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Liberal Arts Honors

Alumni Profiles

Davey Bemporad
Major: Economics and Government
Hometown: San Antonio, TX
Activities: Founder and Vice President of Students Expanding Austin Literacy, Director of UT Student Government - City Relations, Host and Sponsor of Envision Austin, and Treasurer of University Democrats
Fun facts: I play guitar, bass, and mandolin; I'm half jewish, but the wrong half to be officially jewish, so you could say I'm Jew-ISH; I have a cat named nefer-kitty, and I call her “cat” because that pun got really old really fast.

Why LAH?

I chose LAH because of the warm welcome I received when I first visited UT. No other honors program is as friendly, as helpful, or as ready to work with you. When meeting the former director of LAH, Dr. Larry Carver, I was immediately struck by his passion for the LAH community. I found that same passion in every member of the LAH administration, every student in the program, and the new director: Dean Musick. I chose LAH because the warmth and passion here are the best aspects of college any university or honors program can offer.

How has LAH contributed to your experience at UT?

Coming into a fifty thousand person univeristy, LAH gave me a community of close knit, like minded students. Thanks to LAH I had a great group of friends from the first day I came to UT. Since then LAH has been central to my co-founding of SEAL: Students Expanding Austin Literacy and my involvement in Envision Austin, LAH's yearly social innovation challenge. LAH and their amazing advisors have been central to nearly every organization I have joined and every class I have taken. I cannot recommend it enough.

What are your future plans?

I am currently looking into graduate school in public policy or economics, or even law school. I hope to return to UT and enroll in a dual degree in the LBJ school of public policy and the UT Law school.


Isaiah Carter
Major: Government
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Activities: Student Government, Texas Wranglers, Texas Silver Spurs, Camp Texas
Fun facts: When I was a toddler, my mom enrolled me in a baby pageant where I was crowned Champion Chubby of the Houston Area.

Why LAH?

Being a part of the Liberal Arts Honors program was one of the biggest opportunities I received when I came on this campus. Students come to a huge and intimidating campus with little direction on how to make their mark. Most students at UT were incredibly successful in high school and want to continue to make an impact on the community around them. How do you do that? Try to make the campus smaller by joining things like LAH. Being a part of the program gives you the opportunity to meet people with interests similar to yours, as well as introduce you to administrators who are willing to help at any point in time. You can find friends, build relationships, and prepare for the best 4 years of your life by joining this incredible program.

How has LAH contributed to your experience at UT?

Primarily, resources. I am not sure how many other programs provides the opportunities that LAH does. Several advisors who are there to help and serve you whenever you need, and for whatever reason. I can typically just walk into the LAH office and ask any administrator for help, and they typically respond immediately. Having these resources has allowed my transition to college much easier, and I appreciate this program for it.

One of my biggest commitments is Student Government, the official voice of students to campus administrators, the board of regents, and the Texas Legislature. All students are technically members of Student Government, but there are a number of ways to take an active role. For freshmen, you can apply to be a Longhorn Legislative aide where you intern for members of the Executive Board. You can also join one of our 21 different agencies that represent various aspects of student and academic life. In the Spring, we also have campus-wide elections where you can run to be a representative for your college, a university-wide representative, or even Student Body President and Vice-President. Check out utsg.org for more information!

What are your future plans?

I plan to go to law school and eventually into politics.


Sarah Fischer
Major: International Relations and Global Studies; Journalism
Hometown: Mechanicsville, MD
Activities: Liberal Arts Honors Student Council, Envision Austin, Liberal Arts Refugee Alliance, Clements Center for National Security
Fun facts: I studied abroad at Sciences Po in Paris, France during my junior year. My fall break included hopping from Barcelona, Spain to Santorini, Greece!

Why LAH?

Liberal Arts Honors provided me with the community and academic enrichment that I sought at a larger university. LAH is a student-driven program, and it shows in the thriving student groups and student-led activities. The advisors and associated professors really work hard to put students first. I received generous support from LAH as I explored different academic and professional experiences.

How has LAH contributed to your experience at UT?

In LAH, I found my best friends in college. The community building that happens during your first year is invaluable. Having a peer network is so important in college, because you learn best from students who have gone through similar experiences. LAHers strive to build each other up through internship opportunities, study abroad tips, class recommendations and group projects.

What are your future plans?

I strive to empower others to create change in their communities globally. I am building a future career focused on empowerment and social innovation.


Joy Gassama
Major: Government, Middle Eastern Studies
Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas
Activities: The Arabic Flagship Program, Afrikan American Affairs, Student Conduct Advisory Committee, Diversity and Equity Student Advisory Committee, Texas Orange Jackets
Fun facts: I have the personality of a cat, but I'm definitely a dog person.
I once camped in the Sahara Desert overnight with an Amazigh (Berber) caravan.

Why LAH?

LAH is a program that really allows it students to explore different subject areas in Liberal Arts, as a means to make an informed decision as to where one's desires lay in terms of pursuing a major, while honing their writing skills.

