Three students with the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program spent this summer in uncommon ways: studying abroad to conduct research on a startup community in Italy, obtaining a grant to pilot language learning lesson plans and attending a Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellowship Program that helps students from diverse social and economic backgrounds succeed in higher education. Their stories from the summer are below.
Madeline Keulen, who worked with a mentor in the MBA program, went to Rome this summer to conduct research on entrepreneurship and the startup community in Italy with the Rome Study Program (RSP). “My goals for the program were to improve my Italian and learn more about the entrepreneurial environment in Italy. Austin has been a fantastic city to grow my interests in startups, but being here surrounded by so much support left me wondering about the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in other parts of the world,” she said.
“Last year I was a participant in the IE Pre-Graduate School Internship program and had the pleasure of working with an incredible MBA student who had launched her own businesses, gained incredible industry experience and also shared a love for travel. Her mentorship and guidance in helping me decide about life after college and the possibility of pursuing an MBA made IE one of the most worthwhile experiences of my college career. Through participating in IE and going abroad I’ve been able to learn the importance of understanding business environments through different cultural perspectives. I’m currently working on launching my own cake ball company, Dolcetti (which means “little sweets” in Italian) and preparing for my GMAT so that I may apply to MBA programs in the future.”
Keulen plans to launch her company in September.
IE/Middle Eastern Studies Pre-Grad intern Danilo Aquilo’s story is another powerful example of how IE facilitates student research (a key objective at the University of Texas at Austin) and how IE student projects often lead to additional work that will involve future IE interns and mentors. Aquilo piloted several Arabic lesson plans as part of the IE Internship with his faculty supervisor Laila Familiar. They received a $25,000 grant from Qatar Foundations International to continue their Arabic language learning project started during the IE program, and will hire several Pre Grad interns and mentors this fall to assist with the project. In October, Danilo will present a research paper as part of a panel of UT Arabic doctoral students at the Middle Eastern Studies Association annual conference. He said: “IE has become a life-changing part of my college career, helping me imagine what’s possible and design plans to accomplish my goals. I never thought that my decision to take this internship would turn into such a meaningful scholarly project. On top of it all, I’m enjoying the work. It challenges me academically and personally. The IE experience has encouraged me to look at graduate school programs and pursue a career in the field of Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language.”
Ana Laura Rivera
IE/Public Policy Pre Grad intern and McNair Scholar Ana Laura Rivera (Government and Humanities Honors) is the first in her family to attend college. She was one of twenty students nationwide who were accepted into this summer’s Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship Program at Carnegie Mellon and the only student selected from the University of Texas at Austin. She credits IE with helping her learn about different policy graduate school programs.
“Thanks to the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program, this summer I participated in the competitive Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellowship Program at the H. John Heinz III College at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” she said. “Being the first in my family to attend college, it was challenging learning everything on my own–from searching for internship opportunities to learning about research. The PPIA Fellowship Program helps students from diverse social and economic backgrounds achieve higher educations and careers in public policy and international affairs. As a PPIA fellow, I hoped this program would help me look at how differing policies affect communities, states, and countries–allowing me to gain a well-rounded academic and intellectual foundation to assist me in accomplishing my goals. Thus, I hoped to learn how to create effective policies that would improve the state of Texas and the nation to create change in the future. My main goal is to graduate and continue on to earn a doctorate in public policy. The IE Pre Grad internship program helped me gain the confidence I needed, learn the graduate school process in-depth, and even went beyond by helping me apply to public policy fellowships.”