If you have visited Gearing Hall lately, you might have noticed the new life-size banners installed in the Great Hall. The banners feature a student representative of each of the School of Human Ecology’s three majors.
We, here in the school, chose our student representatives very carefully – they are all scholarship recipients; they all have big ambitions for the future; they are engaged, intelligent, creative, open and fearless. Most importantly, they are fearless (After all, each of these students was willing to respond to a vague email invitation to participate in a photo shoot with the university’s photographer Marsha Miller).
On our walk to the photo shoot, we found out that Karin would be performing later that week at Saxon Pub; she has been playing fiddle since she was 3years old. Karin was also working on her undergraduate thesis on sexual frequency and cortisol reactivity and was working as an intern with the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
Karin Gustafsson is our student representative of Human Development and Family Sciences. She is a recipient of the Jack S. Gray, Jr. Endowed Presidential Scholarship and the Unrestricted Endowed Presidential Scholarship.
Karin and her fellow seniors will participate in the 129th Spring University-wide Commencement on Saturday, May 19, 2012. Karin’s accomplishments, to be recognized at the College of Natural Sciences Convocation on May 19, include being named to Special Departmental Honors and being named a Dean’s Honored Graduate and a College Scholar for the College of Natural Sciences.
We asked Karin about her time at The University of Texas at Austin and where she will go from here.
What is your hometown?
What is the most surprising thing you have learned at The University of Texas at Austin?
The most surprising thing I learned while I was at the University of Texas at Austin was that we all have abilities that are hidden. These capabilities are unseen until the perfect moment, when those very special parts of you come out right when you need them, even if you have never experienced them in yourself before. Throughout my undergraduate career, I was challenged by the University of Texas and was repeatedly surprised to find that I was capable of tasks I had never expected myself to be capable of.
What is the most memorable experience you have had at the university?
I had endless memorable experiences at the university, even yesterday at my classical guitar teacher’s performance; I listened to his incredible playing and was amazed by the feats that passion and perseverance can conquer. There is so much inspiration from fellow students and teachers; it seems to waft in the air, floating like pollen through the halls and courtyards.
What is the biggest issue facing your generation? What is your role in the solution?
The biggest issue facing my generation is the problem of fear and laziness. So many in my generation and generations before mine have allowed fear to direct interactions with our environment and our relationships. I believe it is time to let go of fear and have faith in other people, our purpose, and our surroundings. I believe fear leads to laziness, our other big problem. The two are interconnected, and as one releases fear, there is energy released that can be channeled into a powerful movement that is capable of changing obsolete structures and generating the incredible energy of people working together to embrace a harmonious world. I believe my role is to embody courageous curiosity in all that I do and to not allow fear or laziness to stand in the way of positive change in the world.
What are your plans after graduation?
This summer I will be composing and recording an instrumental album and a solo album in Sweden. In the fall of 2012, I will be traveling to India to explore eastern philosophy at an ashram in southern India and will be teaching teachers at the Bhatti Mines school which is supported by a humanitarian service organization located in Austin, called AMALA Foundation. The organization encourages youth to lead and serve with heart-centered, global perspective. I hope to present my research to a conference in January. In the following spring I intend to travel to Kenya to teach in a music school. After a year of travel and exploration I intend to apply to a Ph.D program in either Human Development and Family Sciences or Clinical Psychology in either Europe or America.
What are you most looking forward to?
I am most looking forward to embracing my adventurous spirit and finding people and places that I can give to in some way. I love to be a creative force in this world and am so excited to allow my mind the space and time it needs to allow original problem-solving to come forth and new perspectives to open my eyes as wide as they can be!
We wish all of our graduates the very best as they move forward into their futures. We are very proud of you and of your accomplishments! Hook ‘em!