Discovery Scholars Program

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Miah Ornelas

Miah Orneals
Graduation Year:
Fall 2021
"Everything that DSP has done for me and being in School of Undergraduate Studies has shaped me to be the strong powerful woman I am today!"

What was your first choice major and why were you interested in that major?
I chose biology because I thought it would be good for me. Also I feel that peers around me pressured me to do it.

How did you feel when you found out that you were not accepted into your first choice major, and instead found out you would be admitted to Undergraduate Studies (UGS) as undeclared?
I was sad. But after talking to one of my teachers, he said many times that we don’t truly know what we want to do or study until we get to college and are exposed to a variety of classes. His advice helped me because I then shifted my mind set to take my basics and get them out of the way since freshmen do that anyways.

How has the Discovery Scholars Program (DSP) helped you be more successful at UT?
It helped me become more successful at UT because it gave me a place to feel like I wasn’t alone. There are many people who come in as declared but end up switching majors because they hated what they were studying. DSP gave us a space to talk about the same feelings and to feel safe with what we were all experiencing. Being in the Discovery Scholars Program really gave me exposure to the many different pathways that I could take at the University of Texas. I wouldn’t change my experience for anything!

How has DSP helped you find a major you are excited about?
Discovery Scholars Program helped me find the major I was excited about because they had different types of presenters come in and talk about what they were studying to give us a little more insight as to what we would be studying. It helped so much because looking at a screen trying to pick out what classes you think would best fit your schedule is hard when you feel like you don’t know what you want to do.

What did you learn about yourself through the process of starting out undeclared?
I learned that I have the power to be anything I want to be. If you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything. I also learned to not be so hard on myself because of the social stigma that some of your friends might place on you for not being in a competitive major such as STEM. College is where you discover who YOU are, not what others want you to be!

What would you say to new UT students who will be a part of DSP?
Enjoy it and feel powerful. We get to experience many different opportunities and soon land in a major that we feel passionate about. Don’t feel ashamed and don’t listen to what your parents might say because I know sometimes that can take a huge toll on how you feel about yourself. Take advantage of the liberty you have to expand your knowledge and seek advice and help so that you too can find something you’re passionate about.