Avery Sirwatka, Class of 2021

Avery Sirwatka.

Graduation Date

May 2021


Urban and Public Policy; Sociology


Environmental Design; Public Health


Jamestown, NY

Experiential Learning Activities

Research assistant, Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab; Community for Excellence in Global Health Equity; Study abroad at Queen’s University, Belfast

Campus Involvement

Student Committee for Inclusive Excellence; SPARK program; Champions for Change

Why did you choose Social Sciences Interdisciplinary?

I chose IDP because it allowed me to personalize my university education. Oftentimes, students feel that their education is placed in a ‘box’ … it doesn’t have to be that way! For me, IDP was the best way to pursue my interests in policy development, sociology/social change, and the relationships between people and places while developing a strong background in research theory/methodology and experiential learning.

What has been your favorite class to date?

My favorite class has been Urban Schools and Communities with Dr. Shelley Kimelberg. The class always pushed students intellectually while allowing us to pursue our own interests in assignments. It was also a seminar, which facilitated peer-to-peer discussion and co-learning.

What advice would you give to an incoming UB student?

There is no limit to your success at UB. Keep pushing yourself, finding opportunities, meeting new faculty and staff, and striving more.

What accomplishment are you most proud of so far during your time at UB?

I recently traveled to Kerala, India with Dr. Samina Raja through a grant I submitted to the Community of Excellence in Global Health Equity in order to research smallholder farmer resiliency in the face of climate change. I also applied for and received a grant from the Honors College Research and Creativity Fund to research how Burmese refugees utilize autonomy and relationship building to adapt to new academic institutional environments.

What are you hoping to do in the future?

I plan on pursuing a dual masters in urban planning and public health (MUP/MPH) and later, a PhD, with the hope of being a university professor and continuing to conduct research.

What is one fun fact about you?

I’m a twin!

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