Meredith Hodgkinson - Doctorate: Behavioral Health, 2007

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Meredith Hodgkinson

I completed my BA in Studio Art at UT in 1994. I thought I had to major in something I was already good at. It didn’t occur to me that I might major in anything else. I didn’t ask, and no one suggested it. I was very lost as an undergrad, unhappy and unable to enjoy all UT had/has to offer. It took wandering through jobs I disliked less and less (or maybe more and more) to finally realize my interest in exercise science.

I am of the girls-still-deterred-from-math-and-science generation, so it was a proud accomplishment to even be accepted into the master’s program. I got deterred away from hard science, again, while getting my master’s, but I found a home in behavioral health – all 3 degrees from UT Austin. By the time my 9 years were complete (and even a few years before), I finally felt like I was getting everything out of UT that I wanted.

As an undergrad, I didn’t know the Texas Swim Center existed. As a grad student I taught and swam there, almost daily. I had been afraid of deep water from a young age, and completed miles and Meredith Hodgkinson and her familymiles of freestyle and individual medley, there with only tired lats and no fear. As a UT graduate, I get to return once more to teach a class I once attended.

My son was born with orange hair just after I finished my dissertation defense. He certainly doesn’t have to go to UT, but I feel blessed he gets to grow up in Austin and enjoy the richness of simply being around campus life. I hope I can inspire and enrich the lives of current and future students, directly and indirectly, through my life and example. My mantra is, “what can I give, not what can I get,” a saying I learned from some very good friends.

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