PARENTS’ LEAGUE NEWSLETTER Spring 2014 Important Dates and Events March 10-14 Spring Break March 31 Deadline Day
Advising Corner Effective Communication Tips for Students By Summer Cacciotti, Senior Academic Advisor
April 14 - 18 Undergraduate Research Week May 7-13 Final Exams May 16 Commencement Ceremonies Government Ceremony Gregory Gym, 8:30 a.m. Liberal Arts Joint Ceremony Frank Erwin Center , 11:30 a.m. ROTC Joint Commissioning Bates Recital Hall, 3 p.m. History Ceremony Bass Concert Hall, 6 p.m. May 17 Commencement Ceremonies Economics Ceremony Gregory Gym, 9 a.m. Plan II Ceremony Hogg Auditorium, 9 a.m. Center for Mexican American Studies Student Activity Center, 10 a.m. English Ceremony Gregory Gym, 12:30 p.m. Psychology Ceremony Gregory Gym, 3:30 p.m.
Effective communication skills are a hallmark of a Liberal Arts education. Beyond writing papers and in-class essays, navigating the University offers students many opportunities to hone their communication skills in everything from asking a professor for a meeting outside of office hours to applying for scholarships. Helpful guidelines for students include
1. Choose the method of communication that best suits the information you need to learn or convey. Quick issues with straightforward answers are best suited to emails. Complicated issues such as unclear course material that or discussing a withdrawal should happen in person whenever practical.
2. Make your goals clear. Sometimes this is obvious – the student who
wants to know if a file can be submitted as a PDF is only looking for a yes or no. For students who need a particular action taken, such as a signature on a form or a letter of recommendation by a certain deadline, they must make this clear and be sure to include any relevant information. An email that doesn’t appear to be urgent won’t be treated as such.
3. Include identifying information in emails. Students’ EIDs should be
included in email correspondence so that Jane A. Smith doesn’t receive information that actually pertains to Jane B. Smith. Since professors often teach more than one class, students should also specify which course they’re taking.
4. Keep communication professional. The University is training students
for the workplace while also being a workplace for faculty and staff. Until the Supreme Court issues a ruling in Comic Sans written in textspeak and including profanity, students will want to reserve these types of communications for their friends.
5. Watch for SANs. Secure Academic Notes (SANs) are secure emails
sent by the University with information that concerns confidential student information. Students will receive an email titled “SAN notification” and log in with their EIDs and passwords to view information. For students who don’t use an official UT Austin email address, these notifications can end up in spam folders.
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Psychology Student Finds Inspiration in Her Past While By Emily Nielsen, Public Affairs Specialist Looking to the Future One UT Austin student found her way to psychology through familial influence, overlapping interests, and an acute sense of empathy. For Patty Sanchez, a senior from Brownsville, Texas, the road to psychology began at a young age. In sixth grade, as someone who administrators thought would be more relatable and easier to talk to than typical authority figures at school, she was selected to be a peer mediator for her fellow classmates. The experience helped her develop an interest in counseling and taught her a basic truth: “I realized how much I could help people just by being present and listening,” Patty said. Listening to her father’s stories growing up also influenced Patty on her path to psychology. During her childhood, her dad rose through the ranks of law enforcement, from security guard to police officer to border patrol agent to senior special agent for Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And throughout it all, he shared his experiences, and the experiences of those he arrested, with his daughter. “Criminals didn’t scare me in my dad’s stories,” Patty said. “In fact, I learned to sympathize for them. I felt bad for the drug smuggler who was arrested during his daughter’s fifth birthday. I felt bad for the countless number of undocumented Mexican immigrants who needed to be sent back home. I was never shielded from being aware of the deviant behavior of some people in our community.” In high school, Patty interned at a hospital and clinic for two years, which sealed her interest in medicine. She combined her interests in counseling and the medical field to begin studying psychology in college.
