Below, Dedman Scholars describe their experiences during their final academic year at UT (2012-2013) and their plans upon graduation.
John Russell Beaumont
Plan II and Architecture
Albuquerque High School
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The last year has been an incredible experience, the perfect capstone to my time at the University of Texas at Austin. It is hard to believe my time here is coming to an end, but I am excited for the road ahead. I want to thank the Dedman Scholars Program for everything it has done. I can genuinely say that this program has defined college experience. My amazing peers inspire me to try harder and aim higher; Dr. Carver, Stacey Amorous, and Linda Mayhew are always supportive and encouraging; and the generous funding has enriched my experience with study abroad and research in Argentina and Chile.
I spent the fall semester working for a young and upcoming architecture firm in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the end of my trip I returned to Chile and traveled along the coast to continue research on my thesis, “The Social and Architectural Impact of Disaster Relief Housing in the 2010 Chilean Earthquake.” I interviewed victims and volunteers, saw the damage and reconstruction first hand, and learned far more than I would have without visiting. This spring I took a studio focused on homeless families led by Overland Architects of San Antonio. I was elected to lead our studio’s presentation to three members of city council outlining our findings and suggestions for Austin’s homelessness issues.
This semester I was honored with the Oglesby Traveling Fellowship through the School of Architecture. The funding will allow me to travel through Peru and Chile to do research on vernacular architecture, community initiated building practices, and their relevance to the reconstruction effort. Beyond that, I hope to remain involved in disaster relief and social justice architecture through professional architecture firms and non-profit organizations.
I want to thank the Dedman Scholar’s Program one last time; I will look back on my time at UT fondly, and I am honored to have been a part of this community. Best wishes, and I look forward to hearing about the amazing accomplishments of my fellow scholars.
UPDATE: Russell Beaumont received a Marshall Scholarship in December 2013.
Katherine J. Kling
Plan II and Anthropology
St. Agnes Academy
My final year at UT has been a fantastic send-off. This summer I was a field assistant to UT's Dr. Rebecca Lewis in western Madagascar, an experience that proved to be the most formative and exciting one of my life. I fell in love with the country and with the Verreaux's sifaka we were studying, and was able to travel on my own and attend a conference on lemur classification and conservation before my return to the United States. After Madagascar, I studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland for the fall. To echo my time in Madagascar, I was already in love with the country and its people from a former family trip, and so it was a wonderful experience to be able to live in Ireland and enjoy the "craic" as the Irish would say. During my semester I traveled extensively, exploring Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Italy and France.
With my return to UT for my final semester I have kept myself busy acting in the thriller, Deathtrap, singing in the musical, Songs for a New World, and working with the Plan II Student's Association as its Co-Vice President. I presented research on Dr. Lewis' field data from Madagascar at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists' Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee and am proud to be finishing my senior thesis, "An Analysis of Primate Conservation Education Programs: Can We Help Primates Make the Grade?" I have been selected as a College of Liberal Arts' Distinguished Graduate, one of twelve to be so honored.
Upon graduation, I will work at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando as a Conservation Education Presenter during which time I will be applying to graduate programs in primate conservation for Fall 2014. I am hoping to present my thesis research at an international conference about primate diversity and conservation in Vietnam next summer (2014) and have been offered a position to volunteer in Indonesia working with the slow loris and a conservation education program in the area. I am excited for what the future will bring, but as I can now begin to reflect back on my UT experience, I cannot repeat enough how much being a Dedman Scholar has enriched my time at the university. I have been able to explore so many opportunities while here due to the program's support. I cannot imagine going to a different school or having a better experience. Thank you.
Natalie San Luis
Plan II and Communications
John C. Hays High School
This year I finished my course requirements in Plan II Honors, English, and Women's and Gender Studies, which included writing my honors thesis, "Livin' No Limits: Representations of Wealth and Methods of Transgression in Hip Hop Music." As part of my research, I travelled to Ithaca, New York, to visit Cornell's hip hop archives and to Seattle, Washington, to attend the EMP Pop Music Conference. I plan to continue adding to and revising my thesis after graduation in hopes of submitting it for publication and using it as a writing sample for graduate school applications.
I worked as a writing consultant at the Undergraduate Writing Center again this year. By the time I graduate, I will have consulted with over 400 undergraduate students on their assignments. I also took on the position of assistant editor of Praxis, our peer-reviewed writing center journal, for both the fall and spring editions.
My goal for the spring semester was to bolster my writing portfolio in preparation for graduation. I wrote a weekly opinion column for The Daily Texan and took a course on writing for non-profits, in which I wrote an application for a grant for Austin Clubhouse, a local mental health organization.