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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.