Opportunity to Participate in a Study on the Intersections of Disability, Gender, and Sexuality

Please read the following message from Ryan Miller, a current PhD student in Educational Administration here at UT.

UT-Austin LGBTQ Students with Disabilities:

I am conducting a study on the intersections of disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation among UT-Austin students (undergraduate and graduate). Participants will take part in a confidential interview. If you self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning, and self-identify as a person with a disability of any kind, please contact me for more information on participating.

The goal of this study is to better understand the intersectional experiences of students with disabilities who identify as LGBTQ. My hope is that the findings of this project will help students, faculty, and staff contribute to a more inclusive campus climate. Participants will receive a summary of the study results and an opportunity to be involved in further phases of the study, if desired. This study has been reviewed by the University of Texas at Austin Office of Research Support (IRB study number 2013-07-0046).

Your participation in this study is confidential.

To find out more or to sign up to participate, please visit:


If you would like more information, please contact:

Ryan Miller | email: rmiller@austin.utexas.edu; telephone: (512) 471-7295
PhD Student, Educational Administration
The University of Texas at Austin

Posted in General

Texas Research Excellence Showcase

Swansea University will be showcasing its research excellence at a series of events in Houston, College Station and Austin from 26th – 31st October 2014.

The showcase will feature some of their world-leading researchers from across all of their academic subject areas.

See their website below to learn more about each day’s programs. With the exception of the Showcase Launch, all of the sessions are free to attend and open to all.


This event is being held in partnership with the University of Houston, Texas A&M University, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Event sponsors: Burleson LLP

Posted in General

International Voices: “The Customer is King” – Rambling Thoughts on Service Culture in the US

This post is a part of our weekly International Voices column, writing by UT students, for UT students. Enjoy!

Did you know you live in customer service paradise? Maybe you haven’t noticed, because you’ve always been greeted with a smile in the supermarket, your food has been cheerfully bagged for you, and if your six-pack of beer accidentally slipped to the ground outside the store, a friendly employee would hasten to exchange it for a pristine, unspilled case (don’t look so skeptical, I speak from HEB experience!). If I walk into a supermarket in my hometown, Berlin, with a broken case of anything and expect a refund, the not-so-friendly employee will tap their temple with their index finger – our gesture for ‘you’re crazy, lady’. Non-German friends of mine have repeatedly complained about German cashiers at discount supermarkets rushing them to bag their purchases and feeling accusatory stares on their backs if they can’t make way for the next customer quickly enough. Our cashiers generally exude a ‘You’re ruining my day’ aura.

Connie Loos

Connie Loos

So today I’m applauding American service culture. Not only do you have the friendliest cashiers, but your waiters bend over backwards to make sure you have everything you need. (Maybe not a fair comparison, our waiters know that the most acrobatic bending won’t get them more than a 15% tip. Germans don’t tip well.). Even getting rid of a subscription you didn’t want in the first place is easier in the US. The other day I called ancestry.com in a frenzy  because I had missed the deadline to cancel their free trial subscription by one day. Now, in Germany, I wouldn’t even have bothered calling, knowing my chances of a refund equal those of hell freezing over (and judging from this October heat, that’s not going to happen anytime soon…). After all, I had agreed to the terms and conditions and was legally trapped in a monthly subscription. But I called anyhow, thinking wer nicht wagt, der nicht gewinnt (‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’). I told the overworked lady on the other end of the line that I had only used their service once and simply forgot to cancel the subscription on time. After a little tug-of-war – “Our policies and regulations don’t allow for a refund” … “Can’t you help me, please?!”… “Sorry, ma’am, I can’t!”…”Please put me through to somebody who can”…. “Ok, we will make a special, one-time-only exception” – I got my refund!

Why had I signed up with ancestry.com in the first place, you wonder? You will have to keep wondering, as I’ll only admit this much: It involves me and my grandmother hunting down a great-great uncle of hers who sometime in the 19th century deserted his wife and seven kids in rural Mecklenburg to try his luck in America. For now, however, the descendants of my roguish forefather are safe from discovery, as I have to focus on grading midterms and dissertating. The hard-won refund will thus be spent speedily on a UT Rec Center massage – Hurray for American service culture!