How has LAH contributed to your experience at UT?

LAH has given me the opportunity to connect with many inspiring individuals, in addition to providing resources for discovering study abroad programs, internships, and stimulating research.

What are your future plans?

I plan on going to law school.

David Charbarria
Major(s): Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures and Linguistics
Hometown: Whitehouse, TX
Activities: FOCUS student ministries, Legal Intern, Psychology Research Assistant, Family Orientation Student Leader
Fun facts: I love to whistle, sing, and play the French horn although I am in no way musical.

Why LAH?

Honestly, I did not know what LAH was or really what liberal arts meant as I originally applied thinking I wanted to become an engineer. Later on, I made the rash decision of changing my major from Electrical Engineering to Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures a mere four days after being accepted into the prestigious Cockrell School of Engineering. I will say, I have not once regretted my decision to join the College of Liberal Arts as it set me on a path to study what I love and LAH has enabled my studies beyond what I could have done on my own after coming from a small town and feeling overwhelmed by UT's enormous size and complexity. LAH gracefully responds to the problems students face upon arrival by creating a small, safe environment for students to adjust to college life.

How has LAH contributed to your experience at UT?

To simply say that LAH has "contributed" to my experience at UT would be an understatement in regards to the impact this program has had on my experience at UT. Undoubtedly, I can say that LAH has defined (and funded) my education more than anything else I have been involved in. I would say the three main ways LAH has deeply affected my overall experience at UT are the unmatched, unparalleled academic advisers who have helped me with pivotal decisions throughout my college career (even before stepping foot in Austin!), the enriching LAH-specific classes I've taken which have facilitated small, specialized learning environments, and lastly, the amazing people in this wonderfully unique program who have ultimately changed my life for the better.

What are your future plans?

I plan to move to Meknes, Morocco with the Arabic Flagship Program and stay a full year continuing my Arabic language learning. Afterwards, I hope to pursue a career in either law, human rights, or both. Something tells me graduate school is inevitable in my near future.


Marina Hernandez
Major: Government/Rhetoric and Writing
Hometown: Floresville
Activities: Longhorn Band, FSP Mentor, Longhorn Advocate
Fun facts: I once was on the sideline right next to Vince Young and marched 5 steps away from Matthew McConaughey. I also love to binge watch House of Cards and eat macaroni. Lastly, I am beyond obsessed with puppies and I am in the process of trying to convince my mom to let me have one.

Why LAH?

I had the option of choosing between LAH and Plan II Honors. In the end, it came down to the fact that LAH emphasizes creativity and is the epitome of a unique liberal arts experience. I was drawn to the people; LAH seemed to have a wide array of individuals, all from different backgrounds and all studying different things. I also liked that there wasn't a set degree plan and that I could pick whichever classes I thought would be interesting.

How has LAH contributed to your experience at UT?

I have met a majority of my friends from LAH. The ongoing support and the sense of community definitely makes a difference, especially on a campus that is so large. LAH has allowed me to take some of the most interesting classes while also building an education and degree plan that is tailored specifically to my interests. Also, our advisors are seriously the best on campus and I am beyond grateful for all that they do in helping me figure out my life.

What are your future plans?

I am not 100% sure at the moment, but I hope to pursue a future in law school or editing. However, my ultimate goal in life is to be Olivia Pope from Scandal.

 

Carly Williams
Major: English, Health & Society
Hometown: Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
Activities: Liberal Arts Honors Student Council, Counseling and Mental Health Center Peer Educator Program, Echo Literary and Arts Magazine
Fun facts: I have seen every episode of, and can quote the opening credits to, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. I lived in Seoul, South Korea for two years when I was younger.

Why LAH?

Coming to college, I knew I wanted to continue challenging myself by taking honors courses, but I wanted the freedom to take classes that interested me. Some honors programs at UT have rigid requirements, which wasn't the right fit for me. Luckily for me, LAH offers challenging courses taught by professors at the top of their fields, and the flexibility of letting students shape their own path. I've really appreciated this during my time at UT because I've truly been able to take classes that both interest me and challenge me while also working towards my degree plan.

How has LAH contributed to your experience at UT?

LAH is truly a community. I met two of my best friends in our first year LAH writing class, Texts and Contexts, on the first day of class. Since then, I've met countless other LAHers from different backgrounds with a variety of interests and pursuing a variety of of career paths. It's amazing to have a community filled with people who are likeminded in being passionate about learning, leading, and serving others. LAH really does shrink down the campus—there's not a day that I've walked on campus and not seen a familiar face from LAH.

Additionally, our advisors are spectacular. They work tirelessly to provide us with the best academic support and ensure that we achieve our goals, whether short-term or post-grad. They've been instrumental in my academic success since day one of starting at UT.

What are your future plans?

I plan to work in health promotions and earn a master's degree in health education. However, from my experiences working in the LAH office, I wouldn't be surprised if I dabble in working in some area of higher education!