Meet HDFS & Travel Master Vanessa Medrano

Meet HDFS & Travel Master Vanessa Medrano


Hometown: El Paso

Year: 3rd Year

Major: HDFS

  1. How have you liked Austin so far?

It’s a lot more diverse then what I grew up with, but its helping me prepare for the real world. Austin is also a lot bigger than where I’m from.

2. How did you get into your lab?

I took a class that I really loved from a professor that I really admired. When the class ended, I emailed the professor and TA about the lab. Then I went to an interview for the lab and got in!

3. What lab are you in? How has your experience been?

The lab is called the Transition to Parenthood. The lab examines multiple experiences of new parents. I’ve done a lot of coding and that mostly comes from looking at stories from new parents. I look to see if they had positive or negative experiences for things, such as the delivery of their first child.

4. How has the lab help you develop your own research interests?

Even though I’ve taken classes that required literary reviews, the lab helps me find articles and apply it to something I’m interested in. The lab allows me to be more creative than a class normally would.

5. Do you have any advice for someone interested in joining a lab?

Look for something that you’re interested in because an interview for something you’re not interested in isn’t worth it. Be aggressive. Don’t be afraid because most labs do need people to volunteer. Once you get in work hard so you can get more opportunities in the lab.

6. You also studied abroad; where did you go? How was the experience?

I went to Spain. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Not only did I meet people that I didn’t expect to meet, but also people from UT that I would’ve never expected to. Everyone had a close relationship with the professor as well which is always positive. I took it in the summer so I didn’t fall behind on coursework, I even got ahead! I also got to learn about a culture that is very different than mine.

7. People have said that traveling expands the mind; do you agree? Why or why not?

I do agree. It really allows you to learn about different perspectives and makes you more open minded. There are things that I learned about Spain that I didn’t expect to care about until I saw it for myself.

8. What advice did you wish you received as an incoming freshman?

Pace yourself. Sometimes everything can be overwhelming. You should learn to pace yourself and take everything bit by bit. Sometimes if you take everything in at once; you might drown. This applies to emotions as well. Don’t just bury everything and hope for the best. Talk to the people at the CMHC (Counseling and Mental Health Center) and work through your emotions.

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