“I feel like EPPS is a hidden gem among Texas colleges.”
Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas
Major: International Political Economy
Expected Graduated: May 2013
UT Dallas Achievements & Activities
- Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity
- Student Government Secretary
- Student Ambassadors, Recruitment Chair
- EPPS Dean's Council
- Pre-Law Society
- Meteor Theater
- Orientation Team Mentor
- UTD TV Anchor
- Mock Trial
- Model United Nations
- Dean's List
- Distinguished Greek Leader of the Year
- Homecoming King
Deciding on International Political Economy
When I was applying to colleges, I applied everywhere as a business major. I thought that's what I wanted to do. When I was checking out UT Dallas, I saw this International Political Economy major and my eyes lit up - this sounded like something right up my alley. I reviewed the degree plans online and decided right then and there that it was a fit. I'd always been interested in international relations, but this encompassed international relations and even more. The degree gave me options to explore the political, economic and cultural realms of interactions between different countries.
I'm focusing on Latin America within my degree, and this was something that I didn't figure out until I came to UT Dallas. I took a class with Dr. Monica Rankin who is actually an Arts & Humanities professor, but teaches classes that are applicable to IPE about the history of the Cuban revolution. I fell head over heels for Cuba. I loved every ounce of homework that I was assigned in that class. I also connected with EPPS professors that were interested in Latin America like Dr. Jennifer Holmes and Dr. Sheila Pineres, who encouraged me to dive deeper into Latin American studies. I took a leap of faith, and I've never turned back.
My EPPS Success
The major contributing factor in my success in EPPS would have to be the professors, hands down. I feel like EPPS is a hidden gem among Texas colleges. The professors here actually care about their individual students and are interested in their success. They're always available to talk, grab some lunch, give career advice, or simply further explain some of the homework. For example, I took an international finance class with Dr. Sheila Pineres, and really got a chance to know her outside the classroom. I’m still really undecided about a career choice, but she was right there to offer me recommendations. She's also one of the reasons that I pursued and was offered an internship at Southwest Airlines this fall in their Community Affairs and Grassroots department (basically governmental relations).
In addition to the supportive faculty, the staff has also helped me succeed. The advisors are wonderful. Throughout my couple of years here, I've gotten to know not only Nora Hernandez, but also Lynne Boyer and Sheila Rollerson, and all of them are more than willing to help with your every need, whether it's recommending classes or making sure you graduate on time. Dean Marquart is also extremely receptive to students' needs. He started an EPPS Dean's Council in order to better interact with his students. It's a place where students can come with recommendations about how EPPS could improve.
Plans for the Future
During the rest of my studies at UT Dallas, I plan to study abroad in Cuba as well as participate in the Archer program in Washington, D.C. After graduation, the door is wide open. Currently, I see myself attending law school and taking a job at a firm helping businesses expand into Latin America, one of the world's most burgeoning markets.
Advice to Prospective EPPS Students
I would tell prospective EPPS students to go for it! EPPS truly is a treasure. The variety of degrees and classes, along with support from faculty and staff, helps to make it the perfect learning environment. I wouldn't have it any other way.
My free time is spent with hanging out with friends, watching movies, reading books, eating well and traveling the world.