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

Meet our Peer Mentors 2018-2019

We would like to introduce this year's Jefferson Scholar Mentors for 2018-2019. 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 second 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 sophomore 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


James Barr

 James Barr

James Barr is a second-year student from Houston. He has switched majors twice but as of now, wants to double major in Business and Sports Management. Most of his free time is spent watching sports, listening to music, going on random adventures, or doing things with his fraternity. 

james.richard.barr@gmail.com


Erica Colston

 Erica Colston

Erica Colston is a History and International Relations double major from Canyon Lake, which isn't a city but actually an unincorporated rural community near New Braunfels, which is a medium-ish sized town in between Austin and San Antonio. If you don't know where Austin and San Antonio are, well, she can't really help you there. She is a sophomore who enjoys performing in plays with University Theatre Guild and writing about politics at the Texas Orator. As someone from the Middle of Nowhere, Texas, she recognizes how coming to UT can be a super-intimidating experience and hopes to share what she's learned to help others navigate freshman year at a crazy-huge-and-disorientating-but-also-awesome university. 

colstonerica@gmail.com


Sarah Davidson

 Sarah Davidson

Sarah Davidson is a senior Rhetoric and Writing Major. She is from Keller, TX which is just outside of Fort Worth. Sarah is excited to be a peer mentor for JSP next year because of the incredible experience she's had as a Jefferson Scholar, and because of the knowledge and advice gained from the program. On campus, she's involved in service and academic organizations. Sarah enjoys exploring Austin, trying new restaurants, attempting to learn French and reading. Her favorite book is The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath. 

sarahdavidson@utexas.edu


Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson

Sam Johnson is a third year Neuroscience and Linguistics double major. He is from Hamilton, TX. Which is at least 2 hours away from anywhere you can think of. He enjoys the Jefferson Scholars Program because it allows him to explore subjects not in math or science. So far his favorite class in the Jefferson Scholars Program has been the Bible and interpreters by Dr. Landau. Aside from academics, Sam enjoys going to concerts, playing board games, and pick up sports with friends.

sjohnson.swj@gmail.com


David Koeller

David Koeller

David is a sophomore 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


Athena Kovner

 Athena Kovner

Athena is a sophomore and majoring in Environmental Science, bio track. She is from Katy, Texas, but her mother is from Greece and they visit family there often. Athena loves nature and books! Her favorite writer is Annie Dillard, and her favorite thing to do in Austin so far is hiking in the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

athena.kovner@gmail.com


Abby Lahvis

Abby Lahvis

Abby Lahvis is a third year International Relations Major from Houston, TX. She has been studying Russian for a year with a focus on the Middle East. After studying abroad in Morocco this summer and getting acclimated with the culture, she wants to help promote peaceful relations with the Arab world. She hopes to go to law school after she graduates and work in the field of politics. She has taken three JSP courses so far. Her favorite is ‘Intro to Ancient Greece’ because it is a demanding and thought provoking class taught by Professor Adam Rabinowitz. 

abbylahvis@utexas.edu


Grace Leake

Grace Leake

Grace is a Plan II and Business sophomore. 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


Jeffrey Marshall

 Jeffrey Marshall

Jeffrey Marshall is studying Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is an out-of-state student that was born and raised in California and then went to high school in New Jersey. Outside of studying, Jeffrey spends time writing for The Texas Orator, a non-partisan political review. He is a huge baseball, football, and basketball fan (You can find him at most Texas sporting events). A few of his favorite books he has had the chance to read through the JSP are The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky and The Discourses by Niccolò Machiavelli. He decided to be a peer mentor to share the great experiences he has had in the program so far.

jmarshall0807@gmail.com


Dylan McKibban

Dylan McKibban

Dylan is a second-year Classics student from Ingleside, Texas about twenty minutes north of Corpus Christi. Outside of class, Dylan enjoys writing poetry and has spent much of the summer preparing for a large-scale project that he will hopefully finish one day. He also enjoys participating in all of the Jefferson Scholars events that are put on, especially the book club and interfaith discussions where he has had the chance to dive in to interesting texts with an open community. Constantly reading, his favorite prose work at the moment is Andre Gide’s The Counterfeiters with his favorite verse being Byron’s “And Thou art Dead, as Young and Fair.” He can’t wait to be a peer mentor this year and help introduce new Jefferson Scholars to all that the JSP community has to offer!

dylanm23r@gmail.com


Nicole Pownall

 Nicole Pownall

Nicky Pownall is a third-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. Erick 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


Jacob Read

Jacob Read

Jacob is an Electrical Engineering and Philosophy senior.  He is almost a native Austinite.  His favorite JSP classes have been America's Constitutional Principles with Dr. Ives and Classics of Social and Political Thought with Dr. Dempsey.  Jacob loves the book club, lecture series, and political discussion group most about JSP, along with the refreshing culture of intellectual honesty and curiosity.  When he is not at a Jefferson Scholar event, Jacob is usually studying.  When he is not doing that, he enjoys training with the Jiu Jitsu club, reading, writing, and spending time with friends and family. 

jacobhread@gmail.com

 

Brooke Reaves

 Brooke Reaves

Brooke Reaves is a Business Honors and Plan II Honors sophomore 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


Johann Rossbach

 Johann Rossbach

Johann Rossbach is a second-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 third-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


Jasmine Sun

 Jasmine Sun

Jasmine Sun is a junior 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.sun@yahoo.com


Diael Thomas

Diael Thomas

This is Diael Thomas a fourth year Chemical Engineering student from Houston, TX. She will be the RA for the JSP Living Learning Community this fall! Her all-time favorite books are The Count of Monte Cristo, Pride and Prejudice, and Their Eyes Were Watching God. Diael's favorite courses are anything with Dr. Lang!! She took CTI 350 (Masterworks of World Drama) and CTI 345 (Satan and the Idea of Evil) with him a year ago. She also really enjoyed reading Paradise Lost and has found it very useful in her other courses and in thinking about our modern understanding of the creation story. She's excited to lead the LLC, foster stimulating conversations and introduce new ideas to you!

diaelthomas@gmail.com


Tarek Zaher

 Tarek Zaher

Tarek is a government and European Thought Junior 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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