ULN Newsletter | January 2023

Director’s Letter

Greetings, ULN Scholars!

Congratulations on another semester of excellence! I am constantly amazed by the level of dedication and fortitude displayed by University Leadership Network students and the way you all prove that what starts here changes the world.

As I reflect on 2022, I am most proud of you—our ULN Scholars, who persevere through challenges and emerge on top. Participation at events and daily interactions reached an all-time high this past fall! Thank you for allowing me to celebrate your successes this term. You are now one step closer to achieving your goals and we are honored that you chose ULN to share this journey.

This newsletter will be a little different than previous editions. While I am extremely proud of our new initiatives—like implementing Digital Badges for ELEVATE (Empowering Leaders with Exemplary Values, Attitudes and Transformative Education), piloting the Rajaram ULN Science Scholars and introducing the second cohort of Eli Lilly & Company – Make Life Better Scholars—I also want to celebrate our smaller programs and personal interactions. Words cannot adequately capture your ULN experiences, so please enjoy this new format, complete with photos and videos from the fall semester.

“Live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find eternity in each moment.” – Henry David Thoreau

Hook ’em,

April Barnes' signature

April Barnes
ULN Director

RUSS Updates

In the fall semester, our 10 Rajaram ULN Science Scholars participated in specialized programming. Through three different events, the scholars worked on their public speaking, interviewing skills and writing personal statements for graduate school. During the fall semester, the scholars also worked on developing aspirational job descriptions by researching and exploring job boards and updated their resumes. By participating in their very own cohort connections, the 10 scholars started to build community and network with their fellow science majors that they will spend the summer with in the Bay Area.


The inaugural semester of ULN’s leadership track, ELEVATE, saw 80 students participate in various leadership activities.

ULN awarded four ELEVATE Gold badges, two ELEVATE Platinum badges and two ELEVATE Diamond badges to four different students.

Congratulations to our two students who earned the ELEVATE Gold level!

Mia Brown and Ivan Ramos

Congratulations to our two students who earned the ELEVATE Diamond level!

Tony Nguyen and Riya Patel

Tag-Along Events

Last semester, we found multiple opportunities for ULN students to familiarize themselves with their community, on and off campus. We made this possible through our tag-along events; students could attend events with their ULN coordinator. These tag-along events allowed our students to explore other cultures, give back to the Austin community and participate in events throughout the city.

In September, our students attended the Celebracion de Independencias hosted by MACC, which focused on the independence of all countries in Latin America. Student were also able to attend an Afro-Cuban dance workshop on campus.

In October, students took a free online Haitian Creole class to celebrate International Creole Day. This Haitian Creole class was an event hosted by Haitian Austin Hub, a local Haitian non-profit organization. Also, in October, ULN partnered up with the Women in Engineering Program to create birthday cards for foster care children and teens in the Austin area.

In November, to close out our last tag-along of the school year, students attended Austin’s annual Creek Show at Waterloo Greenway Park. Together we walked over to the park and viewed the displays of illuminated art created by teams of visionary local artists, landscape architects and designers.

We look forward to continuing to expose our students to the various community events in the spring semester.

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Remembering Our Fall Events

Thank you to all who attended our events this fall! We understand that our students’ lives are more than just their academics and strive to create opportunities for engagement and leadership development. We look forward to continuing to provide opportunities to build community and focus on your continued success.

ULN Kick Off
We started the year on a great note with our Kick Off event, which gave ULN scholars across all cohorts and the university a chance to connect and learn about program updates and campus opportunities.

Study Tips and Tricks
ULN partnered with the Sanger Learning Center to provide study tips just in time for midterms. ULN students were able to learn great ways to study smarter, not harder.

Pumpkin Painting
Our spook-tacular pumpkin painting event allowed our students a chance to destress and connect with their fellow ULN scholars just in time for mid-terms.

Non-Traditional Leadership Panel
Our Non-Traditional Leadership Panel allowed students to hear from professionals and fellow students from diverse backgrounds as they speak about their college journeys and career paths, the challenges they faced with having a non-traditional path to college, and how those informed and impacted their experiences at The University of Texas at Austin.

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Congratulations, Class of ’22!

During the fall semester, I’ve had the privilege of working with this wonderful group of students, and I am so proud to see them take the final step in their journeys as undergraduates. Like many of these students, I am also a first-generation college graduate, so it brings me a unique joy to see the next generation of leaders entering the world. It’s no small thing to have a degree from UT, and there’s a huge community of Texas Exes who can’t wait to connect with you as you leave the Forty Acres.

While I know that all college experiences are unique, I think the position these students were in should not be overlooked. For most of them, their college journey looked very different than the cohorts that had come before them, as remote learning and virtual lectures became the norm while we were in quarantine. Even though they did not get to have the typical college experience, they remained stalwart and dedicated to their goals, and for that I want to honor them.

To the Class of 2022, I extend my most sincere admiration and congratulations. I am deeply proud to have been able to take part in your educational journey. No matter what awaits you after this semester, I want you to know that you will always have a home with ULN and UT.

– Jacob

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The University of Texas at Austin’s University Leadership Network (ULN) celebrates scholars’ successes for the 2022 Fall Term.