Elizabeth McDowell receives '09 Zarif and Paniego Undergrad Award for Excellence
- November 5, 2009
- Scholarship recognizes the anthropology and international studies undergraduate for academic excellence
Major: anthropology and international studies
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Future aspirations: teaching English abroad and graduate school
Standout accomplishment: recipient of the Reza Zarif and Rufina Paniego School of Social Sciences Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Anthropology
Of all the schools I applied to, UCI offered some of the most intriguing courses in a great community.
What made you decide to double major in anthropology and international studies?
My dad traveled a lot with his Navy career and would return with the best stories (and gifts!) so I always wanted a career that kept me outdoors and traveling, therefore majoring in international studies was a given. However, since I was little, I’ve wanted to be an archaeologist. It wasn’t until my first anthropology course at UCI that I realized how much I loved anthropology and could actually pursue a career in archaeology.
With interests in international studies and archaeology, have you had the opportunity to travel much and explore?
This year, I'll be studying for a semester in Australia where I’ll be able to focus primarily on anthropology and archaeology; in fact most of my classes will be centered on the archaeology of the Pacific Rim. My previous travels really gave me a thirst for new places as well as their history. I have family on the East Coast and we traveled throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia visiting Civil War battlefields, Mount Vernon and many other places. I’ve also traveled around the West Coast of the United States, Hawaii, and I recently made it down to Mexico with one of my classes. Certainly the trip that enthralled me the most was my trip to Europe during which I stayed in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, and England.
What activities are you currently involved with on and off campus?
Through UCI, I am an active member of the Social Science Dean’s Ambassador Council, the Communication Club, and Campus to Campus Tutoring. Outside of school I love to travel and do anything outdoors.
Are there any challenges you've had to overcome or words of advice you can offer other students at UCI?
Learning to get help when needed has been a major challenge for me. I always resisted help, in part because I wanted to prove that I could do everything by myself. However, there are some things with which you just need to accept the help that’s offered as it will get you much farther than you would by yourself.
What’s your best memory thus far from your years as an anteater?
I have had so many great experiences at UCI, by far the best have been some of the
classes I’ve taken including “Transnational Gangs” with lecturer Al Valdez; “Legal
Implications of the Drug Trade” with Federal Judge David Carter; “South East Asian
Migrants and Migration” with lecturer Tom Douglas, and my current anthropology course,
“Latin America: People and Culture” with professor Angela Garcia. These classes have
had the most amazing professors that create an environment in which you can learn,
but also have fun. I’ve met some of my best friends in these classes. My experience
as a student at UCI has been more than I ever expected. There are countless opportunities
for growth both on and off campus. In a few months I will be studying abroad in Australia,
something that I would have never dreamed of doing had I not investigated all that
UCI has to offer.