Olivia Castillo

Plan II and Physics

After one year of college, I am even more uncertain about my future career. Majoring in Plan II and physics with a business minor and Uteach certificate, I have been exposed to so many different fields that I can see myself enjoying as a future career. My favorite class was Lee Walker and Mark Strama’s Civic Viewpoints in which we investigated civic engagement through people who were making impactful contributions to the world in their various careers.

While in college, I am seeking to continue pursuing the passions I cultivated in high school. I became a CoDirector of Women’s Resource Agency, a branch of student government dedicated to empowering women and other gender minorities. Additionally, I became an officer for Society of Physics Students where I do a lot of departmental advocacy while hosting weekly meetings to foster a welcoming environment for physics undergraduates. The Walker Fellowship, another organization I participate in, centers on community service as well as learning how to design and execute sustainable, longterm civic initiatives. Not only have I absorbed so much, but I also get to serve the Austin community with a wonderful group of peers! Furthermore, I decided to participate in the Uteach program where I taught elementary kids animal behavioral science and studied the science behind effective teaching methods. Last, I undertook two internships related to legislative politics. My first internship was for an advocacy organization where I worked on grassroots mobilization and the beginning stages of policy development. For my second internship, I worked directly for a Texas House representative and was exposed to the inner workings of the legislative branch. Although I enjoyed the experience, it helped me narrow my future career options by teaching me what I did *not* want to do. Together, these jobs provided valuable insights into the legislative process through opposite perspectives.

Despite pursuing many familiar interests, I also actively stepped out of my comfort zone this past year by taking classes unrelated to physics, embracing new experiences, and going with the flow. For example, much to the surprise of my family, I decided to do an intensive summer program through McCombs im which I am taking five threehour business classes. The workload is atrocious, but I am gaining insights into how business run and meeting great people outside of my circle. Similarly, Professor Loehlin focused his Plan II World Literature course on theatre and forced us to perform! I would not have signed up for his class if I knew he would do that, but it ended up being one of the best academic experiences I had this year and unlike any English class I’ve experienced. As someone who is mildly afraid of heights, I did not expect to LOVE bouldering, but it is something new I tried that I now force all of my friends to try. Finally, I simply embraced the general experiences and opportunities that college life presents. From jumping off a bridge at Barton to attending guest lectures offered at UT, I’ve immersed myself in the vibrant college culture.

I am excited for what the next couple of years will bring, and I cannot wait to spend them with my
Dedman family!