ULN Newsletter | January 2024

Director’s Letter

Greetings ULN Scholars,

As we bid farewell to the first semester of the academic year, I am thrilled to reflect on the remarkable journey we’ve embarked on together. The past few months have been nothing short of inspiring, and I am proud to witness the growth, resilience, and enthusiasm that each of you has brought to our community.

Our commitment to enhancing the 2nd-year experience has been met with resounding success. We introduced innovative activities that aimed at fostering holistic development, and it’s heartening to see the positive impact these initiatives have had on our student body.

One standout event was “Unwind the Mind,” a Mental Health and Self-care day that provided a much-needed space for relaxation and introspection. The overwhelming participation and positive feedback reinforced our belief in the importance of holistic well-being, and we will continue to prioritize mental health initiatives in the semesters to come.

Our dedication to preparing you for the future also took shape of hiring an Experiential Learning Coordinator, as well as through the implementation of the new Alternative Experiential Learning option focused on Career Readiness. This initiative aimed to bridge the gap between academia and the professional world, equipping students with practical skills and insights crucial for future endeavors.

Looking ahead, we have an exciting lineup of activities for the upcoming semester. Our Graduate School Trip promises to be an enriching experience, offering you valuable insights into advanced academic pursuits. Additionally, the “Meet The Pros” Etiquette and Networking Luncheon will provide a unique platform for you to connect with industry professionals, fostering meaningful relationships that extend beyond the classroom.

As we step into the next phase of the academic year, let us continue to embrace every opportunity for growth, collaboration, and self-discovery. I am confident that with your passion and dedication, the coming semester will be even more fulfilling and transformative than the last.

Wishing you all continued success and looking forward to the exciting journey ahead!

“Wake up in anticipation something great is going to happen today” – Anonymous.

Hook ‘em!
April Barnes' signature

April Barnes
ULN Director

Congratulations, Class of ’23

Congratulations to the incredible fall graduates of ULN! As we celebrate their accomplishments, we also like to acknowledge the difficult journey they had to get to this point. ULN is proud to have such resilient and hardworking graduates. The journey they undertook to get to this point in their lives has not only shaped their academic experience but also demonstrated their ability to adapt to an ever-changing world. ULN commends you for your dedication and success.

As they embark on new adventures, they will carry with them the confidence that they are well-prepared for whatever comes their way. We can’t wait to see what our ULN scholars accomplish!

2023 Eli Lilly Make Life Better Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to the 2023 Eli Lilly Make Life Better Scholarship recipients! Selected from the TX 26 cohort, these 10 sophomore students showcase remarkable potential in their commitment to Make Life Better after graduation.

Here are the scholarship winners: Afsaneh Masoumi, Akiya Blake, Basil AL Rehani, Jonathan Wilson, Kiymiya Lamea, Lambert Ike, Martin Rodriguez, Priscilla Grajeda, Rose Park, and Yasmine Zaqzouq.

ELEVATE’s Second Year Success 

The second year of ULN’s leadership program, ELEVATE, started off strong this fall. 120 students participated in ELEVATE this semester and are working towards their ELEVATE digital badges.

ULN hosted four ELEVATE events where students could focus on building leadership skills and creating their own unique definitions of leadership. We collaborated with Texas Leadership Education and Development and hosted a three-part leadership workshop series on building leadership confidence. In addition, ULN brought a group of 19 students to the LBJ Presidential Library here on campus to learn about President Johnson’s leadership style during his historic presidency. ULN continued our collaboration with Texas Exes by giving students the opportunity to attend one of their Lunchtime Lecture series.

Signature Events

ULN Leadership Symposium

The 2023 ULN Leadership Symposium was a huge success! The Symposium welcomed 159 students to a full-day event featuring breakout sessions on topics such as Resilience, Overcoming Imposter Syndrome, Everyday Leadership and more. ULN alumni, Miah Ornelas and current ULN scholar and 2022 ELEVATE Diamond, Riya Patel were some of our notable speakers. We were also inspired by the Keynote Speaker, and Emmy award winning Anchor and Reporter of Spectrum News in Texas, Dr. Nicole Cross.


ULN Leadership Panel

This year’s leadership panel, Women in Leadership, was a great experience and opportunity for our scholars. We had an exciting panel of leaders speak and share their professional experiences with our students. Our students were able to get first-hand career advice and insight from professional staff and alumni across various fields. Thank you to all our panelists and we look forward to more leadership events next year.

Study Abroad Community   

We are excited to announce that we have a student-led group within ULN! This new group, led by ULN students Luke Crawford and Aralyn Vasquez, is the ULN Study Abroad Group. This group aims to serve as a vital support system for ULN students navigating the complex, at times, overwhelming process of studying abroad.

Luke and Aralyn, who are also ULN Peer Ambassadors, led their first group of 40+ students to the Study Abroad Fair with the help of our Senior Coordinator (Cathie), Experiential Learning Coordinator (Gloria), Senior Administrative Associate (Norah), and their fellow Peer Ambassadors. They have also spearheaded a workshop that covered a range of essential topics to prepare students for their study abroad adventure and accompanied a group of students to the Education Abroad Scholarship Fair. They did all of this to encourage students to consider an education abroad.

Thank you to all who attended the events this Fall semester! Keep your eyes out for more events from the ULN Study Abroad group during the upcoming Spring 2024 semester!

The University of Texas at Austin’s University Leadership Network (ULN) celebrates scholars’ successes for the 2023 Fall Term.