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Celebrating Our 2021 Graduates: Alcess Nonot

Alcess Nonot GraduAsian 21

Major: Human Development & Family Sciences/Biology, College of Natural Sciences

Hometown: Cedar Park, Texas

Programs & Activities: Senate of College Councils; Natural Sciences Council, School of Human Ecology Ambassadors; Asian Desi Pacific Islander American Coalition (ADPAC)

A time to celebrate and reflect…One of several ADPAC students leading this year’s GraduAsian ceremony, Alcess Nonott looks forward to celebrating with her fellow graduates at the virtual event which happens to coincide with Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. This month, she says, is not just a celebration; it’s a time to remember and move forward. “Celebrating during the month of May is great, but there shouldn’t be a stopping point for honoring AAPI culture. It’s a reminder for people to get involved—to educate themselves, to become politically active and to find tangible ways to support AAPI communities.”

Finding her path…Inspired by her father who started his long and rewarding nursing career back in his home country of the Philippines, Nonot came to UT Austin with the goal of helping others. She wasn’t quite sure where that path would lead until she discovered an interdisciplinary approach to public health within Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS).  “When I was a freshman, I was interested in making a social impact in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion. I didn’t know I could do that through medicine until I took classes in HDFS that taught me about the intersection of race and medicine. This was when I realized I could fulfill my desire to help people by working in the medical field.”

A small yet joyful moment…During her sophomore year, Nonot worked alongside several committee members on drafting a list of 8 Demands for Transformative Change, which resulted in the renaming of the Robert L. Moore Building. “I will never forget the day we all—professors and students—came together to blow up balloons and decorate for a little celebration. It was a small yet extremely joyful win for us.”

Next stop, medical school…Now Nonot is ready to embark on the next exiting chapter in her college career: medical school. “I came to the decision to become a doctor based on my liberal arts education. I feel that I have a well-rounded perspective on science and how it affects social relationships. As for where I’m heading—I’m not quite sure. I could be going to school here in Austin or somewhere along one of the coasts. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”

Advice for future Longhorns… “Cherish your time and don’t take the moments you have on campus for granted. Reframe what you think it means to be a successful student at UT. Build roots on campus, find your communities and help other people feel they belong. Those are the best markers of what it means to be successful.”