What does it mean to have a personalized college experience? From your first meeting with your success coach until you walk through the Red Doors at graduation, you’ll be following a roadmap that adapts to your goals. Along the way, you’ll learn from professors who get to know you, take classes that open your eyes and have experiences that open doors.
We caught up with alumni from the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences to find out how their experiences in their major at St. Edward's set them on the paths they're on today.
Ryan Lamson ’20, Global Studies, is interning at the Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations before he begins graduate school.
“Being a Global Studies major at St. Edward’s challenged me to think critically about domestic and international events through analyses, classroom discussions, substantive internships, internationally focused student clubs, and various enriching events at The Kozmetsky Center of Excellence. My classes opened my eyes to many global issues while allowing me to focus thematically on international conflict, cooperation, and security, and a regional focus on Latin America and advancing to intermediate Spanish. I had a life-changing experience as a Boren Scholar to complete an intensive Urdu language and cultural immersion program and study in India. I learned of social justice issues faced by the Muslim minority population, and I focused my Senior Seminar research on the effects of Hindu nationalism in India.”
Frida Melgar ’19, Global Studies, worked with an NGO in Mexico City as part of the Fulbright Binational Internship Program and is now earning her master’s in Latin American Studies at Tulane University.
“While at St. Edward’s, I had the chance to study in Shanghai, China as a Boren Scholar. With support and guidance from the Office of Fellowships, I also studied abroad in London and Thailand. Through Campus Ministry, I traveled to Montreal for a two-week service immersion experience in which I lived and worked with people who have developmental disabilities. All of these experiences helped me learn more about the world and helped me achieve my goal of becoming a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico after graduation. I am forever thankful to St. Edward’s University for giving me the tools to explore my interests around the world and for opening new doors for my personal growth.”
Marlaina Widmann ’19, Behavioral Neuroscience, is a student in the Master of Public Health program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.
“I love that the Behavioral Neuroscience program required both psychology classes and natural science classes. It has given me a wider perspective and better foundation going into graduate school. My major also prepared me to work with peer-reviewed research articles, which I found pretty intimidating as a freshman at St. Ed’s. Because so many of my psychology classes had us interact with and work with these articles in different ways, I’ve become really comfortable with them. This has been extremely helpful with grad school, where I have to use peer-reviewed articles in every single class.”
Kendra Hills ’18, Sociology, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador and will begin a graduate program in urban planning at the University of Pennsylvania.
“My professors were absolutely fantastic people to learn from. They definitely pushed me and inspired me to be the person I am now. Dr. Neal was the first person who made going to graduate school seem attainable — like something I could not only achieve but excel at. The day I found out I was accepted into the Peace Corps, the first people I told were Dr. Neal and Dr. Robertson [both in Sociology]. I hugged both of them as we jumped up and down, screaming in Dr. Neal’s office. They knew how much I wanted to be a volunteer and how hard I was working towards that goal, and they were with me every step of the way.”
Nick Thompson ’17, Global Studies, is the statewide initiatives manager for Texas Homeless Network, where he runs an AmeriCorps VISTA program and co-directs the organization’s advocacy and legislative efforts.
“The faculty in the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences are superb, and I had the opportunity to participate in many international experiences, including Eco-Lead in Costa Rica, a Capstone project with Dr. Santiago in Ecuador, and a semester-long study abroad in Queensland, Australia. I love that St. Edward’s allowed me the freedom to customize my own plan of study to focus on intersectional environmentalism, politics, and global public health. The intersectional approach of a St. Edward’s University education is what helped prepare me the most for my career within homelessness and housing policy.”
Worth Carroll ’12, History, is a trial lawyer at Sumpter & Gonzalez, representing victims of sexual assault and other injured survivors throughout Texas.
“Curiosity is a vital skill for trial lawyers, and my own curiosity was developed in my St. Ed’s history classes. Whether it’s digging into the evidence to uncover case-altering facts or questioning a witness to ferret out important testimony, being curious is the cornerstone. St. Ed’s students have a leg up in this regard. There are very few differences between, for example, Dr. Wilson asking you to use primary sources to decipher the causes of the Women’s March on Versailles… or arguing to Dr. Brown that Sacco and Vanzetti were framed… and proving in a courtroom that your client was defrauded by some organization or that her civil rights were violated. I’m thankful to the History faculty for nurturing in me an interest in overlooked issues, as that has prepared me for trial work more than anything else.”
Marielle Septien ’12, Global Studies, has worked in humanitarian assistance programs on the U.S.–Mexico border and is currently the border shelter network coordinator for Church World Service.
“My professors at St. Edward’s University helped push me out of my comfort zone, and I am so lucky to have had such wonderful mentors during college. As a first-generation Mexican American, it was important for me to have professors that were just as passionate about Latin America as I was. We’d grab coffee or lunch together and discuss current events. It felt incredible to be surrounded by others who celebrated your culture. They encouraged me to use my Spanish and knowledge of the region to pursue a career in something I truly valued. St. Edward's taught me the importance of putting yourself out there and taking risks, even when you are unsure of the opportunity. My professors believed in me, even when I didn’t fully believe in myself. They genuinely cared about me; this helped me achieve my international academic and professional goals.”
Haleigh Campbell ’13, Social Work, is the volunteer and education director at YWCA Greater Austin.
“The Social Work program at St. Edward’s helped me build a stronger understanding of systems and institutionalized racism and discrimination. Social work is a way of thinking, and to be successful at it you have to be justice oriented, empathetic, resourceful, and dedicated. My experiences at St. Ed’s prepared me with knowledge, resources, and friendships that helped me find a career I love.”
Jonathan Molineaux ’13, Global Studies, is a fisheries biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“My St. Edward’s education prepared me for a career that revolves around environmental sustainability and protection. My environmental law class and environmental studies courses introduced me to many of the environmental statutes I work on today, including the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Protection Act. And in Global Studies, my geography courses increased my interests in using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in my everyday work.
St. Edward’s also increased my emotional intelligence by giving me the tools needed to better understand and empathize with others from all backgrounds and walks of life. St. Edward’s instilled a true sense of caring for others within me and enabled me to see the importance of assisting others throughout my local and global community.”
Victoria Rodriguez ’11, Psychology, earned a PhD in Development and Psychological Sciences in Education from Stanford University and is a research and planning analyst at Grossmont College in El Cajon, Calif., and adjunct professor in Psychology at the University of San Diego.
“My classes provided me with a strong foundation in the skills I’d need as a researcher. They also instilled in me the value of viewing problems from multiple perspectives. St. Ed’s reiterated the importance of diverse perspectives and voices in all endeavors, both professional and personal.”
Dave Cortez ’06, Political Science, is the Clean Energy for All coordinator with the Texas Sierra Club.
“I learned deep critical analysis through my theory and philosophy classes, and a respect for the art of the written and spoken word through my writing and literature classes. Combined with my education about environmental policy and the history of social movements, these gave me a foundation for becoming an effective community organizer. My St. Edward’s education helped me comprehend strategy and complex policy quickly, all while making sure the material could be translated and communicated back to the working-class people most affected by an issue.”
Becky Garcia Morquecho ’00, Criminal Justice, is a senior crime scene specialist in the Austin Police Department.
“When I came to St. Edward’s, I planned to major in a science. Then I joined Student Government and started taking policy and law classes. I was able to mesh the two into a forensic science career, using the application of scientific knowledge in criminal investigations. Crime scene investigation is not as glorious as it is portrayed on television, but the most satisfying aspect of my job is being able to provide justice to the victims.”