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Meet UGS Students

Acacia Coronado
Major: Journalism
BDP Certificate: Human Rights & Social Justice
Graduation Year: December 2019

Acacia Coronado is a corps member with the Report for America/Associated Press statehouse news initiative. Her areas of focus include Texas politics, the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas, the 2020 election, voting, crime, racial injustice, and minority communities.

"The classes that I took through BDP on human rights and social justice broadened my horizons and allowed me to know and understand a diverse array of communities and peoples and their struggles. This gave me a deeper sense of purpose, a desire to explore and listen, and a better idea of the difference I wanted to make through storytelling."
Maurizio Marcotulli
Major: Civil Engineering
BDP Certificate: Environment & Sustainability
Graduation Year: Spring 2022

Maurizio Marcotulli, a civil engineering major pursuing a BDP certificate in Environment & Sustainability, completed an independent research project where he looked at the applicability of small modular reactors in Latin America. His goal was to see whether there were systemic reasons that small modular reactors could compete on more even grounds with the current popular hydroelectric energy in the region.

"The most rewarding aspect of this experience was how humbling it was. In many ways, I considered myself well informed about most energy sources, as it is a passion of mine, but when I was fully immersed into the world of nuclear energy, I realized that I was naive and out of my element. There were many things considered common knowledge that I had to learn as a foundation to even begin my research, but once I finally got going it was all the more rewarding."
Destiny Gonzales
Major: Science-based psychology
BDP Certificate: Design Strategies
Graduation Year: Spring 2021

Destiny Gonzales, a Psychology major pursuing a BDP Certificate in Design Strategies, worked at ZTech as a UI/UX designer and user researcher. She conducted research on user behavior and identified how the organization could accurately and creatively address user needs.

"I was initially focused on integrating design into my psychology background and becoming more of a generalist in design without any specialization. After this Connecting Experience, I have gained confidence as a UI/UX designer and user researcher, and would like to pursue opportunities that incorporate psychology in my design work."
Jacob Blas
Major: Double major in Mexican American & Latina/o Studies and Rhetoric & Writing
BDP Certificate: Human Rights & Social Justice
Graduation Year: Spring 2021

Jacob Blas is pursuing a BDP certificate in Human Rights & Social Justice. This summer, he worked with the Rapoport Center and researchers from Harvard University and Northeastern University, on a research project entitled “The Persistence of Inequality: ‘Essential’ Work and COVID-19” where they looked at the ways the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities among Latinx construction workers in Austin. They also looked at legal and political drivers that have made COVID-19 especially destructive to Latinx and other Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities.

"It is powerful knowing that the work we did this summer will be used to inform, shape, and enhance scholarship and policy in the future."
Photo of Meera Sam standing out in a bright red blazer, smiling
Major: Government and Sociology
Graduation Year: Spring 2022
There’s no one right way to pursue research. There are so many different ways that you can get involved, be that with a professor, a program on campus, or independently. Research is very flexible and there are so many great resources at UT that will help you find what pathway fits you best!
Image of Emily Prines sitting in front of skeleton display case in the UT Anthropology department, giving the Hook Em Horns sign
Major: Anthropology
Graduation Year: Summer 2020
Alexis McDonald
Major: Psychology
Graduation Year: Spring 2020
I think it’s important as we provide a voice for student experiences and provide support for UT students that we don’t forget to acknowledge the additional barriers that might affect traditionally marginalized groups of students. We must be intentional about our modes of support and continue to listen to the unheard.
Rebecca Chen LaunchPad Innovation Fellow
Major: Advertising
Graduation Year: Spring 2020
“A story is based on what people think is important, so when we live a story, we are telling people around us what we think is important.” -Donald Miller
Nathan Hughes
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Graduation Year: 2020
"Action is the antidote to despair." -Joan Baez
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Graduation Year: Spring 2021

Andres Najera is a 2019-2020 Undergraduate Research Ambassador and member of the Academy of Undergraduate Researchers Across Texas.

Andres Najera is a 2019-2020 Undergraduate Research Ambassador and member of the Academy of Undergraduate Researchers Across Texas.

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