ULN Newsletter | Spring 2022

Director’s Letter


Hello, ULN Scholars!

You’ve done it again!  You’ve conquered all the obstacles in your pathway and completed another semester here on the Forty Acres. Think back to the first day of the school year… the Delta variant was raging, classes were virtual and most activities had come to a halt.  But look at us now! You got to spend the spring attending in-person classes, cheering on your Longhorns at athletic events, traveling abroad, enjoying the festivities at SXSW and more. This is a time of hope!

Over the past year, the University Leadership Network team worked hard to create a supportive, informative and rewarding experience. We welcomed 250 new students and gained four enthusiastic team members. ULN moved into our newly renovated space on the second floor of the Peter Flawn Academic Center (FAC) and we implemented the first ever ULN Emergency Fund to assist students with unexpected financial burdens. We also added signature events that included a professional etiquette lunch, career closet and book exchange, along with leadership panels for first-generation college students and members of the AAPI community. This is a time of joy!

This newsletter will feature some of our amazing students, alumni and most recent graduates, as well as our newest coordinator. I would like to thank our partners, whose support is vital to our students. This is a time of renewal and possibility! I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

“Hope is a passion for the possible.” 
― Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling


Hook ’em,

April Barnes' signature

April Barnes
ULN Director


Cheers to the Spring Grads!


Cheers to the Spring Grads!


It was an eventful semester, not to mention an unforgettable four-year journey for our spring graduates, who adapted to an all-virtual setting for half of their academic careers. ULN is so proud of their accomplishments, adaptability and hard work!

We were so excited to celebrate our graduates in-person with their families and friends this year, and we cannot wait to see what our scholars achieve beyond the Forty Acres.

Watch the graduation ceremony


Meet Our Newest ULN Student Program Coordinator!


Come Visit Us in the FAC!


ULN got a makeover! We are excited to share that our office space in the second floor of the FAC has been completely renovated. ULN scholars can come meet with their coordinators or peer mentors in-person and study in the designated student space. There is plenty of room for collaboration and innovation with movable tables and chairs, relaxing ambiance, and private desks.

Come check it out on weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and leave some words of encouragement on the whiteboards located in the student space. Our students love it!


Student Spotlight

Tell us about something you’re proud of. 

I have been able to maintain a high GPA despite the challenges that I have faced with my academics. I have learned a lot about myself and how I can improve my study habits to be successful in future classes.


How has your ULN experience helped you to grow?

ULN has given me amazing opportunities that have allowed me to gain confidence in myself as a student and has provided me with resources to be able to reach out for help when necessary. This support has helped me tremendously and has led me to interview for a job successfully.


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

Personally, I hope to continue to do well academically, as well as learn more about my future career paths as a business student. Next year, I look forward to being able to work as a ULN Peer Ambassador and help first-year students be successful in their time here at UT. I am so excited about the opportunity to grow as a leader and learn more about helping others.

Tell us about something you’re proud of. 

Being accepted into the WIELD Texas Program. This program helps create an inclusive economy where every woman who desires to become a leader in their community can access social networks, uplift their community, and create, manage and invest wealth that can impact their neighborhoods.


How did this experiential learning experience help you grow in your career?
It has helped me actually understand the impact of knowing who your target audience is and how to reach your target audience through social media and email.


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

My goals are to be able to be more creative in my major and working with some really awesome people. I am looking forward to doing research in the field of Speech-Language and Hearing.

Tell us about something she’s really proud of.

In one of her Assessment classes, Mary-Katherine had a midterm that involved a complex process on a graph. She studied extra hard, to the point that she was able to tutor her classmates on it. Mary-Katherine ended up receiving a perfect score on her midterm, and her classmates even thanked her for the help she had given them.


How did experiential learning help her grow in her career?

In her position as a Student Intern for the College of Education, Mary-Katherine gets to see what it’s like to be a Special Education teacher before she enters the official position. She’s developed an array of teaching skills from the internship, such as utilizing differentiated instruction, which is what she used for tutoring her classmates.


What are her goals for next year? What is she looking forward to?

Mary-Katherine is looking forward to the experiences planned for her program during her senior year. She gets to work in a Resource Room again and is excited for more opportunities to support kids in learning beneficial behaviors. Next year, Mary-Katherine will also start Student Teaching, an opportunity which will give her invaluable workplace experience for when she graduates and hopefully starts teaching full-time.

Congratulations to these Outstanding Peer Ambassadors!


During the last few weeks of the spring semester, ULN Peer Ambassadors voted every week for a hardworking Peer Ambassador that went above and beyond for their Texas ’25 mentees. Please help us recognize the achievements of the spring semester’s Peer Ambassadors of the Week!

Week of April 18

Week of April 25

Week of May 2

Semester in Review


Our New Normal and Care

Students were clamoring for a “normal” start to the semester and ULN was able to keep the promise of a more traditional second semester with in-person programming for our students. Part of our mission is to encourage and support students; we started the semester by distributing emergency funds provided by the Myerson Foundation.

In addition to our standard scholarship, we were now able to offer up to $300 in emergency funds to currently enrolled ULN students who cannot meet essential expenses due to a temporary or unexpected hardship. This donor gift sent out an important message to our students that they are not alone and that ULN and countless others are here to support them. We thank our donors for their contribution towards advancing our mission for our students.


Our Renovated Space

Our services to our ULN students did not stop there. On March 8, 2022, we were able to open our new student space during our ULN Open House. ULN created this new space with our students in mind. It gives them a place to study, meet and greet. This space will continue to serve as a central location for students to build community and to feel included on campus.


Experiential Learning and In-Person Programming

Participation in ULN allows students to streamline their educational experience by minimizing their student loans, but it also provides them with opportunities to gain new skills and knowledge on subject matters that have or will impact their lives. We have held in-person cohort connections covering housing after graduation, self-care, budgeting and taxes. We have also created opportunities for engagement in professional networking through our Experiential Learning Expo on March 8, their required experiential learning participation on-or-off campus, our Student Emergency Career Closet on March 31, and our Etiquette and Networking Lunch on April 6.


Focusing on the Student

We understand that our students’ lives are more than just their academics. Every student has a story, and this semester we have focused on getting to know our students as individuals through one-on-one chats and small group activities. Our one-on-one chats allow us to hear our students, answer their individual questions and concerns, and have let them to get to know us. Our small group activities engage our students in various cultures, music, health,and the arts. Thus far, our ULN students have attended on-campus events such as Explore South Asia, Quinceañera, and off-campus events such as the Yoga and Sound at Waterloo Greenway Park.


Career Closet
AAPI Leadership panel

The University of Texas at Austin (UT)’s University Leadership Network (ULN) is celebrating spring graduates, and welcoming a new Student Program Coordinator, recapping major semester events, and spotlighting outstanding students.