In the fall of 2010, I entered Pitt as a frazzled freshman with mediocre test scores and too many interests to narrow down into a single academic program. I was originally introduced to the Honors College through Ryan Gayman, who had just begun his position as the UHC’s Community Engagement Advisor. Ryan introduced me to FUSE Pittsburgh, a local nonprofit that works with high school students to improve their literacy rates in Wilkinsburg, one of the city’s under-resourced neighborhoods. Through directly engaging in the community, I have been able to make Pittsburgh my true home—not a temporary home for four years, but the special place I know I will always come back to long after I have earned my degree.
The UHC has also empowered me academically, seeing me as more than just the numbers reflected in my SAT and ACT scores. I am a Political Science, Spanish, and Philosophy major with a minor in Portuguese and certificates in Latin American and Global Studies. Because of UHC advising, I've been able to complete my program in four years—without sacrificing my social life. I have also been involved with numerous organizations, including Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, Strong Women, Strong Girls, and Brazil Nuts. The Honors College has helped me further explore my interests in public policy and international studies. I have been fortunate to participate in the summer Brackenridge Fellowship program, where I conducted research on crime control and prevention. In 2012, I also had the opportunity to travel to São Luis, Maranhão, Brazil, where I developed my knowledge of Portuguese language and Brazilian culture while researching race identification.
Throughout the past four years, the UHC has been an incredible support system that has encouraged and enabled me to pursue my many interests. The UHC advisors take into account my interests, strengths and potential to provide me with a holistic, meaningful co-curricular experience at PITT.