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Posted in General, International Voices

Beware of Immigration Scams

FosterQuan, an immigration law firm with offices in Austin, published a recent article about immigration scams that target H-1B employees in particular, as well as other foreign nationals. We thought it was important information to share with our international population at UT.

The article mentions the following tactics used by scammers:

  • Accumulating realistic-sounding information from government websites to make claims seem more authentic.
  • Suggesting that there is a problem with the victim’s immigration status which requires payment.
  • Threatening deportation or to send authorities to a person’s home.
  • Claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service who state that the victim owes back taxes.
  • Stating that the victim is a Diversity Visa Lottery winner and must send in a fee.

The article further cautions that U.S. Government agencies do not conduct business by calling to ask for a payment, so you should not give a payment over the phone. Federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship & Immigration Services, Immigration & Customs Enforcement send official correspondence to foreign nationals via U.S. mail.

For more information, read the full article from FosterQuan or review the USCIS website on Common Immigration Scams.

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Posted in Immigration Updates

Test-taking Tips and Coping with Test Anxiety

Students in the UT Austin KAUST Foundation Year Program have been busy taking SAT and TOEFL exams this month. To prepare for the exams, they attended a Test Preparation and Test Anxiety Workshop developed by the UT Sanger Learning Center. Here are some tips they found most helpful:

  • Don’t cram. Make a study schedule. If you cram, you may feel unprepared and this could cause test anxiety.  In order to prevent anxiety, create a study schedule starting a week or two before the exam and stick to it. Make a study guide by compiling class notes, quizzes, exams and reading notes to review leading up to the exam.
  • Prepare to succeed. Before the exam, get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy meal or snack. (Your brain needs food too!) Also, try to maintain your normal routine so your body and mind can focus on handling the test, instead of adjusting to a sudden change.
  • During the exam, focus on thinking. Essentially, taking a test is a thinking task. Many times when we take a test, we think about doing better than others, making our parents proud, or we worry about our grade. Instead of thinking about the outcome, focus on thinking through the questions and answering the best that you can.
  • Turn your negative self-talk into positive self-talk. Many times that ‘little voice in your head’ can be abusive at times and scold you for making a mistake. When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, remind yourself that you are doing your best. If you aren’t happy with the result, seek help and study harder next time.
  • If you fail an exam, don’t panic. Make a plan to fix it!  If you receive a low score on an exam, rework the questions you missed and try to figure out what you did wrong so you can learn from your mistakes. Visit your professor during his or her office hours for extra help as well. You can also visit the Sanger Learning Center to schedule a tutoring session to receive additional support.

Want more test-taking or test anxiety resources? Check out the Sanger Learning Center website at http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/slc to find information on free workshops and tutoring resources.


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Posted in General

Bem-vindos(as) ao Brazil Center! (Welcome to the Brazil Center!)

The Brazil Center at UT Austin will celebrate 20 years in 2015! Read the message below from Carla Silva-Muhammad, the Center’s coordinator, to learn more about their exciting upcoming events, field research opportunities, and grants.

Please accept our warmest welcome to the Brazil Center of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and Benson Collections (LLILAS Benson) at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Brazil Center was established in 1995, following twenty-five years of work by the institute’s Brazilian Studies Committee to diversify and expand interdisciplinary studies of Brazil on the University of Texas at Austin campus and to increase the number of faculty specializing in Brazil.

The Brazil Center will, thus, celebrate 20 great years in 2015! Keep in touch to receive updates on our upcoming celebratory events in the Spring semester!

Currently, there are 48 Brazilianists, i.e., professors who devote most of their classes and research to Brazil, among 230 Latin Americanists at the University of Texas. This substantial number of scholars, combined with the distinguished Benson Collections, attracts researchers and students from diverse fields (and from around the world) like YOU.

