The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Meet our Peer Mentors 2019-2020

We would like to introduce this year's Jefferson Scholar Mentors for 2019-2020. Our peer mentors are carefully selected upperclassmen that indicate an enthusiasm for the program and willingness to offer support and guidance to our incoming freshmen. However, if you are a continuing Jefferson Scholar please feel free to contact our mentors with questions or to participate in group activities. All Jefferson Scholars are welcome!

 


Angelina Alanis

Angelina Alanis 

Angelina Alanis is a third-year in the Business Honors Program. She is from Austin and would to show someone around all of the best coffee shops and talk about music and traveling. So far her favorite class in the Jefferson Scholars Program has been the Bible and interpreters in Dr. Yoo. She plans on getting a certificate in social entrepreneurship and non-profits during the rest of her time at UT. 

 

aangelinamari@gmail.com


Kira Azulay

Kira Azulay

Kira is a junior from Austin in the Liberal Arts Honors program and studying Russian. She's taken two JSP classes so far, ‘Classical Philosophy and Literature’ and ‘The Bible and Its Interpreters.’ She enjoys being a part of JSP because of the thought-provoking classes and opportunities to get to know faculty. Outside of JSP, her favorite class she's taken is 'Russian through Drama', where her class produced a Soviet-era play in Russian. When Kira's not in class, she likes playing soccer and going to concerts.

 

kirazulay@gmail.com


Jeffrey Baker

Jeffrey Baker

Jeffrey is a second year Business major and was born in Houston, Texas. He has a lot of experience internationally and with different cultures. He’s always had an interest in classic literature and found the Jefferson Scholars Program as a way to explore that. Jeffrey likes to spend his free time watching all different types of movies and his favourite is either Snakes on a Plane or Jurassic Park. He also enjoys staying up with certain television shows and has a passion for music. All of the professors and experiences he’s had so far in the program have been fantastic and I took the opportunity as a Peer Mentor to stay involved with the program.

 

jc17baker@gmail.com



Kelsi Cox

Kelsi Cox

Kelsi is a second-year Neuroscience and Philosophy major. She loves running, photography, dark chocolate and David Bowie, and in her free time, she volunteers as a research assistant for the Texas Twin Project and drinks far too much coffee for her own good. (Well, that last bit is just never not true.) During her time with the Jefferson Center, she has come to realize that the most compelling questions about the human experience cannot even be understood, much less answered, until one considers them in light of the natural manifestations of that experience. She has found that closely reading and discussing the core texts enable one to do just that, and she hopes to show incoming Jefferson students that the pursuit of these texts and the questions which they raise can completely reshape their understanding of the human condition and, ultimately, of themselves.

Oh, and do ask her about the Jefferson Book Club!

 

kelsicox1313@gmail.com


Livia Frost

Livia Frost

Livia is a second year public health major with a concentration in infectious disease and microbiology. She loves the Jefferson Scholars program because it allows her to explore philosophy and major ideas with fantastic, dedicated professors. She especially recommends the book club and lunchtime lectures! Livia is also co-president of the student chapter of Doctors Without Borders and does research with Professor Wolesensky. She loves to travel and learn, and is excited to help students understand and explore JSP and UT. 

 

liviafrost416@utexas.edu


Audrey Isaak

 Audrey Isaak

Audrey Isaak is a sophomore chemistry major. She is involved with Texas Unicef and the Texas Orator. She is excited to be a peer mentor as she had amazing peer mentors her freshman year! Ask her about the Living and Learning Community!

 

audreyisaak1@gmail.com


Kason Kebaso

Kason Kebaso

Kason Kebaso is a fourth-year student double majoring in IRG Honors and Asian Cultures & Languages (specializing in Korean). She was born in Kenya, but her family travelled around the world for a bit before settling down in Texas. She has completed the CTI Certificate, but still takes CTI courses and drops in on discussions to hear people's perspectives on life. Though she doesn't yet know where the future will take her, after graduating from UT she plans to work with an NGO overseas to gain some real-life experience before moving forward with Grad or Law school. She loves getting to know people, and enjoys hanging out with fellow JSP students--even if it's just to talk (…over ice cream…or cookies…or anything sweet :) ).

