Confidence-building internships. Mind-expanding research. Life-changing service trips. Enriching moments of faith. Six outstanding Hilltoppers tell us about the opportunities, relationships and insights they’re experiencing on the hilltop that are shaping their futures and worldview.
“I started taking computer science classes to expand my skills my sophomore year. I was really unsure of myself at first, because it didn’t come naturally to me. But my graphic design professor, Jimmy Luu, had started a mentorship program with Fjord, a design and interactive studio in Austin. I was matched with a Fjord mentor — a St. Edward’s alumna — who connected me with computer science professionals in her office, and they encouraged me to keep going. They told me having those skills would help me communicate with the programmers I’ll work with, because I’d know both the creative and technical sides of a project. So I stuck with it, and now I’ve decided to pursue a career in interaction design.”
“I started at St. Edward’s in the pre-med track, but I had opportunities that helped me realize the analytical thinking I was developing in biology could be applied in business. Through the School of Natural Sciences, I got a seat at Capital Factory [an Austin-based accelerator for tech startups], where I worked on a startup to help undocumented students. Right now I’m working for an international consulting management firm, focusing on data analytics, and I’ve found that the mindset of biology is directly transferable to my work. My freshman year I did biomedical research with one of my professors, and we would always ask ourselves, Why are we taking this approach? Why are we using this material? Now, in data analytics, I’m learning to ask, Why are we looking at this data set? Could we drill down or look at it from a higher level? That approach of constantly asking ‘why’ is as useful in business as in science.”
“I came to St. Edward’s planning to major in English and become a journalist, but I started taking psychology classes and eventually added it as a second major. My psychology professor also suggested I take a social work class, which confirmed that I like learning about how government policies affect individual people. Now I am planning to pursue a master’s in Social Work, so I can counsel Latinx youth and advocate for better mental health resources for them. My Writing and Rhetoric degree is going to be useful no matter what I eventually do. If you want to change policies, you have to be able to communicate in a way that’s persuasive and relatable.”
“It was easy to attend daily noon Mass at the chapel, because the chapel is literally between the business building and the tennis courts, where I practiced as a member of the women’s tennis team. The 9 p.m. Mass on Sunday is perfect for students. We’re all so busy during the day, but it can be the last thing you do in the evening and the best way to start the next week.”
“In the sciences, it’s easy to develop a theoretical, detached outlook. But behind every technical solution is a human problem or need. What St. Edward’s has taught me is that even if you’re not a humanities major, you still need to consider the human aspect of your work. Instead of just learning an algorithm, you need to think about how that algorithm might have ripple effects in people’s lives. St. Edward’s does more than acknowledge issues like the social impact of technology — it helps you think deeply about them.”
“My sophomore year, I joined a Service Break Experience to volunteer at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, which works with formerly incarcerated people and former gang members. We got a chance to hear their stories — like John, who had his whole life ahead of him but got in with a bad crowd and went to prison when he was 18. When he got out, Father Greg, the founder of Homeboy Industries, gave him a second chance, and now he’s turned his life around. Coming back to Austin, my heart was so full because of the good people we met there.”