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Environment Archived Student Profiles

Name: Leila Alderman
BDP: Environment
Major: Architectural Engineering

Why did you apply to the Environment BDP?
Coming into UT, I was quickly drawn to sustainability and knew that I wanted to learn how those principles applied to my field. Since I was in architectural engineering, that meant green building. In order to tie my two interests together, the combination of my major and a BDP in the Environment seemed perfect.

What have you done for your Connecting Experiences?

My first Connecting Experience was a sustainability research project at UT. UT had undertaken water audits of most of campus, looking at flow rates of faucets and toilets. However, they did not perform audits of the two newest dorms on campus, San Jacinto and Almetris Duren. So I audited these two buildings and found that UT could save around $10,000 by retrofitting these dorms with low-flow fixtures. For my second Connecting Experience, I’m working at an engineering and consulting firm called Arup as a sustainability intern in New York City. I’ve been learning about LEED, the national standard for green building, and creating energy models, which are used to determine how much energy a new building will use. This has been very exciting because I will be able to apply what I’m learning directly into what I want to do full time.

How have the BDPs helped shape your plans for the future?

My Connecting Experience has had a direct and profound impact on my future plans. I now have a much better understanding of what I want to do and where I want to go. I’ve also been able to pick up valuable knowledge and skills along the way.

What would you want other students to know about the BDPs?

The BDP is a great way to specialize, to explore areas outside of your major, and to get real world experience that directly relates to your interests. The advisors here are incredibly helpful and understanding, which makes it easy to create a customized program so that you can get exactly what you want out of the program.

Name: Alex Briceño
BDP: Environment
Major: Biology and Pre-Med

Why did you apply to the Environment BDP?

I applied to the Environment BDP because I have always known that something was horribly wrong with the way people treat our planet. The Environment BDP was an opportunity for me to learn about important issues involving the environment and become more competent in a field of study that is a big part of the future for everyone on this planet.

What have you done for your connecting experiences?

My first connecting experience was a Maymester with Dr. Dick Richardson to Costa Rica, where I studied Sustainable Agriculture. I cannot begin to explain all the different things I learned involving sustainable development and agriculture. This course inspired me to buy land in the future and build a completely self-sufficient house on it. My second connecting experience was a Maymester with Dr. Mary Poteet in 2007 to Lizard Island, Australia, where I conducted field research both in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef as well as on the island itself. Swimming in the most beautiful coral reefs in the world was definitely the biggest highlight of my Australian Maymester. Also I learned valuable methods for conducting field research in both a marine and terrestrial environment.

What would you say has been the biggest benefit of being in the BDPs?

For me the biggest benefit has been getting the chance to be recognized in the large university community where I have often felt like one of the masses. This includes getting to work one-on-one with great professors and the BDP staff. I have also been exposed to wonderfully interesting ideas involving environmental issues that I would not have learned without participating in this program.