 

kason.kebaso@gmail.com


David Koeller

David Koeller

David is a junior from Austin studying Chemical Engineering and Plan II. Outside of classes, he mentors high school students at the KIPP school. He also enjoys rock climbing and ultimate frisbee and is currently taking improv and photography lessons. His favorite JSP class has been “The Bible and its Interpreters” with Dr. Yoo. David joined the JSP program because of its smaller community and opportunities for engagement with core texts inside and outside of the classroom. He hopes to help incoming freshman make the most of their college experience and their opportunities on campus.

 

david1koeller@gmail.com


Sriharika Kollipara

Harika Kollipara

Harika Kollipara is a second-year International Relations and Global Studies major from Dallas.   She adores the JSP community and loves partaking in its events and discussions. Harika is also in UT’s Concert Chorale as well as a few other organizations on campus. She enjoys listening to music, attending theater performances, and binge watching TV shows. She also  likes to talk so feel free to ask her any questions or strike up a conversation!

 

shkollipara@utexas.edu


Sarah Low

Sarah Low

Sarah Low is a sophomore from Coppell, TX. She is a Psychology major on the premedical path and is involved with research in addition to organizations focusing on mental health. She loves writing fiction, making art, playing video games, rock climbing, fencing, and learning to play guitar in her free time. Moreover, her favorite music genre is alternative rock, she's obsessed with Radiohead, and she loves psychological thrillers. Sarah is grateful to be a part of JSP because of all it has to offer, including its fascinating classes, excellent professors, fun events, and the close friends she has met through the program. She looks forward to befriending new JSPers and helping them succeed at UT.

 

s4r4h.low@gmail.com


Grace Leake

Grace Leake

Grace is a Plan II and Business junior. She was born in Austin and has lived here her whole life - and still likes the city enough to stick around for college! Grace loves to write, and spent much of her freshman year working on articles for The Daily Texan and the Texas Orator. She also enjoys playing Quidditch and attending political debates. JSP’s events and tight-knit community have been a blessing to her during her time here at UT, this is why she's very excited to be a peer mentor this year. Some other random things about her: She's a Gryffindor, she fences, and she has an inordinate amount of passion for Douglas Adams’ books.

 

graceeleake@gmail.com


Morgan Miller

 Morgan Miller

Morgan Miller is a fourth-year student majoring in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Business Foundations. She currently has one class left to complete the CTI Certificate. Her favorite JSP class has been “The Bible and its Interpreters” with Dr. Yoo. She enjoys the JSP program because it has allowed her to expand her knowledge in areas she enjoys outside of Engineering and the technical courses associated with her major.

In her free time, Morgan is an active member of her sorority, Texas Alpha Phi. She has also served on the Executive Board for Ignite Texas, an on-campus Christian ministry. Morgan also enjoys running, hiking, working out, and pretty much anything else that gets her moving! She is looking forward to meeting all of the incoming freshmen and helping their transition to college life a breeze. 

millermorgan97@yahoo.com


Justin Monroe

Justin Bindel

Justin is a senior studying Government and the Philosophy of Law. The University of Texas is his third University he has attended and is proud to call it his final venture in his undergraduate career. From St. Edward’s to Seattle University to UT, Justin has never been involved with a more familial, diligent, and engaging organization than the Jefferson Scholars. Outside of his studies, Justin is the co-founder of a small community theatre company that creates and directs their own original work. When he’s not staring off into space, imagining worlds or connecting universal themes, you can find him in the Scholars’ Lounge chatting it up with Dr. Dempsey, reading, or creating (with the assistance of the enticing Scholarly coffee of course). Justin (both a Targaryen and Ravenclaw) would love to introduce you to the colorful side of Austin with theatre performances, operas, and art exhibits. If that’s not enough to satisfy your hungry mind, then let’s dive into thought-provoking and abstract discussions up in the Lounge!

