Josianne Alwardi

Plan II

With my second year at UT under my belt, I am happy to report that sophomore year was full of memories, lessons, and personal triumphs. One of my favorite classes from this year was Plan II Philosophy with Professor Woodruff. With each new philosopher we discussed, I was forced to examine ethical questions that I never before considered. This class didn’t just demand critical thinking, but also respect and a willingness to reevaluate my beliefs while debating ideas with peers. Outside of the classroom, I continued tutoring at a local high school in history and biology, and helped my students reach their graduation goals. 


This year, the academic enrichment fund supported me significantly as it empowered me to see the world and pursue my goals. This summer, I travelled to France, where I studied in the heart of Paris for six fantastic weeks filled with culture, language, and cuisine (don’t ask me to choose a favorite from all the pastries I tasted, it’s impossible!). As a part of my studies, I visited think tanks like the Jacques Delors Institute, and engaged in meaningful debates with American representatives at international organizations such as the OECD. All in all, my time in Paris left me with a nuanced understanding of France’s role in modern conflicts such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Brexit, and Europe’s refugee crisis — an understanding I am eager to build upon in the security classes I will take at UT this fall.


I also used the academic enrichment fund for my mock trial competitions in court houses across the country. For the first time in seven years, Texas Mock Trial competed at the National Championship tournament in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Not only were we the only Texas team to qualify to the national level of competition, but this year, I was honored to win an All-American witness award, the highest individual award offered by the American Mock Trial Association. 


As the new school year inches closer, I look forward to serving as President of the Texas Mock Trial Team, contemplating civic duty and community engagement with Professor Lee Walker as one of his teaching assistants, tutoring high school students, and growing closer to my community as a member of the Arab Student Association and International Affairs Society.