member Rebecca Syrpis Rebecca Syrpis
Administrative Assistant

A native Austinite, Rebecca has worked as an administrative assistant for the Discovery Scholars Program since March 2018. A former restaurant owner and senior administrative associate at UT’s Graduate Studies office, Rebecca moved back to Austin in 2017 after spending several years traveling throughout the United States and Europe. She enjoys meeting and interacting with students and will be completing her Associates’ degree in foreign language education in the fall of 2018. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys traveling, cooking Greek cuisine and spending time with family.

DSP staff member Olyvia MoriartyOlyvia Moriarty
Student Development Specialist

Olyvia graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2015, where she received a B.A. in Spanish literature and culture and minored in women’s and gender studies. Upon graduating, Olyvia began working as a student services associate in UNCC’s business advising office before moving to Austin in 2016, where she began working as an administrative associate for the Discovery Scholars Program. Currently a college life coach for DSP, Olyvia enjoys the sense of community inherent to student affairs work.

DSP staff member Emily SchroederEmily Schroeder
Program Coordinator

Emily joined the Discovery Scholars Program as a program coordinator in December 2012. She earned her M.Ed. in student personnel in higher education from the University of Florida in April 2011, and holds a B.S. in human resource development from Texas A&M University. She has a broad range of experience in higher education, including peer mentoring, orientation, housing and residential life, and health and promotion services. In her free time, Emily enjoys country western dancing and a delicious Tex Mex meal.