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2018 Summer Exploration Grant Recipients Hone Career Goals

As students prepare for summer break, four Undergraduate Studies (UGS) students are planning to explore majors and careers. UGS is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Summer Exploration Grant: Edenya Asgedom, Kirk Baltzell, Ethan Cavazos, and Evana Wang, whose summer experiences range from interning in South Africa to touring with a world-renowned drum corps.

Urban Economic Development in South Africa

Before Edenya Asgedom declares her major in economics, she will gain first-hand urban economic development experience in South Africa through a service-learning internship. Partnering with diverse, local organizations will allow her to learn more about how urban development can impact South Africa’s culture. Her day-to-day tasks will include helping people with financial paperwork and organizing workshops for community groups. Asgedom’s experience this summer will offer new perspectives on the culture and help refine her career trajectory.

Drum Corps Percussionist

Kirk Baltzell is spending his summer touring as a percussionist for Carolina Crown, a world-renowned competitive drum corps. Baltzell’s goals include transferring into UT Austin’s Department of Theatre and Dance, getting involved with technical theatre, and becoming a fine arts administrator. His experience with Carolina Crown will introduce him to the day-to-day functions of professional arts organizations and help clarify his career path. Additionally, Baltzell will further polish his performance skills and allow him to make valuable connections within the fine arts field.

Researching Insect Communities

Ethan Cavazos’ microbiology research focuses on social insects like honey bees and their mechanisms for combating the spread of disease within their communities. As a researcher with UT’s Freshman Research Initiative, this summer Cavazos will actually experience a career in research. Simultaneously, he will learn teaching skills that he can apply this fall as he teaches the incoming class of first-year researchers at UT Austin. Cavazos says that a summer filled with research will help him choose an area of interest and determine if the academic research path is the right fit.

Sustainable Design with Habitat for Humanity

Evana Wang will explore her goal of majoring in civil engineering with a focus on sustainable design through an internship with Habitat for Humanity in Dallas. This summer, Wang will have hands-on design training at construction sites and attend weekly City of Dallas committee meetings to learn about the administrative and governmental aspects of civil engineering projects. With this holistic training, Wang will be able to narrow her research focus and learn more about careers in the engineering field.

About the Summer Exploration Grant

The School of Undergraduate Studies offers competitive grants to students seeking funds to pursue academic and career exploration. Past Summer Exploration Grant recipients have taught English in Peru, provided medical and dental services in Honduras, learned about agricultural engineering in northern Africa, and observed speech-language pathologists in Texas.

Grant applicants must be enrolled in UGS and submit a current résumé, personal statement describing the goals of their summer experience, proposed budget, and a letter of recommendation from a professor or TA. Grants can be requested in any amount up to $2,000. Learn more about the grant and application process.