Liberal Arts Honors/International Relations
Sophomore year was a time to define previous interests and discover new ones. Throughout the year, I dedicated more time to leadership and extracurricular opportunities outside of the classroom while also taking time to work towards my academic goals. I returned to Austin after one week of vacation between the University’s intensive Arabic Summer Institute and the beginning of the fall semester. The Summer Institute was an incredibly rewarding scholastic experience and the first time I have intensely on a single subject every day for 10 weeks. As such, it should come as no surprise that I quickly decided to add Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures as a second major, and also made the decision to pursue a certificate program in Security Studies. In doing so, I had access to several unique classes such as “International Security” taught by UT’s very own in-house CIA analyst and class which focuses specifically on the Moroccan dialect of Arabic. I even took advantage of the University’s fine arts program and took private beginner cello lessons for credit.
At the beginning of the fall semester I also made the decision to get more involved around campus and Austin as a whole. I began working as a tutor/mentor for Arabic-speaking refugee students at a local middle school and made the decision to join Texas Blazers, a men’s service and spirit organization. My work through Texas Blazers has allowed me to not only serve UT as an official host, but also to serve the Austin community: I’ve worked as a mentor at a low-income high school in East Austin as well as co-designed and implemented a community garden. In the next year, I’ll continue to prioritize service, especially on campus, as I serve in my new position as Texas Blazers’ Vice-Chair of Campus Service.
This summer I’ll pursue my interests in the Middle East and national security through two summer programs. First I will be travelling to Washington DC through a fully-funded Texas Intelligence Project, where I will be studying America’s national intelligence community through firsthand experiences and conversations with experts in the field. I will then travel to Ibri, Oman through the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship program; in Oman I will study Arabic for eight weeks while also taking part in an important cultural exchange in the Middle East for the first time.
As always, I would like to finally thank the Dedman family and Dedman Scholars community for all of their support. Without the generosity of the Dedmans, none of these experiences would have been possible, and I am extremely grateful for their constant support. Thank you and Hook ‘em!