Student Spotlight

A Cross-Country

Charlie Bonner, B.A. ’18, took his education out of the classroom and on the road. He drove 10,000 miles across the country to talk to everyday Americans about democracy. The coast-to-coast trip was a research expedition for his Plan II thesis.

Dr. Bethany Albertson, an associate professor of government and Bonner’s thesis advisor, encouraged him through it all. The two share a passion for politics and recently co-authored an op-ed on the importance of political debates in Texas. Albertson, an expert in political psychology, was recruited to UT on a fellowship.

In Dr. Albertson’s class, I was able to do my own independent research on the state of democracy in the United States. No one had given me the opportunity to think about myself as a researcher before. Dr. Albertson has been a great mentor.
Charlie Bonner
Archer Fellow
Member, Tejas Club and Friar Society

On the Road

Funding for Bonner’s project took his field work out of Austin coffee shops and into 24 states. “I wouldn’t have fulfilled my dream and engaged with people all over the country without donors who generously support student research.”

Bonner is grateful for the life-changing opportunities he’s had to learn outside the lecture hall. “UT has given me unique and incredible experiences — an amazing road trip for my thesis, an internship at NASA, the chance to work in Washington D.C. — that build on what I’ve learned in the classroom.”

“Charlie is a future leader,” said Albertson. “He’s going to make his mark.”

A future leader

“I want to live by the idea that if one voice can change a room, a room can change a community, and a community can change the world.”

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