jmmonroe@utexas.edu


Emily Nulisch

Emily Nulisch

Emily Nulisch is a second-year Anthropology major from McKinney, Texas. She’s taken four JSP classes so far, and enjoys the program for the interesting perspectives each class provides and the students and peers she has met. Outside of studying, Emily spends time going to concerts, volunteering, or ordering Kerbey queso. She is excited to be a peer mentor this year to share the great experiences she has had in the program so far and help the freshmen get acclimated to UT!

 

emily.nulisch@yahoo.com


Nicole Pownall

 Nicole PownallNicky Pownall is a fourth-year International Relations and Global Studies major from Philadelphia/Houston. JSP has been a staple of her college journey, and she is so happy to be a part of your Jefferson Scholars experience! This program has given Nicky access to fantastic professors such as Dr. Thomas Pangle, Dr. Lorraine Pangle, Dr. Erik Dempsey, Dr. Philip Yoo, and many more who have challenged her to really question the materials she was presented. JSP has also introduced her to some of her greatest friends with whom she's shared many memorable lunchtime lectures. Nicky is very excited to answer any and all questions you have about JSP, UT, and just things about life in general, and looks forward to meeting you soon!

 

pownalln@gmail.com


Brooke Reaves

 Brooke ReavesBrooke Reaves is a Business Honors and Plan II Honors junior from Victoria, Texas. She's really looking forward to being a peer mentor because her own was an instrumental figure in easing her transition to UT and the JSP program, and also just being a great person to have conversations with, challenge her, and encourage her. Brooke is really excited to help y'all succeed in a program she adores and on the campus of a university she loves. 

In her free time, she's the editor in chief of a nonpartisan political review here at UT, The Texas Orator (which you should join!!!). She also tutors and leads a creative writing club at KIPP Austin high school. Some of her favorite books include Harry Potter (She's a diehard fan & Gryffindor), Anna Karenina, and Ruined. As a peer mentor, it will be her critical duty to supply you with endless cat encouragement pictures/puns, funky memes, and political jokes, and to sit down for caffeinated beverages to discuss political philosophy, books, tv shows (Game of Thrones!!), her distaste for Socrates, and just Life at UT! 

 

reaveslindee@yahoo.com


Zachary Rickmeyer

Zachary Rickmeyer

Zachary Rickmeyer is a third year Mechanical Engineering major from Southern California. He enjoys being a part of JSP because it provides a welcome distraction from all the technical courses in engineering. His favorite JSP events are the lunchtime seminars and attending plays and concerts. Outside the classroom, Zachary is active with the Longhorn Pep Band where he plays saxophone, Longhorn Racing Combustion Team, and The University of Texas Weightlifting Team. Zachary is an avid reader (his favorite books are fantasy). He loves playing music, working out, and being outdoors. Zachary is excited to be a peer mentor this year and looks forward to meeting the many new Jefferson Scholars.

 

zrickmeyer@gmail.com


Johann Rossbach

 Johann RossbachJohann Rossbach is a third-year history major from New Braunfels, Texas.  Ever reading, his favorite novel to date is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, though he will readily welcome any new suggestions concerning literary material.  Much like the Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Rossbach often dabbles in the art of music composition, though he also enjoys writing poetry, attending various theatre productions on campus, and playing musical instruments with the Liberal Arts Honors Music Ensemble.  He is excited to be a JSP Peer Mentor and cannot wait to explore UT with the JSP’s newest members.

 

johann.rossbach@yahoo.com


Julia Schoos

Julia Schoos Julia is a fourth-year English and Public Relations major, pursuing a Business Foundations Certificate alongside her Certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Born in Germany, she moved to Austin in 2008 and has since adopted the queso-filled Austinite lifestyle. Although she's almost always to be found with her nose buried in a book, you may also see her taking her dogs for a stroll, or chewing her friends’ ears off about Hamlet and Les Misérables. In her time in JSP, Julia has been fortunate enough to partake in courses with both Dr. Pangles, Dr. Dempsey, Dr. Rabinowitz, and Dr. Azam, and she is thrilled to be able to share her knowledge about the program and its curriculum with you!

