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New Grad Student Voices: Lizette Barrera, Moody College of Communication


Voices: Lizette Barrera

Lizette Barrera joins the Moody College of Communication in pursuit of her MFA in Film & Media Productions.

Meet new graduate student Lizette Barrera.
Raised in Texas, Lizette did her undergraduate degree in filmmaking at The University of Texas at Arlington and has worked as a Camera Assistant on numerous projects including Blue October’s Music Video, ‘Angels in Everything’. Lizette’s goal is to create films that make others rethink their life and the world around them, as well as experience the ‘Raw, Authentic, and Beautiful’, the three themes she explores in her films. She also enjoys traveling, dancing, and sipping wine.

I’m excited about …
I’m excited to meet new ambitious people who are ready to take on the world for the better of humanity. Getting to know someone deeply can be an extremely humbling experience. Not only do we get to learn about someone else’s up bringing, but it forces us to dive internally and learn more about ourselves. Perhaps it forces us to even question our own identity and tests our own believes. But that really is the the divinity to life and all forms of humanity.

First impression of Austin was …
My first impression of Austin was the great food, the sense of freedom & community amongst the residence, and the bountiful hills. It’s so green and full of joggers!

Ask me about :
My travels and my heritage

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New Grad Student Voices: Will Flagle, LBJ School of Public Affairs

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Voices - W. Flagle

About Will Flagle, a new graduate student in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs:
Born and raised in Golden, Colorado, I graduated from Grinnell College in 2009. While there, I studied abroad in Botswana and earned a degree in Political Science. Since graduating, I have worked as the Assistant Manager of New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore and as a Development Associate at the St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center in Baltimore. I have also been involved with efforts to support socially responsible financial institutions and assist men with making feminist interventions in their own lives (the former more successful than the latter).

My main policy interests relate to U.S. social and economic policy.

I am motivated by the belief that everyone should have access to the means to enjoy a flourishing life, including the substantive agency to direct their individual and collective existence. I have recently enjoyed learning about more “utopian demands” like establishing a universal basic income or a reduced workweek as a means of combating climate change, reducing unemployment, and sharing the gains from increased economic productivity. I am also excited by recent efforts to establish more egalitarian institutions like the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio.

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New Grad Student Voices: Caleb Alexander, Chemical Engineering


Caleb Alexander

Meet new graduate student Caleb Alexander
I was born and raised in Houston, TX and I got my BS in Chemical Engineering at UC Berkeley. I am interested in improving alternative energy technologies and reducing the human impact on the environment.

I chose UT-Austin:
I chose UT because not only are the people here smart, but they’re also really fun to hang out. Also, the city has a vibrant college life and most importantly the faculty in the university are top notch.

I’m excited about:
I’m really excited to learn more Chemical Engineering so I can test out my ideas and, when successful, start my own company.

First impression of Austin was:
My first impression was that Austin is a city where you could have a lot of fun —  from 6th street to kayaking. For me, this is nice because I tend to work hard and I need interesting ways to de-stress.



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New Grad Student Voices: Stefanie Carter, Department of History


S. Carter Pull Quote

I am Stefanie Carter [Department of History], and I am  …
… the first in my family to get a bachelors degree. I am certainly the first to go to graduate school. I feel like I’m jumping into the great unknown, but I am rather ridiculously excited about it – especially at such a great school. I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am right now.

I am here because …
… I received a grant in 2012 that sent me to London for a few weeks to do research, and to present my findings at a research symposium back in the US. It was amazing to have the chance to go, since there’s no possible way I could have afforded it otherwise. I worked in several major London archives, as well as the Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 archive. I also had the chance to spend time in the museums and sites around the city. That project, as well as my further research interests, tend to revolve around class relations in terms of the experience of the working class and those who sought to improve things for them.

I chose UT-Austin because … 
 … the great reputation of the History program, but it also came down to the great reputation of the faculty in the department and the British Studies Program. I had heard that they were not only top in their fields, but also just generally good people to work with.

