Anna Blatto, Class of 2018
Urban and Public Policy Studies; Sociology
Chinese; Environmental Design
Awards and Recognitions
Recipient of Critical Language Scholarship for Chinese: Taiwan, Summer 2016; Research Assistant in Smoking Research Lab through UB Department of Psychology; Volunteer Internship with Partnership for the Public Good, 2017-2018; IDP Outstanding Senior, 2018; Charles Haynie Memorial Student Award, 2018
Why did you choose Social Sciences Interdisciplinary?
When I first came into UB, I was completely unsure of what I wanted to pursue. Although I was aware I was more interested in studying the social sciences and the liberal arts, I wasn’t sure what my exact interests were. I didn’t even realize there was an interdisciplinary program! As I began to attend various seminars and do some social and academic exploration, I realized I had a strong interest in studying cities and interactions within them. I’ve always viewed cities as a center for life and creativity and wanted to develop my understanding of how policy impacts urban spaces. Therefore, I found it appropriate to partner my love for the study of social development with my love for cities through IDP in the Urban and Public Policy concentration.
What did you like best about your experience in the program?
I really enjoyed IDP for two reasons. First, even though the program itself is rather large, I always felt I could reach out to the office and that I’d be able to get guidance and advice. Second, the “interdisciplinary” aspect of it was very attractive because I feel as though it is easier to gain a more comprehensive knowledge of a given field of study by combining a series of classes offered in other fields of study. Therefore, I was able to take classes in a variety of departments and apply them effectively to my area of study. I think this allowed me a greater understanding of my field through the perspectives of various disciplines.
What advice would you give to an incoming UB student?
The best advice I could give after completing four years at UB is to get as involved as possible as early as possible, while still leaving time for academics and to relax with friends. This balance is really hard to achieve, but the earlier you do it, the more prepared you’ll be. UB can be intimidating because it combines a large campus with thousands of students studying countless subjects. However, involvement will help you find your niche and make such a large, diverse community a little bit smaller and more approachable. Also, making sure you know your professors and advisors in your department is incredibly important – it’s crucial to your development and will make a huge difference when you need help or want to apply for scholarships or other opportunities.
Reflecting on your time at UB, what are you most proud of?
One of the things I’m most proud of is my ability to engage and involve myself in a variety of jobs and activities while continuing to perform well academically. There were certainly bumps along the road, but ultimately, I’m very proud of the experiences I gained and work I did throughout my four years of undergraduate study. Additionally, I officially published a report through Partnership for the Public Good, a local policy institute, in spring of my senior year (2018). The academic and extracurricular experiences I involved myself in contributed greatly to my ability to achieve that accomplishment.
What are your future plans?
At this point, I certainly want to pursue further academic opportunities; therefore, I plan on applying to joint JD/MUP or JD/MPP programs for fall 2019 admission. Ultimately, I hope to work in the field of community development to create and sustain more socially just and equitable urban communities.
Meet More Students
Kimberly Kadziolka, Class of 199810/8/20
My first major was English and Writing, thinking I wanted to go into advertising. Then, I got a job working in a group home, and discovered human services. I really enjoyed the work and when I learned I could have a career helping people reach their potential, I was sold. I switched my major and never looked back. What kept me engaged was knowing I could immediately apply what I learned in class, often the next day or week. Another draw is the range of work that this major reaches. While I started with direct care work, I was able to move up into management positions and still apply the lessons I learned at UB. My career started with individuals with disabilities, however, I was also prepared to work with children, older adults, and people with mental health challenges throughout my career thanks to my education.
Stephanie Simeon, Class of 200310/8/20
I had attended John Jay High School back home which was a specialized high school focused on law. Most go from there and pursue a career in law or law enforcement. I was determined to go from John Jay to the Legal Studies program then straight into law school. Although I made a different choice by going into Urban Planning, I still use the skills learned from the Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Program, specifically all the statistics, demographics, logic/game theory (not sure if they still require those classes anymore).
Natalie Doller, Class of 202210/8/20
I chose to minor in Nonprofit Leadership because I knew I wanted to work in a sector that prioritized making the world a better place over profit margins. What I enjoyed most about it was seeing all the unique ways nonprofits can exist and operate in our world. There is no one size fits all business model for these organizations and it’s cool to see how different organizations take creative approaches to struggles in different communities.
Matthania Volmy, Class of 201910/8/20
I chose to major in Health and Human Services because this field of study’s goal was to inform as well as provide me with the knowledge that I needed which would be beneficial to not only my day-to-day experiences, but to my professional experiences as well. I have gained a holistic perspective from each of these courses which gave me a better understanding of the world around me.
Daniel Emblidge III, Class of 202210/8/20
I was first attracted to IDP because of its interdisciplinary nature. I believe that today’s world is moving towards this direction because problems and events are far too complex to only assess them through a narrow lens. The IDP major allowed me to study not only African and Middle Eastern politics but also language, culture, economics, and history. This comprehensive curriculum made me a well-rounded student, leaving UB confident in the challenges that lie ahead.
Jessica (Billick) Mabie, Class of 20054/13/21
I knew at the time I wanted to pursue a career in Healthcare Administration, and the Health & Human Services program felt like the best fit to prepare me for the field. The program’s foundation in human services laid the groundwork for me to continue to build upon as I progressed into my Masters program and ultimately into leadership roles in not-for-profit healthcare.
Clara Cook, Class of 202110/8/20
I was interested in my psychology courses because I love understanding why we work the way we do, but I did not want to just understand, I wanted to take that understanding and make people’s lives easier, using what I learned. Cognitive Science called to me because it took every academic interest and showed me a real-life application, a means of not just studying people but making a difference in those people’s lives. I love solving problems, and I like to think of cognitive science as a field predicated on the idea that there is a way to make our world interactions better. We just have to figure out how.
Lilian Macancela, Class of 202010/13/20
My experience in IDP has been the highlight of my college career. Each semester, I look forward to the plethora of classes I can take and am excited to learn about different academic disciplines. I really enjoyed being able to combine my interests within IDP: political science, sociology, and law.
Brittany Mitchell, Class of 20131/29/20
I chose to major in Health and Human Services because it went along really well with a Psychology major, and the two programs complemented each other in a great way. I was able to take a more diverse array of classes that resulted in me attaining a more well-rounded education.
Connor Carrow, Class of 202210/24/19
What attracted me to the IDP Cognitive Science concentration was an interest in mind and consciousness, and a disenchantment with how other disciplines go about studying those things.
Avery Sirwatka, Class of 20219/19/19
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.
Zoe Albertinie, Class of 20219/19/19
What attracted me to the IDP program was the ability to study education … With the IDP program I was able to have a concentration in Early Childhood Studies which then allowed me to take classes focused on my interests.
Hope Carroll, Class of 202011/25/19
I chose IDP because for as long as I can remember, I knew that no matter what I ended up doing as a career or throughout life in general, I wanted to help people. I have always had a passion for making people feel heard, advocacy and offering support when needed; this major seems to encapsulate all of that and much more.
Anna Blatto, Class of 20189/19/19
I was able to take classes in a variety of departments and apply them effectively to my area of study. I think this allowed me a greater understanding of my field through the perspectives of various disciplines.
I’m from Orchard Park, New York, and I am studying French, linguistics and international studies with a regional focus in Africa.
Originally from Buffalo, New York, I am pursuing a double major in Health and Human Services/Community Mental Health and Psychology.
For me, this major encompassed everything I am. After pursuing nursing, and realizing that clinical work was not “for me,” I started to hone in on my leadership skills and ability to direct, inspire and HELP.