Since its inception in 2010, the School of Undergraduate Studies’ Summer Exploration Grant has provided competitive funding to students engaging in summer opportunities for academic and career exploration. This year’s awardees are interested in a variety of academic majors and have found unique ways to gain career experience.
An aspiring Radio-Television-Film and Latin American Studies student, Diana Silva will travel to Puerto Rico to volunteer with All Hands and Hearts Smart Response, a nonprofit hurricane relief organization. In addition to her volunteer work, Silva will film a documentary focused on marginalized communities in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Silva’s experience in Puerto Rico will allow her to explore her passion, documentary film, as well as determine if the medium is a good fit with her artistic and career aspirations. “Only through experience can a filmmaker learn what stories they want to tell. This summer trip will be the perfect opportunity to find my voice,” she said.
Mackenzie Robinson’s interest in health professions led her to apply to UT’s urban economic development program in Cape Town, South Africa. Taking part in this program will allow Robinson to gain firsthand experience in health care, and develop valuable skills such as language acquisition, cultural competencies, and professional development. “My time as an international learner will allow me to further build my education in health care and demonstrate that I can meet the needs of diverse cultures,” says Robinson.
A’Layjah Brown’s interest in social responsibility and ethical leadership drew her to the Women’s Club of Costa Rica, an organization providing educational opportunities for Costa Rican youth. Her involvement with the Women’s Club will develop her teaching skills and she looks forward to working with Afro-Latinx youth. Brown hopes to develop a global perspective of the Black diaspora, as well as gain fluency in the local dialects. In addition to developing her language, teaching, and leadership skills, Brown will film a documentary that reflects on her summer journey.
Sarah Fung will explore her interest in global health studies and promotion by taking part in an eight-week internship in Bangkok, Thailand, where she will shadow a physician’s assistant. Fung will gain direct experience in hospital administration, as well as prepare for post-graduation, when she plans to work in the Peace Corps. “Working in another country will give me a taste of what it’s like to acclimate to foreign customs and concepts,” says Fung.
Congratulations to our 2019 Summer Exploration Grant recipients! We look forward to hearing about how their summer experiences helped them progress toward their personal and professional goals.