UT also has such an active research community, with regular lectures and events. I really look forward to becoming a part of that, and being able to expand my knowledge in so many different ways.

I’m very excited about …
… being involved in such a lively research community with so many events and visiting speakers and outlets for discussion. I’m also hoping to be involved in some of the digital projects, like the podcasts. As a British historian in particular, I can’t wait to get lost in the fantastic archives available at the Harry Ransom Center.

I’m looking forward to …
…  my kids being in a much better school system, for sure. As for Austin itself, we’re excited about actually having things to do without driving a few hours to ‘get somewhere.’ Of course, there’s also the great food. I’ve started a list of restaurants.

 If you’d like to add your voice to our New Graduate Student Voices series, simply contact us at

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New Grad Student Voices Series: Valerie Gaimon, School of Social Work



Valerie Gaimon joins the School of Social Work this fall semester to extend her work as a lawyer concentrating on restorative justice. She recently took a few minutes to tell us a bit about herself.

my work “I am passionate about looking at justice through a restorative, rather than retributive lens. I see myself as a bridge-builder between legal policy, academic research, and theoretical underpinning. One of the aspects of social work I love is the importance it places on real-world applications of the research. Having worked around the world I saw so many organizations doing a lot of great work that did not have the ability or knowledge to conduct research into what was working, and then communicate that information to policy-makers so failures could be learned from and successful strategies duplicated on a larger scale.”

free time I enjoy being in nature, meditation and yoga, connecting with family and friends, gardening and cooking, singing and dancing, reading and writing, art and music, and playing cards and Scrabble. I am continually inspired by life’s resilience.

ask me about Living abroad in India, South Africa, Australia, South America

living in austin “I feel blessed that there is so much natural beauty here, as well as creative and open-hearted people.”

?Are you a new graduate student? You can participate in our “Voices” series by contacting our communications department via email

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New Grad Student Voices Series


Dear Readers,

We are happy to announce that we will be spotlighting new grad students this summer through our New Grad Student Voices Series. The goal is to find incoming graduate students who are willing to share a bit about themselves and their areas of study. We will be featuring these students on our homepage through the months of July and August.

Although several students are already participating, we would like to see deeper participation throughout UT-Austin colleges and divisions. If you’ve already participated, THANK YOU! If you’d like to suggest a student from your area, please simply email their contact information and a bit about them (I’ll ask them to tell me more) to maskey [at]

Thank you and, as always, Hook ‘Em!

Meg Askey
Director of Communications
The University of Texas at Austin
Office of Graduate Studies

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Liberal Arts Career Services Offer New Workshops in Careers Beyond Academia

Cap ThrowContrary to what you might think, academia is not the only route to career success and happiness. One career path doesn’t fit all, and not everyone is interested in or able to enter the academic world after graduation. As a graduate student you can pursue a variety of training-related career opportunities, if you’re prepared to jump into the job search. This workshop series is designed to give you the knowledge, skills, and information you need to move forward with your non-academic career plans. Join us for one or all three of our workshops and learn about your career options.

How to Communicate Your Value | March 25, 12:00 – 1:00 PM, CLA 1.302B
Regardless of what career path you are pursuing, you need to know how to communicate with audiences outside of your discipline and outside of academia. This session will provide tips, strategies and sample content for explaining the value and relevance of your grad school experiences to different audiences with a focus on employers outside of academia. Topics include:
* Converting Your CV to a Resume – formatting basics plus content strategies you won’t find online
* Personal Branding – how to identify, communicate and build your brand

Register for the 3/25 now »