Come see us today to learn more about the Brazil Center and the field research opportunities and grants we offer to students working on Brazil. You can also visit us online to find out more about our upcoming lectures and events.

We hope you can join us soon!


Carla Silva-Muhammad

Brazil Center Coordinator

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Posted in General

Dropping classes and maintaining status

Tuesday, November 4, is the last day an undergraduate student can withdraw from the university or drop a class, with the dean’s approval. It is also the last day that an undergraduate student may change registration for a class to a pass/fail basis. If you’re thinking about dropping a class, don’t forget about the impact it could have on your immigration status. All F-1 and J-1 students must be enrolled for a full-time course load in order to maintain a valid immigration status. Undergraduates must be enrolled for 12 credit hours and graduate students for 9 hours in the fall and spring semesters. Dropping below full-time hours would cause you to lose your immigration status.

Under very special circumstances, a student could be allowed to drop to less than full-time without an effect on his or her immigration status. If you believe that you might qualify, then schedule an appointment to see an international student advisor to discuss your case. You will need to get the permission of an international student advisor before you drop the class.

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Posted in Immigration Updates

Last Week of UHS Flu Shot Clinics

Don’t miss your chance to get a flu shot here on campus at the following UHS Flu Shot Clinics:

  • Tuesday, October 21, Student Services Building (SSB G1.310), Noon – 4pm
  • Wednesday, October 22, Facilities Services Complex (FC1 1.118), 1pm – 4pm
  • Thursday, October 23, Student Services Building (SSB G1.310), Noon – 4pm

UHS will file insurance claims for the BlueCross/BlueShield of Texas UT student and employee health insurance plans.  Be sure to bring your UT ID and insurance ID card.

You can speed up your check-in time by entering your insurance information online before a flu shot clinic (not required). Click “Flu Shots” at healthyhorns.utexas.edu to learn how.

For more information about the vaccine and the flu, go to healthyhorns.utexas.edu and click “Flu Shots.”


Posted in General

Trinity University Lecture: Helping International Students Find Jobs

Dan Beaudry, a former recruiting manager and author of the book Power Ties, will give advice to international students on how to find the best opportunity to secure a job in the United States. Beaudry will present “Power Ties” at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, in the Coates University Center Fiesta Room at Trinity University in San Antonio. The event is free and open to the public.

Learn more about this lecture.


Posted in General

International Voices: The Power of Conversation

This post is a part of our weekly International Voices column, writing by UT students, for UT students. Enjoy!

From the lady in line at the grocery store, to the new student you met in class, to the musician at the bus stop, to the exchange scholar at an ISSS event, to your professor, to your best friend, we always have so many conversation opportunities with so many different people.

Rita Bitar Nehme

Rita Bitar Nehme

As international students, we might hesitate at it sometimes. We might also try, unconsciously, to seek people from our own country or with a similar cultural background. We tend to stay in our comfort zone and not make any initiative, or respond in a way that will not carry the conversation forward.

One small chat, one short conversation can teach you something about a new culture, a new field, about the other person or even about yourself. It might help you get this internship, give you an idea, or inspire you to start something you never thought about. It can simply make your day, or someone else’s.

When I moved to the States, I got exposed to more diverse types of conversations and a bigger variety of stories. I get asked a lot of different questions as an international student. Some of the common ones are where my accent is from (of course), why I chose to come to Austin, what were the cultural differences, Lebanese food descriptions and recommendations, places to visit in Lebanon, what I study and why, my aspirations for the future after graduating.

This exchange of words turns into a very interesting experience and rich exchange. It gives me a chance to talk about and reflect on decisions I made and plans I have with others and hear about theirs; verbalizing these ideas and passions are a step towards making them happen. Even aside from the potential benefits of the conversation’s content, the process of sharing emotions, ideas and stories itself makes you feel good.

It is always beautiful when the mind is expanded and exposed to the variety of cultures, people, stories and perspectives. This makes every conversation worth the shot.

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Posted in General, International Voices

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