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

Meet our Peer Mentors 2021-2022

We would like to introduce this year's Jefferson Scholar Mentors for 2021-22. 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!



Grace Baldwin

Grace Baldwin

Hey everyone, my name is Grace! I am a sophomore and IRG major, and I am studying Mandarin and interested in International Security. I have taken Bible and Its Interpreters, Constitutional Principles, Challenge of the Greeks, and Classics of Social and Political Thought. Some of my favorite readings from JSP have been Plato's Symposium, The Souls of Black Folk and Up From Slavery, and Euripides' Orestes. I have done a significant amount of travelling around the world, and in my free time, I watch films and documentaries, exercise and weightlift (not that much…) listen to podcasts, read YA fiction, binge Netflix and Disney Plus, ballroom dance, and ask questions about the meaning of life.

gracebaldwin29@utexas.edu

 


Jade Bond

Jade Bond

Jade is a second-year in the Liberal Arts Honors Program with a major in History and a minor in Media & Entertainment Industries. She is originally from Nashville, Tennesse, and moved to Dallas shortly before attending high school. So far, her favorite JSP class has been ‘Constitutional Principles: Core Texts’ with Professor Dempsey, where she engaged in stimulating philosophical discussions about the founding of American democracy. Her interests include swimming, long-distance hiking, competitive figure skating, tennis, and gymnastics. When not in class, she can be found anywhere good food is served. Jade is a new peer mentor and thrilled to welcome the freshman Jefferson Scholars into this wonderful program.

jadebond@utexas.edu

 


James Bradbury

James Bradbury

James is a junior pursuing majors in Biology and History and has lived in the beautiful city of Austin for more than ten years. James believes the Jefferson Scholars Program to be an essential part of the college experience. JSP allows students to share in the insight of some of history's most revolutionary thinkers, learn from some of the university's most brilliant—and eccentric—professors, and, most importantly, come a little closer to understanding what it means to live a good and fulfilling life. 

In his free time, James enjoys exploring Austin, playing chess (always ready for a game, rain or shine), working out at the gym, rock climbing, meeting and talking to new people, and reading or discussing a great book. He is excited to make new and lasting friendships, and help freshmen adjust to the exciting, bizarre, and—at times—overwhelming transition that is college life. He's always only an email away! 

Alyssa Caver

Alyssa Caver

Alyssa is a second-year International Relations and Global Studies major from Houston, Texas.  So far, she has taken four JSP classes, and has loved each of them for their thought provoking conversation and for cultivating an environment where any idea is open for discussion. She especially loves the close community of the Jefferson Scholars program, forming bonds between faculty and students alike, and creating a place for students to belong inside such an incredibly large university. Alyssa’s interest in Core Texts formed somewhere in between her love of history and the theology classes at her small Catholic high school, and her JSP classes have been some of her favorites so far. Other than her involvement in JSP, Alyssa is involved in Model UN on and off campus, and in the International Affairs Society. She loves reading, theatre, meeting new people, political philosophy (which should be evident, given her involvement in JSP) and is always excited for a JSP event! Feel free to ask her about the Living Learning Community, really bad puns, how queso is proof that perfection exists, or anything else on your mind!

acaver@utexas.edu

 


Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel is a bubbly second year student majoring in Plan II. She holds a particular interest in the intersection between psychology and philosophy, as well as political theory. Isabel can usually be found studying in the sunny spots around campus and is always happy to chat about  Having grown up in London, she is new to Texas and always open to exploring the city. Isabel is excited to be a peer mentor and can’t wait to get to know the incoming class!

isabelwebbcarey@utexas.edu

 


Mary Cid

 

 Mary Cid

Mary is double majoring in Government and European Thought and has lived in Austin for 13 years. Previous to her college education, Mary attended a liberal arts school where she read several of the Great Books. This education inspired her to pursue the study of Political Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to JSP events such as book clubs and movie nights, Mary enjoys good conversation, a hike in any of the Austin parks and reservoirs, a spontaneous opportunity to dance, and lots of running. Feel free to approach her with questions, puns and provocative statements. In turn she will respond with another question, another pun, and another provocative statement.