Making Your Move – Master the Transition from Student to Professional | April 1, 12:00 – 1:00 PM, CLA 1.302B
Whether you are looking to expand your network or looking for a job, this session will help you connect to people and opportunities outside of academia. We review public and private sector career paths that grad students commonly pursue and provide job search tips, interview strategies and resources specifically tailored to grad students’ needs. Topics include:
* Networking- UT, Texas, national and online resources plus LinkedIn – beyond the basics
* Identifying and Applying to Jobs Outside of Academia
* Interviewing – Questions to expect/ ask and strategies for case and behavioral interviews

Register for the 4/1 now »

Know Your Options (& Keep them Open) | April 8, 12:00 – 1:00 PM, CLA 1.302B
Don’t wait until your ABD to start exploring your Alt-Ac (alternative to academia) options. Contrary to what the term “alt-ac” suggests, preparing for careers outside of the academy doesn’t require you to step off the academic track. You can progress down both tracks simultaneously. This session will explore the broad scope of careers available to you and help you create a professional development plan that gives you multiple post-grad school options. Topics include:
* Myths and misconceptions that limit your potential
* Career opportunities in corporate, government, nonprofit and healthcare sectors
* Resources and strategies for identifying and pursing alt-ac options

Register for the 4/8 now »

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Career Opportunities Beyond Academia with Dr. Mrim Boutla

Boutla Seminar

Dr. Mrim Boutla Photo

Dr. Mrim Boutla conducts a workshop designed to help Ph.D. students plan their careers.
When: March 18, 2014, 7-9 p.m.
Where: Avaya Auditorium (POB)
RSVP:  RSVP online »

When: March 18, 2014, 7-9 p.m.
Where: Avaya Auditorium (POB)
RSVP:  RSVP online »
Dr. Boutla asks that you both a.) register and complete the MTMCareers career assessments in advance of the workshop to maximize your experience and b.) bring your laptop to the session.

Event Details: Join Dr. Mrim Boutla for a workshop designed to help Ph.D. students and postdocs get clear, get connected, and get hired for career opportunities beyond academia. This session, titled Off-Track: Charting your Post-Ph.D. Career Path Beyond Academia, will focus on strategies you can use to get clear about your goals and transferable skills, get connected with like minded professionals and get hired for the types of opportunities that best fit you. This workshop will include examples from Dr. Mrim Boutla’s own transition from cognitive neuroscience to career coaching to social entrepreneurship, as well as case studies from other PhDs who have leveraged their transferable skills to build intellectually and financially rewarding careers across sectors. Whether you want to compete for tenure-track jobs or explore nonacademic paths, attending this workshop will help you learn more about the many options you have to put your Ph.D. skills to work.

Topics Include:

• Translating skills from one sector the another
• Current employment trends
• Identifying employers in one’s impact area
• Leveraging social networks to identify employers 
• Tailoring resumes and cover letters

Speaker Bio: Dr. Mrim Boutla is a cognitive neuroscientist turned career coach and social entrepreneur. Her PhD and postdoctoral research in brain plasticity have been published in peer-reviewed journals including Nature Neuroscience, Cognition, and Cerebral Cortex. Over the past decade, Dr. Boutla has used her cognitive neuroscience background to help students and professionals secure jobs that match their skills, as well as their life and career priorities. She started out as a career coach for PhDs and liberal arts graduates at Brown University. She then served as the career coach for international students and entrepreneurial management MBA students at the Kelley School of Business (Indiana University). In 2010 Dr. Boutla co-founded MTMCareers with Dr. Mark Albion (Faculty Founder of Net Impact). The MTMCareers elearning platform combines coaching and resources to help impact leaders get clear, get connected, and get hired faster for jobs that maximize meaning and money. MTMCareers has deployed their elearning platform across over 30 campuses in the US, and has received the 2013 AshokaU/Cordes Award for Social Innovation. Dr. Boutla earned her Bsc in Psychology from the Université Catholique de Louvain, and her MA and PhD in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Rochester.

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The University of Texas at Austin Graduate School

The Graduate School at The University of Texas at Austinprovides access to resources, services and funding to support more than 11,000 graduate students enrolled in graduate programs at the university.

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