Jessica D'Souza

“I look forward to utilizing my knowledge of the scientific side of health combined with my understanding of how social factors influence the choices we make and our chances at a healthy life.”

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Major: Sociology (Pre-Medicine Student; Minor - Political Science)
Expected Graduated: May 2014

UT Dallas Achievements & Activities

  • McDermott Scholar
  • CV Honors Program
  • Bill Archer Fellow
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
  • Dean’s List
  • Student Ambassador
  • Student Government: Communications Chair, Freshmen Senator of the Year
  • Studied and Volunteered abroad in Peru, Argentina and Spain
  • Rainbow Days Kids Volunteer
  • North Texas Undergraduate Conference of Psychology - Poster Presentation

Deciding on Sociology

The summer before my freshmen year, when I was planning my class schedule, I had the option of enrolling in “Introduction to Psychology” or “Introduction to Sociology”. Honestly, I wasn’t too sure what sociology was about, which is precisely why I chose it – I decided to explore something new! It quickly became my favorite class. The functioning of societies has always interested me and sociology presents the opportunity to study many topics through this lens.

In addition to being a sociology major, I’m also a pre-medicine student. I concretely chose to major in sociology because I believe it offers me the best path into public health. While maintaining my passion for health, I’m able to study how the interaction of social factors impacts different populations.

With this combination of medicine, sociology and political science, I can bring a unique perspective to communities and organizations I may work with and be a creative, broad thinking contributor.

My EPPS Success

I attribute my success in EPPS to the faculty in this school who have always been available and happy to provide class help, guidance in planning my collegiate career, and advice and encouragement to take advantage of all of the opportunities before me. In addition to offering captivating, interactive and challenging courses that have changed the way I think, these professors truly care about the success of their students and take the time to get to know them.

From internships to study abroad to volunteering to classes, I’ve learned the most and received unbelievable guidance from talking to people. The EPPS faculty, other students and all of the interesting people I’ve met through these experiences have broadened my perspective.

EPPS has also offered an amazing amount of flexibility that permits me to be a pre-medicine student and sociology major, to study abroad, and to spend a semester in Washington, D.C. I’m grateful for the help of my professors and advisors who have made it possible for me to accomplish these things and fit in all my classes. Though four years seemed like plenty of time during my freshmen year, I appreciate their help in developing a more realistic perspective of how quickly time passes.

Plans for the Future

After graduating I plan to pursue a career in public health. Currently, I’m exploring firsthand what specific path I’d like to take. As one can have great impact working as a practicing physician, and because I love working with people and families, I plan to attend medical school. However, sociology, among other factors, has demonstrated to me the effectiveness of macro-level intervention, such as preventive, educational and community-level health. Therefore, I’m highly motivated to contribute to the well-being of the public through legislative efforts, advocacy and community health programs.

I look forward to utilizing my knowledge of the scientific side of health combined with my understanding of how social factors influence the choices we make and our chances at a healthy life.

Advice to Prospective EPPS Students

Don’t be afraid to try something new, and furthermore, pursue it. Trying out a class that sounds interesting and pursuing what you’re passionate about will help you to make the most of your four years, as you discover your own path. There are diverse trajectories that lead to a productive career and contribution to society. The more possibilities you consider, the more likely you are to find a good fit for your area of interest.

There are many factors that make EPPS an advisable choice. In addition to the classes offered, consider the opportunities to interact with faculty and to tailor your degree with specific internships that make this school a great path to a successful college experience and future career.

Other Interests

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling and reading. I am also an avid baker and enjoy learning about (and eating!) food from other cultures. Since coming to UT Dallas, I’ve had the pleasure of running half-marathons around the country with friends.