cidmarycarmen@utexas.edu

 


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

 


Cloey Crouch

Cloey Crouch

Cloey is a third-year Biochemistry and Microbiology double major in the College of Natural Sciences. She is currently finishing her certificate in Core Texts and Ideas as part of her membership in JSP. She works in the Payne lab and is a TA for the freshman research lab Aptamers. After she graduates, she hopes to get a Masters in Public Health and become an epidemiologist. In her free time, Cloey enjoys running, reading fantasy novels, and perfecting her french toast recipe.

cloeycrouch@utexas.edu

 


Ashlyn Dahl

Ashlyn Dahl

Ashlyn is a second-year International Relations and Global Studies major pursuing a minor in Global Management and a certificate in Business Spanish. She was born and raised in Austin and loves exploring local coffee shops and hanging out at Zilker. She also enjoys podcasts, thrifting, the arts, Disney, and traveling. So far, Ashlyn has taken 3 JSP classes and hopes to attend the 2022 RILA trip! Her favorite part of JSP is getting to be a part of an intellectual community that is so welcoming and changes how its members see the world. Outside of JSP, she is also involved in Kappa Delta and the First-Year Leadership Organization. Ashlyn is looking forward to welcoming all of the new freshmen to JSP and UT!

ashlynmdahl@icloud.com

 


Riyana Daulat

Riyana Daulat 

Riyana is a second-year double majoring in International Relations and Global Studies and Asian Cultures and Languages. In addition to the certificate in CTI, she also plans to minor in philosophy. Riyana has taken the Challenge of the Greeks and Classics of Social and Political Thought so far. She also studied abroad in Rome through JSP (RILA) this past summer which was a life changing experience she would love to talk about with other interested students. In her free time, Riyana loves to read, try new foods, travel, run, spend time outside, play the piano, and discuss philosophy! She is so excited to be a peer mentor so please reach out for any questions or just to talk!

riyanadaulat@utexas.edu

 


Ramiro De Los Santos

Ramiro De Los Santos

Ramiro is a second-year Journalism and European Studies double-major in the Liberal Arts Honors and Moody Honors programs, pursuing a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Outside of class, he is a volunteer for Students Expanding Austin Literacy and an editor-at-large at The Texas Orator. After college, he hopes to use his Journalism skills and Philosophy knowledge to make sense of the world through the written word. Talking to him, you might notice he mentions Grimes, David Lynch, and Jean-Paul Sartre a little too often, but you can rely on the fact that he will always be prepared to hand out TV, film, music, or book suggestions at the drop of a hat. He’s excited to help incoming Jefferson Scholars navigate the crazy world of Core Texts, so feel free to contact him with any questions.  


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

 


Olivia Green

Olivia Green

Olivia is a Government and American Studies double major in the Liberal Arts Honors program. She grew up just outside of Houston, but loves any opportunity to explore the city. You can typically find her with a bookbag full of anything you might need, a pair of platform Tevas (the world’s best shoe, and you can’t tell her otherwise), and a desire to have a conversation with anyone that she encounters. Olivia loves the Jefferson Scholars Program because it has allowed her to explore amazing literature, meet new friends, and participate in fascinating conversations. You can usually find Olivia typing away at an assignment at the Greg tables, singing at the Catholic Center, behind the lens of her camera, stitching away on an embroidery or knitting project, or looking for new places to explore in Austin. She is always open to a chat, feel free to reach out to her! And if the four syllables of Olivia are a lot, feel free to call her Liv!

olivia.green@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

 


Eva Kahn

Eva Kahn

A native New Yorker, Eva moved to Austin 3 years ago to dance professionally.  She came to realize that life as a professional artist was not as fulfilling as she had hoped, and has since become a Humanities major studying theories of reality in 20th century science, art, and philosophy.  Eva’s writing has been published in The Texas Orator, ECHO Literary Magazine, and the New York Times.  She loves people and wants to meet YOU, so please reach out to her for any reason and no reason, especially if you would like to go swing dancing, take a walk or a bike ride, attend any performance (especially local Austin music), have an argument, or just schmooze.  

evakahn@utexas.edu

 


Harika Kollipara

Harika Kollipara

Harika Kollipara is a third-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

 


Madison Kyle

Madison Kyle

Madison Kyle is a third-year chemical engineering major from the DFW area. She loves JSP for the diversity of thought and opportunities to explore cultural events around Austin. In her free time, she enjoys reading (especially sci-fi and fantasy!), discovering new bookstores, and finding new places to eat. Madison cannot wait to be a peer mentor this year and looks forward to meeting the new incoming Jefferson Scholars.