Patty attended UT Brownsville her first two years of college before transferring to UT Austin. The transition was one she was ready for – she has made the dean’s list at UT Austin every semester since transferring. A sign of the scope of Patty’s academic success is her involvement with the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE). The internship program is designed to give students, especially those from groups traditionally underrepresented in psychology, the hands-on research experience necessary to prepare for graduate school. “SURE helped me plan my life for the next couple of years, essentially, and I couldn’t be more grateful,” Patty said. “The program has impacted me tremendously. I’ve never been more inspired and motivated to attend graduate school.” The SURE research project Patty worked on this summer was Dr. Kim Fromme’s Studies on Alcohol, Health and Risky Activities lab, which is looking for associations between a specific five genes and drinking behaviors in participants. Patty’s experience with SURE not only helped her understand the intricacies of running a research study, but also helped her to realize which research interests she wants to pursue in graduate school. “Working as a research assistant there allowed me to gain much more knowledge of alcohol’s acute effects on behavior,” Patty said. “It was extremely beneficial, considering my interest in the impact of drug addiction.” As far as her professional future is concerned, Patty plans to work as a lab manager at a research lab for a year or two after graduation, while applying to graduate school. She’s currently interested in the Clinical Forensic Psychology program at Drexel University in Philadelphia, as well as the Clinical Forensic Psychology doctoral program at Fordham University in New York City and the Forensic & Correctional Psychology graduate program at Texas Tech. Following graduate school, Patty wants to both practice and conduct research on the treatment and functioning of offenders with severe mental illness and drug addiction, which was inspired in equal parts by her interest in counseling, medicine, and the empathy she developed from hearing her father’s stories. “I’ve always seen offenders as people who have stories of their own,” Sanchez said. “Nobody is born with the purpose to commit crime.”
Patty Sanchez presenting her research project.
Government Major Rerouted by UTurn Program By Emily Nielsen, Public Affairs Specialist Academic probation is a scary phrase, but the College of Liberal Arts has a program to show students that with the right focus and attitude there can be momentous payoffs. Sherwin Calderon is a government sophomore from Houston, Texas, who turned his academic career around with the help of the College of Liberal Arts UTurn program. UTurn is a program established by Liberal Arts to help students on academic probation with their academic struggles. UTurn provides free tutoring and supplemental resources, an academic mentor, monthly group meetings, and many additional resources to help students learn how to succeed in college. Sherwin said participating in the program helped him realize that he’d been wasting his time and money and helped him relearn how to study and manage his time to adapt to a higher education environment. He also heavily relied on the insight and advice of UTurn academic coach Ben Burnett, whom Sherwin met with biweekly. Sherwin’s work with the UTurn program had him off of academic probation and onto the dean’s list in just one semester.
Sherwin Calderon Government Major, UTurn Mentor
Through this rapid academic turnaround, Sherwin has continued to use Liberal Arts resources to his advantage in his academic life, most notably the College of Liberal Arts Student Success (CLASS) Center. “I go to the CLASS Center almost every single day, and many times more than once a day,” Sherwin said. “I use it as a place to relax and refocus between classes. Knowing that Ben and my fellow UTurn members are present keeps me in check while studying.“ Sherwin said the only thing he would change about the UTurn program is increasing its resources so it’s able to cater to more students. He’d like to see the program expand so more people could receive the help that he did. Sherwin chose to major in government because he sees it as a way to make an impact – the size of that impact doesn’t matter as much to him, as long as it’s a positive one. Majoring in government is something that will allow him to influence society no matter what career path he chooses. Currently, Sherwin is interning on the Garry Brown Campaign for Travis County Commissioner in Precinct 2. The majority of his internship involves volunteering in the community through canvassing and phone banking, but he also has the unique opportunity to learn the ins and outs of running a campaign from campaign manager Jonathan Panzer. Sherwin gives a lot of credit to landing this extraordinary opportunity to his work with the UTurn program. “I don’t think I could have been able to get an internship and be successful at it if I hadn’t relearned and refined my time management skills during my time in the UTurn program,” Sherwin said.
For more information on UTurn please contact: Benjamin R. Burnett, M.Ed. Program Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Mentoring Program Helps Student Give Back, Hone Skills By Emily Nielsen, Public Affairs Specialist through economics as he did. That’s when he found out about EPMP. The program, which helps incoming economics students navigate their first year on campus, provides them with a mentor within the economics department who can answer any questions students have about college, whether they’re academic or personal. Steven, who’s been involved with the program since its beginning, has mentored four other students, all of whom he is still in touch with and many of whom still ask him for his advice. Crystal Luviano, a former mentee of Steven who is now an EPMP mentor herself, calls Steven a “superstar.”
