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Anna Blatto

Graduation date: May 2018

Major(s): Urban and Public Policy Studies; Sociology  

Minor(s): Chinese; Environmental Design

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Awards & experiential learning activities: 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 IDP? 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 IDP? I really enjoyed IDP for two reasons. First, even though the department 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 J.D./M.U.P. or J.D./M.P.P. 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.