ULN Newsletter | August 2021

ULN Director Introduction

Hello, University Leadership Network Scholars!

Welcome to a new and exciting semester on the Forty Acres. Every fall brings not only the promise of a rich and interesting academic year, but an opportunity to meet new people and expand your network of support. Similar to last year, this semester will be one of growth and learning to adapt quickly to ever-changing circumstances. You have proven that you are able to thrive in flexible environments and I can’t wait to see what you achieve in the coming year.

First, I would like to welcome our new Texas ’25 cohort. We are excited to get to know you better and help you navigate your first year at The University of Texas at Austin. This year will be filled with opportunities to self-reflect, explore career choices and build your social and professional network. Every year that you participate in the University Leadership Network (ULN), you will engage in unique programming based on four central themes: Building Community, Leadership Development, Career Readiness with Experiential Learning, and Financial Education. Remember, the ULN team is always here to help you facilitate your first year and beyond.

To our Texas ’24, Texas ’23 and Texas ’24 students –– welcome back and congratulations on starting a new semester at UT. You are one step closer to achieving your goals. I am proud of the resilience you displayed last year and I know that you will continue to excel inside and outside of the classroom. For many of you, this will be the first year that you participate in experiential learning.  For others, this will be your last year as an undergraduate student. No matter what stage of the educational journey you find yourself in, I encourage you to move beyond your comfort zone and take risks. Be open to new people and possibilities. You might be surprised what you learn in the process!

As we all come together on campus for the first time in a long time, let’s remain diligent in our commitment to stay safe and healthy, while making the most out of the year ahead. Be sure to take care of yourselves physically and mentally. ULN is committed to your success and we are here for whatever you need.

“Celebrate life in all its glory. Challenge yourself to let the routine sing and the new dance.” –Maximillian Degenerez


Hook ’em,

April Barnes' signature



April Barnes

ULN Director


Cheers to the Summer Grads!

Spring Graduation

The month of August is not just about the beginning of the school year and a new academic journey for our incoming cohort –– it’s also when our summer graduates receive their degrees. Thirty-seven ULN students will be joining the UT and ULN alumni community. Please join the ULN staff in celebrating our summer graduates and their accomplishments!

To our summer graduates, congratulations! While the month of May was filled with pomp and circumstance of graduation, you did not let the fireworks and celebrations distract you from finishing strong in the final classes of your undergraduate degree. The dream you started pursuing years ago is now a reality! While it is easy to get swept up in the craziness of job searching, applying to graduate school, moving to a new apartment and figuring out what is next, take another moment to celebrate your success. Your graduation is a testament to both what you have accomplished AND what you are capable of in the future.

Welcome, ULN Texas ’25!

Orientation Photo

ULN staff, led by Texas ’25 Coordinator Adrienne McClendon, helped welcome Texas ’25 students during Freshman Orientation this summer. Throughout the seven sessions, the Texas ’25 students were introduced to our community and peer ambassadors.

In the wise words of ULN Director April Barnes, “Our mission is to encourage and support students to graduate in four years and become leaders through professional and experiential learning opportunities that advance not only your education, but your communities and professional lives.”

UFCU Partnering with ULN for Student Financial Success

The University Federal Credit Union (UFCU) has been committed to students, faculty and staff at UT since its founding in 1936. UFCU has also been a valued partner of ULN by providing our scholars with scholarships, professional development and financial literacy resources. UFCU’s Cynthia Mayberry has given several well-received presentations on financial literacy for ULN over the years, prompting students to request more information on a range of financial topics.

This year, UFCU has committed to providing a series of financial literacy presentations for all ULN students across all four cohorts. Students will learn about a range of topics, from budgeting to credit building to post-graduate finances. We hope that this new event series will help ULN students start off on the right foot and provide them the knowledge, skills and processes to make sound financial decisions. We are thankful for the continued partnership with UFCU and look forward to the financial literacy series this year!

Looking to the Semester Ahead

There are many things we are looking forward to this fall semester. First, we are excited to begin our eighth year as a program! Second, ULN is looking forward to building connections with you. We are excited to have 25 peer ambassadors working with our incoming ULN Texas ’25 cohort. And lastly, we look forward to providing our monthly Cohort Connections and signature events while remaining safe! We look forward to seeing you again.

Our offices are temporarily located in the UT Tower in MAI 7. We will be open for in-person appointments from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and will continue offering virtual appointments as well.