 

julia.schoos@googlemail.com


Sydney Smith

 Sydney Smith

Sydney is a third year studying Psychology and Government. She attended the RILA study abroad through Jefferson Scholars last summer and loved it (so ask her about it)! She favorite JSP classes at UT were Classics of Social and Political Thought with Dr. Dempsey and Constitutional Principles with Dr. Tulis. Outside of JSP, she is involved with Alpha Chi Omega and pre-med classes. Her enneagram is 2w3, she loves Texas football, and can show you cool coffee shops close to campus! Sydney has enjoyed her time in JSP immensely and can’t wait to share that with incoming freshmen. 

 

sydneysmith99@yahoo.com


Sara Greenman-Spear

Sara Greenman-Spear

Sara is a third year History and Spanish major from outside of Dallas. She will be the RA for the Jefferson Scholars Living Learning Community this year and looks forward to meeting new students in the program and helping them as they start college. As a history major, she decided to join Jefferson Scholars as a way to learn more about different ideas throughout the past. She has also always loved reading, another important aspect of the program that drew her to it. She has taken and enjoyed many JSP classes but her favorites have been those on Ancient texts like Ancient Greece, a period of history she enjoys in general. In her free time, she enjoys music, dance, and baking whenever she actually has a kitchen. She also loves animals and volunteers with groups at shelters, events, etc. She cannot wait to meet the new JSP members.

 

sgreenmanspear@utexas.edu


Jasmine Sun

 Jasmine SunJasmine Sun is a senior from Coppell, TX. She's a Psychology major, and in addition to JSP she's pursuing a minor in Educational Psychology and a Certificate in Creative Writing. As for her extracurricular interests, she is on the university debate team and volunteers for several different organizations, particularly those that have a focus on mental health. Jasmine loves playing video games, visiting museums, listening to music, and reading. She loves JSP because it has cleared up a lot of the confusion surrounding philosophy and political science, and has introduced her to some truly great professors. 

 

Jasmine.Huiya.Sun@utexas.edu


Courtney Thomas

Courtney Thomas

Courtney Thomas is a sophomore majoring in Humanities (European Narrative Art) and Theatre and Dance (Stage Management). In addition to CTI, she is working on her Museum Studies Certificate. Courtney is originally from Dallas, but loves living in Austin. She is a contributor to the Texas Orator. She loves film noir movies, finding old documents in the HRC and checking out new coffee shops. She's always excited to go to new art exhibits, theatre and dance shows. Courtney is very grateful to be part of an intellectual community like JSP and she wants to hear everyone's book recommendations.

 

courtney@thomasfam.com


Fox Walker

Fox Walker

Fox is a second year from Fort Worth studying Government and Arabic. He loves the Jefferson Scholars Program because it allows him to think about politics from a historical viewpoint. Fox loves the lunchtime lectures and highly recommends Dr. Viroli’s Justice, Liberty, and Happiness UGS course. Fox is also a member of the fraternity Beta Theta Pi and a former intern for Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. He has a passion for presidential history, art history, and twentieth century American history. Fox is excited to show freshmen a fun time in Austin and to meet new philosophy friends!

 

foxwalker1999@gmail.com


Tarek Zaher

 Tarek ZaherTarek is a government and European Thought senior from Hudson, Texas. JSP has inspired him to pursue answers to what he thinks are the most important questions we can ask—those of human nature, morality, and happiness—by carefully reading and discussing the greatest books humanity has to offer. He knows from his own JSP journey that this is something nearly anyone can do with the proper guidance and practice, and his mission as a peer mentor is to offer incoming Jefferson Scholars just that.

 

tarek21zaher@gmail.com


 

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