Ethan Lawler

Ethan Lawler

Ethan Lawler is a second-year neuroscience major and economics minor who is getting a CTI certificate through the Jefferson Scholars Program, with a goal to become a successful orthopedic surgeon/entrepreneur in the future. Ethan is from Fort Worth, Texas, but has lived in both Florida and New Jersey due to his dad's job. So far, Ethan has taken two JSP courses, Challenge of the Greeks and Constitutional Principles, and is planning on taking The Bible and Its Interpreters this upcoming fall. Ethan's favorite thing about Austin is it's easily-accessible natural beauty and outstanding stream of heath-consciousness. After assignments are completed, you can find Ethan running his 13-mile loop through Austin, working out at Rec Sports, hanging with friends at Zilker, chilling at his fraternity house, or grabbing a Large Srawberry Hulk smoothie from Smoothie King. He is also an Ignite Camp Counselor, an usher at the Austin Stone, and a Rush Committee chairman for Delta Sigma Phi.

ethan.lawler2024@utexas.edu

 


An Le

An Le

An is a second year Psychology (BA) and Business double major with an Entrepreneurship minor. She enjoys reading, making playlists on Spotify, and exploring thrift shops (there are so many great ones in Austin). Her favorite JSP course thus far is “Constitutional Principles: Core Texts” with Dr. Dempsey. She joined JSP because of its opportunities to meet fascinating people, study core texts and ideas, and engage in friendly, provocative conversations. An is super excited to meeting the incoming Jefferson Scholars, so please don’t hesitate to reach out and introduce yourself!

anle531@yahoo.com

  


Ryan McSweeny

Ryan McSweeny

Ryan is a second year Electrical & Computer Engineering major specializing in Computer Architecture and Embedded Systems. He is from Plano and lived in the JSP LLC his freshman year. He wants to help first year students with the transition to college. His hobbies include video games, music, tech projects, and skateboarding.

mcsweeney2716@yahoo.com

 


Melanie Milligan

Melanie Milligan

 

melanie.milligan@utexas.edu

 


Ava Norman

Ava Norman

Ava is a senior from Austin, Texas. She studies Latin and Attic Greek for her Classical Languages major in addition to a Government major and her Jefferson Scholars courses. She is planning to attend law school after graduation. Prior to attending UT, Ava cultivated her love of great books at a classical, liberal arts high school. She would love to talk about ancient political philosophy, courses she’s taken, or books she’s read over a cup of coffee. When she’s not in class or a cafe, Ava enjoys attending the JSP book club, exploring museums, and traveling. Ava would love to show you some of her favorite coffee spots around Austin (or take recommendations if you have them!) and hopes to help incoming students get connected to the JSP community.

avanoelle211@gmail.com

 


Stephanie Pickrell

 Stephanie Pickrell

Stephanie is a second-year English major in the LAH program, also pursuing the Creative Writing certificate and a French studies minor. She’s an absolute nerd for fantasy and science fiction and is always available to give enthusiastic reading recommendations. She also works at the University Writing Center and is an active member of Foot in the Door Theatre Troupe. 

smpickrell@att.net

 


Eilza Pillsbury

Eliza Pillsbury

Eliza is a third-year Plan II and journalism major from Houston, Texas. She is also pursuing a minor in English and, of course, a certificate in Core Texts & Ideas. She has served in various leadership roles in Kappa Delta sorority and Spark Magazine. When she's not reading for school, she's most likely reading for fun. Eliza is passionate about coffee, musical theatre, Taylor Swift, and her precious pets. She is incredibly grateful to the Jefferson Scholars Program for providing her peers, friends, and mentors in her time at UT.

