B.A. Public Relations, Dec. 2011
Born and raised in Houston
Attend law school, fall 2012
Fantasy Senior Fellows Class:
"The Social Communication of
Interviewed by Dave Junker, Senior Fellows Director
Alden Paras graduated in December and plans to attend law school in the fall. He contributed to Senior Fellows in a number of ways, including introducing me to the longboard, a relatively new style of skateboard meant for cruising at high speeds. For those advancing in age, like me, they have the added benefit of being a lot harder to fall off of.
I’m proud to say I’ve only had one good fall on my skateboard, just some scrapes on my back. Can you see yourself continuing to skateboard, or do you think there comes a time when you just should just grow up not risk it?
That's awesome! I'm glad to hear that [laughs]. As long as time allows, I don't think I'll ever give it up. For me, a few bumps and scrapes are worth the joy of riding along with just a deck and some wheels under your feet. Besides, after the cuts heal, it's even sort of like a badge that proves you dared to do something.
-- Alden Paras
Congratulations on getting into law school. Why do you want to go? What do you hope to do some day?
Thank you. Right now I'm still waiting on several decision letters, but I am most eager to attend Tulane University Law School and study corporate law. I particularly hope to concentrate on the junction between company practices and human rights. It isn't an area of corporate law most people think of, but it's just as important.
What was your most memorable Senior Fellows class?
“From Moses to Elmer Fudd: Speech Disorders and Their Representations” [taught by Valerie Stahl]. It explored a range of communication disorders. One class period, we were learning about a disorder known as Wernicke's aphasia. To illustrate its affect on verbal communication, Professor Stahl gave us a list of random phrases and challenged us to explain a situation to a partner using only those phrases. It was funny because no one could understand what the other was trying to explain, but it was also a unique, hands-on learning experience.
Do you have a Senior Fellows "moment" from that or another class?
My first semester in the program, I took Diana Dawson’s class on the gentrification process in East Austin. I just thought it would be an interesting course, but the impact of public policy, such as the spike in property taxes in the low-income residential areas that surround new developments, became real to me when our class had the opportunity to speak with Austinites impacted by these developments, as well as to the developers themselves. It was like a huge chain reaction. Getting to listen to both sides of the topic, I saw how each decision made by building developers has an effect on their many different publics, intentional or not.
I know you like Pink Floyd because you wrote about "The Wall" in your admission essay. If you were asked to propose a Senior Fellows class on Pink Floyd, or popular music more generally, what would you call it and what would it be about?
If I had the chance to propose a new Senior Fellows class, I would call it “The Social Communication of Pink Floyd,” or something like that. There are many great artists out there worth creating a course around, but Pink Floyd is just such a great example of a group that channels social critiques through its music with a deeply humanistic point-of-view. The class would analyze some of their albums, including “Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Animals” and “The Wall.” And it would’nt be a real Pink Floyd class if it didn’t also screen one of my favorite movies, “The Wall,” by the end of the course, where the symbolism and visual imagery of the film could be collectively interpreted.