Steven with his former mentee, Crystal Luviano, at Candlelight Ranch in Marble Falls, Texas. Crystal is now an EPMP mentor herself.
Steven Macapagal, a math and economics senior from Houston, has given back to the Economics Peer Mentoring Program (EPMP) as much, if not more, than he’s received from it. Economics wasn’t always the career path that Steven thought he would take. Upon entering UT, he was rejected from his first choice of major – biomedical engineering. However, what at first seemed like a disappointment led him to discover his true passion in economics. “I love that economics is a broadly applicable field; at its heart, economics is a methodical examination of how people behave,” Steven said. “This has helped me work through countless issues. Some are of national importance, like the effects of potential national default and student debt, and others of personal interest, like the optimal time to buy my ACL ticket.” Educators in the economics department were the ones who seriously impacted Steven’s decision to stick with what at first had been his backup plan. “My professors – Dr. Hamermesh, who taught me to think big picture, and Dr. Slesnick and Dr. Kendrick, who both taught me to fine-tune my thinking – were the ones who solidified my passion for the field,” Steven said. Inspired by his new major, as well as his professors, Steven set out to help others get the same sense of fulfillment
“Steven is very detail-oriented and organized,” Crystal said. “He is very dependable and people can always rely on him, which is essential to be a good mentor. Steven didn't just help me with one thing, but many small things I didn’t know before. He continues to teach and inspire me as fourth years in college.” The program hasn’t only been a way for Steven to give back to other students, however. It’s also helped him to develop planning and organizational skills that are essential in a professional setting, as well as given him insight into how he interacts with those around him. “The most important thing I’ve taken away from this program is the importance of communication,” Steven says. “No other program has given me multiple opportunities and feedback on the way I converse with other people via email or by simply talking to someone face to face.” Steven graduated in December 2013 and is beginning his professional life through the Teach for America program. Assigned to the Rio Grande Valley, he’ll be teaching math to high school students. “Because of my experiences with EPMP, I realized the impact someone’s educational background can have on his or her college career, so I wanted to tackle educational inequity head on,” Steven said. “I’m looking forward to using the skills I developed as a mentor to make my classroom a successful one.” In the long run, Steven wants to work in personal finance, helping people plan for retirement or saving for their children’s college education. He is also considering teaching money-management skills in the classroom.
The Job Search Tools of Social Media By Robert Vega, Director, Liberal Arts Career Services
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter – is your son or daughter regularly on social media? If so, it may not all be a waste of time. Social media is quickly becoming a popular tool for job seekers and employers alike, especially around networking and real-time hiring. So if your students aren’t making the most of social media in the job search, they should be. Consider the following suggestions you can share with your students as they prepare to search for a summer internship or post-graduation job.
1. Create a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is a professional networking site that allows users to connect with people in their network, and their network’s network, including company representatives, recruiters, alumni, and colleagues. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn reads like an online version of the user’s resume, allowing recruiters to mine for potential candidates whose profiles match their hiring needs. LinkedIn also provides access to interest groups and discussion boards, a job posting board, and company profile pages for career research.
2. Create a Twitter account. Twitter is a social media site that provides users a way to micro-blog on any topic and follow other micro-bloggers. As a job search tool, TwitJobSearch.com offers job seekers access to hundreds of jobs and internships posted by recruiters with real-time hiring needs – this means that the jobs are currently open and ready to be filled in the immediate future. And as a Twitter user, your students can micro-blog on a topic that is relevant to their intended job industry. This will not only help them demonstrate their area knowledge, but it will also help develop their professional network.
3. Clean up your digital dirt. According to CareerBuilder.com, 37% of employers use social networks to conduct candidate screening. With that in mind, is your student’s online presence ready for the job search? Before beginning the job search, your student should do a narcisurf (Google themselves) to see what comes up, and to remove anything that may appear unprofessional or controversial. Some items can be removed or hidden by changing privacy settings, while others are, very unfortunately, public and harder to remove. If your student would like help leveraging the job search tools of social media, encourage them to visit Liberal Arts Career Services for a student appointment – we’re here to help! In the meantime, they can also read more about social media and the job search at our website.
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