elizapills@utexas.edu

 


Alisa Pitchkolan

Alisa Pitchkolan

Alisa is a sophomore majoring in communication studies with a focus in political communication hoping to go Law school. She started a program in her hometown of El Paso called the Breaking Apathy Series in which she rallied volunteers together to teach elementary school students about the importance of civic engagement! That being said, she is always up for a discussion about politics, current events, or anything you may find interesting! Alisa spends her free time playing chess with other JSP members, ballroom dancing, writing poetry, listening to music, and hanging out with friends! She is so excited to help out as a peer mentor and is always available for any questions or just to chat! 

alisapitchkolan@utexas.edu

  


Ronak Ramachandran

Ronak Ramachandran

Ronak Ramachandran is a second-year Turing Scholar and math major. He loves anything that twists his mind, from Peter Winkler's puzzles to absurdist plays. After graduating, he wants to do research in quantum computing to hopefully understand the universe at a more fundamental level. His favorite part of JSP is how everyone will drop everything at any time to cook some ratatouille or discuss deep questions for hours on end. The friends, events, and conversations he’s found through the program have been some of the best he’s ever had. He’s going to miss them when his research inevitably crashes the simulation. Before UT, Ronak lived in New Jersey, so if you're an out-of-state student, feel free to reach out for tips and tricks! Here’s one for free: instead of “y’all,” Texans are now saying “you fries”—try it when you first come to campus!

ronakr@utexas.edu

 


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

 


Kevin Sheth

Kevin Sheth

Kevin is a third year neuroscience student from Round Rock, TX. He joined the JSP program to obtain a liberal arts background in addition to his STEM courses. He enjoys weight lifting, meteorology, cooking, coffee, psephology, and nature. He currently is a leader of the Density Boldness Project in the Fish Behavior Lab under Dr. Mary Ramsey, with a focus on aggression behaviors. He is also the president of the chapter of the American Meteorological Society on campus. If you are interested in meteorology, climate science, psephology (election science), or behavioral science, email me and let's have a discussion! 

kevinsheth2000@gmail.com

 


Aashka Sindhav

Aashka Sindhav

Aashka is a fourth-year chemical engineering major from Omaha, Nebraska. She joined the JSP program to incorporate a liberal arts education into her STEM degree and to diversify her college experience. She enjoys hiking, working out, cinema and (poorly) learning TikTok dances. If she's not downing iced matcha lattes while doing homework, she's at the Disch-Falk field watching a baseball game or curled up on the couch reading a good thriller. She hopes to help first-year students successfully transition into college as her JSP peer mentor helped her do. Aashka would love to chat about anything, whether JSP-related or not, so please feel free to reach out!

asindhav@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

 


Daniel Yeats

Daniel Yeats

Daniel is an Economics and Government major from Weatherford, Texas. His interests include playing video games, reading books, listening to music. He is an Eagle Scout who is passionate about community service. He joined JSP because he loves classical literature and the discussions that spawn from studying various philosophers. Daniel is a night owl and enjoys late walks around campus. He is also a member of Central Texas Model UN and enjoys participating in the program every semester.

danielryeats@gmail.com

 


 


FIG MENTOR

 


LLC RA

Mia Hay

Mia Hay

Mia is the RA for the Jefferson Scholars LLC in Moore-Hill Residence Hall. She is in her sophomore year as a Women's and Gender Studies major with a minor in Core Texts and Ideas through JSP, and she works for the Daily Texan as a Comics Staffer. Her favorite JSP classes thus far are The Bible and its Interpreters and The Five Books of Moses, both with (former UT faculty) Dr. Phillip Yoo. She was raised in rural East Texas and maintained her love of the outdoors by paddleboarding and rock climbing at local spots in Austin. For Mia, JSP offers the "other side" of a degree in Women's and Gender Studies, and she hopes that this incredible program will fill a similarly important role in your college career. You can find her via GroupMe, Email, Instagram, Twitter, or a visit to Room 365 at Moore-Hill!!

mkh.tx.20@gmail.com

 


 


 

Form for Mentor Use Only