Why did you choose to attend The University of Texas at Austin?
I’m a native Austinite, but when I was young, I always wanted to go to school in California and New York. During my senior year of high school, I slowly began to realize that Austin is the perfect place for me. Also, Plan II is an ideal major for me, since my interests span several disciplines.
What’s your dream job after graduation?
I would love to be a food and travel writer. The stories that inspire food are so delicious, and I want to taste all of them. If a magazine paid me to learn how to make pasta in Italy or learn the intricacies of Filipino cooking, I would be in heaven. Other than that, any career that involves writing would make me happy.
If you could travel to one spot anywhere in the world, where would you want to visit?
Somewhere in Europe with beaches and clear water. After reading Ruth Reichl’s memoir “Tender at the Bone,” I’ve felt a pressing desire to go to Naples or Paris or Prague alone for a month just to explore.
What music are you listening to?
When I’m doing work, Explosions in the Sky. When I’m working out, Eminem or E-603. When I’m in the car, Girl Talk, The xx, Drake and Lil Wayne. When I’m cooking, The Antlers or Neutral Milk Hotel. My favorite soundtracks are from Lost in Translation and 28 Days Later.
What are your favorite Web sites? Why?
I write a cooking blog at TheFirstKitchen.com. I started writing to chronicle myself learning how to cook, and it’s turned into this wonderful creative outlet. Naturally, I also read several cooking blogs, including SmittenKitchen.com and 101cookbooks.com. Unfortunately, I also spend way too much time playing Tetris online.
What’s your pick: Tex-Mex or Texas barbecue?
Tex-Mex, definitely. Cilantro, lime and cumin are the Holy Trinity of gastronomic bliss. Salsa is so much better than barbecue sauce.
Where are your favorite places to go in Austin? What are your favorite things to do in Austin?
I love Austin food trucks. Barton Springs is the perfect location for a lazy summer day. The Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In and the Violet Crown are my two favorite movie theaters. On most Saturday mornings, I bike to the Austin Farmer’s Market on Fourth and Guadalupe, then go to a hatha class at Black Swan Yoga. Some advice for longhorns: don’t sequester yourself to Sixth Street. Austin is so much bigger than that.
What are your favorite academic subjects? What are you interested in studying in the future?
Any class that involves lots of reading and writing will generally be right up my alley. My favorite classes that I’ve taken at UT thus far have been The History of American Sexualities, Emerging Selves: Women’s Autobiographies and 20th Century Short Stories.
What tip would you give to someone new to the UT campus?
Find a place for yourself! Because UT is so huge, you can either get lost in the crowd or find some amazing friends with similar interests. Dive right in — join organizations, eat lunch with new people and introduce yourself to your classmates.
Tell us a little about your family:
We’re very close, and we love to laugh. It’s a rare day when I don’t text, call or see my parents and siblings at least once.
What are your favorite free-time activities?
My roommates and I recently subscribed to the Wall Street Journal. When we’re bored, we use my elastic workout band to slingshot them off the 3rd story balcony into the dumpster across the road.
Name one interesting or quirky thing about yourself:
I have a birthmark on my right arm that looks like a mouse.