What career or major did you have in mind when you first arrived at UT?
When I filled out my UT application two years ago, I had one narrow goal in mind: get into the Moody College of Communication and major in public relations. Although I’m not yet a Moody student, I’m proud to say that I’m in the School of Undergraduate Studies.
What was your first reaction when you found out you were accepted to UGS?
Even though UGS may not have been my first choice, I knew that the school’s accommodating staff and supportive advisors would help me achieve my goal of getting into the Moody College of Communication. After my first appointment with my advisor Beth Andre, I knew I was in good hands.
What is the most rewarding class you’ve taken at UT and why?
It would have to be Spanish 610 with Professor Hill. I learned more in one semester than I ever had before, and I’ve studied Spanish for four years! Being bilingual is very beneficial in public relations (or any career) because you have the ability to communicate with a wider audience. This summer I will be taking advanced level courses in Santander, Spain. I feel extremely fortunate to have been accepted into this UT faculty-led program. This experience would not have been possible without Professor Hill, and I really owe him a gracias or two.
What is your favorite study spot on campus?
I have been really loving the Life Sciences Library in the main building lately. I feel like I’m studying in Hogwarts when I’m there…it’s quite magical! I like that it’s a quiet library. I love being around people while studying, but places like the SAC and even the PCL are often too noisy and distracting.
What student organizations or clubs are you involved in?
I’m currently a member of the Texas Public Relations Student Society of America (TPRSSA). It’s really refreshing to be surrounded by a group of students who are not only driven but also passionate about public relations. On most weeks we host a guest speaker to come and share his or her knowledge of PR which really helps us get a first-hand perspective of what being in the industry entails. Our club also organizes agency tours and professional networking events that can lead to future opportunities. This spring break I will be working alongside the SXSW Film Festival Red Carpet Publicist Team, and it wouldn’t have been possible without TPRSSA.
What internships have you done?
I’m currently an intern for Ruta Maya Ltd. and the Mesoamerica Center at UT. My role at Ruta Maya is to be their liaison to the Mesoamerica Center. Ruta Maya is a local coffee company that participates closely with farmer co-ops in Chiapas, Mexico and is greatly influenced by the Mayan culture. The Mesoamerica Center conducts extensive Mayan research, which links the two organizations together. The main objective for this internship is to enhance the perception of Ruta Maya Coffee among individuals and grocery buyers, as well as raise funds for the Mesoamerica Center.
For my internship, I design promotional materials that help build awareness of the Mesoamerica Center’s activities with Ruta Maya customers around the country. I also contact key Ruta Maya employees and clients to educate them about current company goals, and I ensure there is a strong Ruta Maya presence at all Mesoamerica Center events. My internship role at Ruta Maya and the Mesoamerica Center didn’t exist until I inquired about a position, so it’s been really fun coming up with original ideas that I believe could make a positive impact on both groups.
How has the School of Undergraduate Studies affected your overall UT experience?
UGS has consistently been my support line. Every time I have questions or concerns, I know that I can find a UGS advisor to guide me through the process. I’ve gone to several workshops hosted by the school on writing resumes and personal statements, and I left those sessions feeling more confident. I am very thankful for the college and will most likely continue to use their services even after I leave UGS.
What advice do you have for new UGS students or student who are undeclared?
Research! I read articles online, checked out books at the library, and talked to my peers. Many students believe they will have an epiphany one day and know exactly what they want to do with their lives. Although that may be the case for some, it’s important for the majority of us to spend time assessing our skills, reflecting on the things that make us feel the happiest, and then apply that to the job market. It’s important that students don’t limit themselves or decide on a major because of external influences. The world is our oyster and we really can achieve anything we dedicate ourselves to. UGS advisors are a really helpful resource when you’re starting from ground zero and are unsure of what skills you naturally possess.