ULN Newsletter | December 2021

Director’s Letter


Greetings, ULN Scholars!

Welcome to the Holiday Edition of the ULN Newsletter!  This year has been eventful, but in the most amazing way.  We took the brave step of offering in-person events and in-person Peer Group Meetings for the first time since March 2020. You all focused on career exploration, embraced financial literacy, built leadership skills and discovered a new community within one another. Thank you for your active participation and engagement as we move toward our near-normal future. I am inspired by your work ethic and positive attitude.

As the fall semester comes to a close, I invite you all to reflect on how you have grown over the past year. What goals did you achieve? What obstacles did you overcome? Acknowledge your strengths and use them to propel yourself to the next level. Set new goals and hold yourselves accountable.  Attending The University of Texas at Austin is an investment in yourself and who better to rely on for success other than you? I encourage you to try something different and make the most out of your time on The Forty Acres. ULN is committed to your success and we are here for whatever you need.

There is so much to celebrate in this special holiday issue including new ULN staff members, scholarship recipients and fall graduates. As I reflect on 2021, I am most proud of you, our ULN scholars who persevered through an unpredictable semester while battling the on-going COVID-19 pandemic with academic tenacity and grace.  You are now one step closer to achieving your goals and we are honored that you chose ULN to share this journey.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston S. Churchill


Hook ’em,







April Barnes' signature


April Barnes

ULN Director


Cheers to the Fall Grads!

This fall, 74 ULN students joined the UT and ULN alumni community. Please join the ULN staff in celebrating our fall graduates and their accomplishments! The dream you started pursuing years ago is now a reality. Your graduation is a testament to both what you have accomplished and what you are capable of in the future.

We were excited to host our first in-person graduation celebration in two years, and to celebrate our graduates with their families and friends.

Watch the Celebration

Welcome, New ULN Staff Members!

Student Experiential Learning Spotlight

Tell us about one of your successes this year, or something you’re really proud of.

A big success of mine this year is that I am graduating! Thinking about the last two years up till this semester, a lot has happened to everyone and I am really proud that I was able to make some hard decisions to be here. I am also proud of myself for making the most of my last semester 🙂

How did this experiential learning experience help you grow in your career?

My experiential learning experience helped me grow into my career by allowing me to meet like-minded people who share some of the same interests as me. It also provided me the opportunity to work with students of color in local Austin high schools. I am now able to use this experience after graduation! (Shoutout to Project MALES!)

What are your goals for next year? What are you looking forward to?

A goal of mine for the next year is to attend graduate school in a field I am passionate about. Graduating this semester and entering the “real world” soon, I hope to be able to take what I learned from my experiential learning experience into my career. A personal goal of mine is to begin traveling to at least another state within the next year!


Tell us about one of your successes this year, or something you’re really proud of.

I am proud that I can recognize the amount of hard work it takes to be able to juggle working as a pharmacy technician, nursing school and, on top of that, trying to go to nationals in powerlifting with the Longhorn Powerlifting Team. It has taken such grit and perseverance to split my time and prioritize my needs and actively choose to do more for myself, my future and my aspirations. I am proud that I’ve come this far and I’m excited to see what’s in store for me.

How did this experiential learning experience help you grow in your career?

The translation between pharmacy and nursing is more fulfilling as I work and observe different aspects of healthcare and draw similarities. I love learning the medications in the pharmacy and seeing it in play as in the clinical setting. This experiential learning experience has helped me recognize and passively study for the hospital and classroom setting.

What are your goals for next year? What are you looking forward to?

My goal for next year is to get into a pediatric ICU or any ICU capstone placement for my last semester here at UT. And of course, the biggest goal is to get my ring, graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, and pass the NCLEX! I’m looking forward to a bright future caring for others 🙂

Tell us about one of your successes this year, or something you’re really proud of.

