Fall 2021 Honors Program Graduates

This December, we are celebrating two Honors Program graduates, Madison Zialu and Julia Loza. We invite you to learn more about these outstanding students, their honors experience and their plans for the future.

Madison Zialu                                                                       

Public Relations & Asian Cultures and Languages/Plan II Honors

honors student madison

What are your pronouns of choice? She/her

Where are you from? Arlington, Texas

What was your favorite part of the honors program? I loved Dr. Jones Barbour's Public Memory course. Not only was the content matter interesting, but I got to hear about the personal experiences and beliefs of my honors cohort.

Please share what your honors capstone was and talk a bit about your experience/what you learned from it. I am currently in the final stages of writing my undergraduate thesis for Moody. I am studying a genre of Japanese manga known as shounen ai, or "boys' love" that has blown up in popularity in the West. For me, this was a chance for diversion without consequences. I am able to dive deep into what I find interesting even if it might not fit into my current line of studies. I will say that it is not easy, but it is an incredibly gratifying experience to put my knowledge on paper.

What advice would you give to current honors students? Don't feel as though you have to fit in a box. There's no point in doing something for the sake of keeping up appearances. Always be honest with yourself or you won't find value in what you do.

Post-grad plans? I will be teaching English in Japan starting April of next year!

Favorite honors speaker? My favorite honors speaker is honestly Dr. Junker (I know he's our professor but I feel like he counts!) He could have you go from laughing and having fun to pondering the meaning of your existence within the span of a single sentence.

What TV show character embodies your time in college? Very much Season-1 Issa from "Insecure." A healthy blend of both hope and disappointment, but with me powering through and growing in the process.

Julia Loza

Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

honors student julia

What are your pronouns of choice? She/her

Where are you from? I've lived in North Austin for 10 years now! But I am originally from Orange County, California. 

What was your favorite part of the honors program? My favorite part of the Honors program was taking Professor Dahlby's course Traveler's Tales last spring. It was a small class, as most Honors courses are, and it was clear that everyone in that class was accepted and valued. Also, Professor Dahlby was incredibly sweet and wise, but he never treated you like you were any less valuable than him. That was a big deal for me. 

Please share what your honors capstone was and talk a bit about your experience/what you learned from it. For my capstone I wrote the reflection essay. I wrote on the theme of peace. The Moody Honors program has been a big part of my journey toward personal peace, and the reflection essay allowed me to put that into words and appreciate this program's influence. 

What advice would you give to current honors students? I'd advise any current honors students to remember their value. Regardless of GPA, bullet points on a resume, or experience, we all have worth. Particularly, in relation to grades, don't let perfectionism consume you. Where you are right here and right now is a blessing, but it won't last forever. We will move on, live beautiful lives, despite our plans. That B+ absolutely will not matter in the grand scheme of things. Be kind to yourself. 

Post-grad plans? I have secured a job working as a Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant in a pediatric clinic in Round Rock! I plan to apply to a Speech-Language Pathology master's program after gaining a few years of clinical experience (and after my 2-year-old daughter gets just a little bit older...)

Favorite honors speaker? It has admittedly been a while since I've been able to attend an honors speaking event, but I enjoyed listening to Jason Stanford speak to Professor Cutbirth's Leadership and Public Narrative class this semester! 

What TV show character embodies your time in college? I'd have to say that Michael Scott (Steve Carell's character in "The Office") is probably the character that best embodies my college experience simply because of his purely chaotic energy. Nothing about my college experience has been conventional, but I kind of like that.