Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE), a program housed within the DDCE and the Moody College of Communication, connects undergrads with graduate students and internship opportunities. Meet the leaders of the program who are empowering students to find their niche and make the most of their college experience.
Dr. Tommy Darwin
Darwin serves as the director of IE’s Pre-Graduate School Internship, handling program logistics and developing the course curriculum. He also serves as a mentor by helping students identify goals and develop a detailed plan for achieving them. His roles within the IE Program are rooted in his passion for entrepreneurship, leadership and community change. He encourages everybody, especially university students, to be proactive and take control of their future, an approach that is modeled by his own version of the university’s tagline: “What starts now changes the world.” He believes that IE serves as a link between the worlds of higher education and society, and envisions that it will continue to expand and serve as an entrepreneurial, intellectual and philosophical catalyst. When Darwin is not working on IE and mentoring students, he can be found spending time with his wife, supporting their five children in extracurricular activities, and enjoying nature.
Jangbar serves as the assistant director of the IE Pre-Graduate School Internship while pursuing a Ph.D. in communication studies. She assists Dr. Darwin in running the internship program and mentoring students. Coming from an underprivileged background, Jangbar recognizes the value of diversity in higher education and firmly believes that diversity equals excellence. She views her work as an opportunity to give back to the educational system. Her contributions help to expand the program, serve more students, and make UT a friendlier place for diversity. Jangbar’s passion for education shines through in the work that she does on behalf of IE, and also in her own academic endeavors. Currently, she is studying how silence, as opposed to speech, can play a role in rhetorical theory. When she’s not at work, her favorite pastimes include cooking, hiking and attending orchestra performances.
Heaven is the director of the IE Kuhn Scholars Program, a facet of IE that gives a select group of interns a $1000 stipend for their research. The funding gives them the opportunity to connect with the community via volunteering, professional networking and workshops. He organizes and directs all of these activities, while serving as a mentor for students and pursuing a Ph.D in higher education administration. He explains that his passion for the program stems from his own experiences as a first-generation, low-income college student. When asked about the value of the IE Program, he stated, “a program like IE helps to bridge the gap for disadvantaged students, encouraging them to succeed in their undergraduate experience and beyond.” In the future, he hopes to see IE expand its reach and resources, which will allow it to continue increasing diversity and achievement at UT Austin. During his free time, Heaven is an avid writer of spoken word who also enjoys listening to music, reading and spending time with the people who are close to him.
Lance is a student at UT’s School of Law. She serves as president of Law Students Mentoring Undergraduates– a student-run organization that collaborates with IE to create mentorship opportunities for undergraduates who are interested in law school. Each year, she matches about 60 of her fellow law students with undergraduate IE interns and helps create a learning experience that is open, honest and engaging. As the first in her family to attend college and graduate school, Jessica understands the value of guiding aspiring law students through the application process. She is an IE mentor because she sees the program as an important tool and resource for students to learn about the profession they are considering joining. In the future, Lance hopes to see the IE program grow and encourage its participants to one day serve as mentors for the next generation of undergraduate students. Despite her busy schedule as both a law student and mentor, Jessica enjoys paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake and exploring Austin with her dog, Huck.
Dr. Richard Cherwitz, founder and director of IE, emphasizes the value that all of these individuals add to the program.
“While each brings a unique background and set of skills, they all understand the importance of expanding learning opportunities and helping students discover, own and become accountable for their education,” he said.
More about IE Program
What began as a forum for collaboration among graduate students has since grown to include all undergraduate students at UT Austin through the creation of the Pre-Graduate School Internship Program. IE serves as a platform for students to maximize the value of their academic experience, and then use that knowledge to make meaningful contributions to society.