I am incredibly proud of the growth that I have had academically and the ways that I am able to mentor my siblings as they get closer to their own academic journeys. My biggest accomplishment this year has to be graduating this December and becoming the first in my family to do so. It feels unreal to accomplish this after so many late nights studying.

How did this experiential learning experience help you grow in your career?

My experiential learning this semester was research on the impacts our current immigration policy has on children and the ways in which we can center children to be at the forefront of our future policy reform. I can confidently say that this allowed me to expand my knowledge on immigration reform as well as policy procedure. As someone who wants to take this knowledge to help non-profit organizations advocate for reform, it is exciting to add the skills and information I have gained to my tool kit for the future.

What are your goals for next year? What are you looking forward to?

Within the next year, I will gain experience in the workforce that will allow me the financial freedom to begin to give back to my family and my community. I am excited to see what the next year as a post-UT grad will look like for me, and the ways in which I can continue to grow as a young professional.

Experiential Learning Opportunities and Resources

During your second, third and fourth years in ULN, you will participate in experiential learning opportunities during each fall and spring semester.

Below are some resources you can use to help find an experiential learning opportunity:

Other options for experiential learning include leadership roles in clubs or organizations related to your career goals and experiential degree requirements like internships, fieldwork, or practicum components for your major, minor or certificate.

Visit the ULN Experiential Learning Guide and reach out to your coordinator for more resources and information about the Experiential Learning requirement.

Peer Ambassador Spotlight

Tell us about one of your successes this year, or something you’re really proud of.

I think the thing I’m most proud of this year is being able to manage the huge emotional and mental change from being all online, not coming out of my room or house, to going back to in person classes and leaving my hometown. It may not seem like much, but I have social anxiety which sometimes prevents me from wanting to be social, but I’m also an extrovert — the perfect chaotic match. For a while, I thought that I was going to drop out, that I wasn’t doing as well socially as I wanted to, but I managed to push myself through and I’m super proud of that.

What is something you enjoy about serving as a Peer Ambassador for the ULN program?

This is a question that I always love answering. When I was in my first year and I had to find an Experiential Learning (EL) opportunity I wanted to be a mentor, but I had gotten rejected at first. After some weeks of freaking out, I was asked again if I was willing to be a ULN mentor, and I said yes, even though I was scared and was too shy to speak in front of a group of people. Now as a Peer Ambassador, I am able to help people blossom out of their shells and I love that. I also enjoy helping my ULN community and building long-term relationships with people.

What are your goals for next year? What are you looking forward to?

I always give myself the same goal — to help as many people as I can. I know it seems like an impossible goal, but if I am able to make a positive impact in at least one person, I feel like I’ve accomplished everything as a mentor. I look forward to guiding more people into finding their fit in UT and in the outside world. I want everyone to find a community where they feel safe and appreciated just like how I feel in ULN.

Eli Lilly Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to the Eli Lilly Make Life Better Scholarship recipients! Make Life Better Scholarship recipients were selected based on academic achievement, an essay and letters of recommendation. Please join us in congratulating the inaugural cohort of Eli Lilly Make Life Better scholars.

  • Riya Patel
  • Tylan Dangerfield
  • Yanira Marquez
  • Jazalynn Johnson
  • Madeline Munguia
  • Oluwayanmife Okelana
  • Tony Nguyen
  • Diamond Benjamin
  • Aliasgher Saherwala
  • Luke Crawford

Other Scholarship Opportunities

Check out the following links to find additional scholarships:

Remembering Our Fall Events

Thank you to all who attended our fall events including ULN Fall Kick-off, our Mock Interviewing events, First-Gen Leadership Panel and Fall Graduation Celebration. We hope these events helped you build community, developed you as a leadership, made you feel more career ready and set up for continued success. Your involvement is what makes these events!

ULN T-Shirt Pick-up

ULN T-Shirt Pick-up
ULN T-Shirt Pick-up

ULN First-Gen Leadership Panel

ULN First-Gen Leadership Panel
ULN First-Gen Leadership Panel