Maija Wallace

“For someone who wants to work on an international scale, the many study abroad experiences are invaluable.”

Hometown: Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Major: International Political Economy
Expected Graduated: May 2013

UT Dallas Achievements & Activities

  • Eugene McDermott Scholar
  • CV Honor's Program
  • Dean's List
  • President's Volunteer Service Award, Gold Award
  • National Model United Nations DC Conference (2010 Best Delegation - Committee for Narcotic Drugs; Honorable Mention Overall - Pakistan Delegation)
  • Legal Aid of Arkansas Intern
  • DFW International Community Alliance Intern
  • Literacy Instruction for Texas Volunteer ESL Instructor
  • International Rescue Committee Volunteer Family Mentor
  • Heart House Dallas Volunteer
  • Spanish Club
  • French Student Association
  • Salsa Dancing (UT Dallas Activities Center)

Deciding on International Political Economy

Like many students, I had no idea what I wanted to study my senior year of high school. After being accepted to UT Dallas, I deferred my enrollment to take a year off and go abroad to Bolivia through the Rotary International Youth Exchange program. My year there changed my life. The development issues I saw on a daily basis inspired me, and I fell in love with the Bolivian culture and Spanish language. When I returned to the United States, I knew I wanted to study something international and learn more about my newfound passion.

International Political Economy has been the perfect major for me. It's given me the opportunity to travel the world, learn more languages and study major international issues like the war on drugs and development challenges in Africa. Additionally, it gives me a strong basis in economics that traditional international relations programs don't offer.

My EPPS Success

Many factors contribute to my success in EPPS, particularly my passion for my major and the guidance I receive from the many wonderful professors at UT Dallas. Dr. Jennifer Holmes and Dr. Lloyd Jeff Dumas have both served as mentors for me since my freshman year and are always interested in helping me achieve academic success. My academic advisor, Nora Hernandez, is always extremely helpful and encouraging, and animated professors like Dr. Nathan Berg help make the learning process enjoyable.

One of my favorite things about EPPS faculty and staff are their willingness to work with students to meet their study abroad goals, especially within the International Political Economy major. EPPS allowed me to defer my enrollment to spend a year in Bolivia before starting classes and then made it possible for me to study a summer in Argentina. In my junior year, I spent a semester in France and a semester in Senegal. I learned to speak French at the proficient C1 level and I even became conversational in the West African language of Wolof, all while earning credit towards my degree. I then finished out my year with a month-long, intensive course in Spanish-English interpretation in Spain. For someone who wants to work on an international scale, these experiences were invaluable.

Plans for the Future

After graduation, I plan to pursue a graduate degree in anthropology where I can focus on the cultural and linguistic issues associated with immigration. I also hope to do more overseas travel so that I can continue to learn about cultures and languages for my academic work.

Advice to Prospective EPPS Students

EPPS is a great program. If you're interested in one of the EPPS majors, you should definitely take time to talk to an advisor about it or email a professor about an interesting class. The faculty members are extremely helpful and always willing to share their knowledge. Plus, we find ways to have fun! I won first place in the EPPS pie-eating contest at the start of my sophomore year!

Other Interests

In my free time, I like to travel, read, find ways to practice my foreign language skills and go Latin dancing. I'm very fortunate to be in a program that really fits me because many of my professors are interested in similar things. I always enjoy when they give me travel advice or suggest good TV shows to watch in Spanish.