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When Sara Teaster entered UVA's master's program in Urban and Environmental Planning in fall 2009, she felt well equipped to take on the challenge, thanks to the experiences she gained while earning her Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree. Teaster gives credit to BIS faculty for helping her hone her skills and develop her strengths as a student. She also was inspired by her classmates. "Every student in the program wanted to be there," she comments. "Their commitment to learning and to changing their lives was apparent every day. I felt motivated by their example."
In the final analysis, however, it was Teaster's own initiative that played a decisive role. She was determined to make the most of her opportunities as a BIS student to take courses around the University--and one of those classes was in the School of Architecture. There she met Timothy Beatley, Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning. Beatley became her undergraduate Capstone advisor and encouraged her to pursue a graduate degree.
"If I hadn't had the flexibility to take classes in the other schools at the University, I don't think I would be in the position I am in now," she says. Teaster is currently the sustainability coordinator at VMDO Architects, a Charlottesville architecture firm specializing in educational buildings.