ULN Newsletter | Summer 2022

Director’s Letter

Greetings, ULN Scholars!

Can you believe it? The summer is almost over and the next school year is quickly approaching. Reflecting on this season, the first word that comes to mind is HOT! Austin has endured a record-breaking number of 100-degree days and the overall temperatures felt like fire. Just like the temperature outside, ULN is also on fire!

Over the summer, we welcomed over 350 new Longhorns into the ULN family during orientation. The summer months also brought us a new ULN Coordinator and Graduate Assistant. In addition, ULN facilitated summer programming to build and strengthen our community, including a Juneteenth Celebration and film series all while planning a new year of engaging events and activities for the coming school year.

I am excited to announce two new initiatives specifically for ULN this academic year. The first program is called ELEVATE –Empowering Leaders with Exemplary Values, Attitudes and Transformative Education. ELEVATE is designed to catapult ULN scholars to the next level of leadership no only during their college careers, but beyond. It is open to all ULN students and I look forward to registering you all for this program.

In addition to ELEVATE, we are proud to introduce an internal scholarship titled Rajaram ULN Science Scholars (RUSS). Students in both ULN and the College of Natural Sciences applied for this $10,000 scholarship over the summer. RUSS recipients will not only receive an additional scholarship, but they will also participate in specialized programming focused on career readiness and financial education. This year-long experience will end with experiential learning opportunities in the San Francisco Bay area.

We’ll also excited to once again partner with Eli Lilly & Company to offer the Make Life Better Scholarship to ULN Scholars who are sophomores and in their second year at The University of Texas at Austin. Through this initiative, 10 scholarships of up to $10,000 each will be awarded.

ULN truly is on fire and we are carrying this momentum into the next school year. I encourage each of you to make the most out of the ULN experience and remember that we are here to support you and empower you through this adventure. We will see in FAC on the second floor!


Hook ’em,

April Barnes' signature

April Barnes
ULN Director

Congrats Summer Grads!

As we near the end of summer, we would like to recognize and honor the students who are completing their degrees at the end of this semester. All of the staff at the ULN office extends a warm congratulations to our summer graduates. When you began your journey at UT Austin years ago, none of us could have imagined the turmoil the world would face in the coming years and the unique circumstances that would challenge you as students. You are the class that started your college career normally but had to transition to remote learning before making a final transition back to campus near the end. Despite all the adversity you faced, you achieved something very special and proved that your dedication and tenacity know no limits. We are honored to have been part of your journey and are so proud of your achievements.

Whatever the future holds for you, know that UT will always be your home and ULN will always be your family.

Welcome Texas ‘26

Welcome Texas ‘26
Welcome Texas ‘26

ULN had a fun and eventful summer hosting our orientation meetings during this summer’s UT orientation. It was great to meet all the Texas ’26 cohort students! We had the chance to go over the program and all the great resources, benefits, and experiences that come with your participation in ULN. Thank y’all for attending, and we hope you enjoyed meeting the ULN staff. If you were not able to attend, we look forward to meeting y’all at our virtual orientation session on August 16 and 17.

We are thrilled to have you in ULN and cannot wait for this fall semester to begin! We have some very exciting events, presentations, and opportunities for you this semester. Your coordinator and everyone at ULN are here to help as you embark on your UT journey. This is the beginning of the journey and we look forward to seeing you become great leaders on this campus. Our staff is here to answer any questions you may have about ULN, the upcoming semester, or the scholarship. We hope you are excited to be a Longhorn and a ULN scholar.

Congratulations to this Outstanding Peer Ambassador

During the last weeks of the spring semester, ULN Peer Ambassadors voted for other hardworking Peer Ambassadors that went above and beyond for their mentees. We wanted to recognize the achievement of a spring semester Peer Ambassador who was recognized just as the summer started.

New Leadership Initiative

Leadership starts with ELEVATE! ELEVATE stands for Empowering Leaders with Exemplary Values, Attitudes and Transformative Education. This new leadership initiative aims to encourage and support leaders through opportunities that advance their education, communities and lives.

It is open to all ULN students. Although this is a specialized track that students may opt in to, this can serve as an opportunity for all ULN students to develop their personal definition of leadership and to increase student awareness of leadership opportunities in ULN and across campus.

ULN believes leadership bears enormous potential to change the lives of students—and all young people—and plays an important role in the future careers of our students. Participation in this leadership program rewards students with the chance to attend SXSW.EDU in the spring and other opportunities.

New Rajaram ULN Science Scholars Program

The University Leadership Network has partnered with the Rajaram Family to start a new program for the 2022-2023 school year. The Rajaram ULN Science Scholars program will serve a cohort of 10 ULN students pursuing studies in the College of Natural Sciences and that are interested in Bio Tech:

  • Alan Do, Chemistry major, Class of 2025
  • Dezrion Huston, Neuroscience major, Class of 2024
  • Gabriella Toral Garcia, Nutrition-Dietetics major with a UX Design minor, Class of 2023
  • Jaden Rendon, Biology major, Class of 2025
  • Nathari Karunasekara, Biology major, Class of 2024
  • Patricia Dominguez, Biology major with an Entrepreneurship minor, Class of 2025
  • Rahil Patel, Mathematics major, Class of 2024
  • Rida Shaikh, Chemistry major with Spanish for Medical Professions certificate, Class of 2024
  • Rodger Rivera, Chemistry major, Class of 2024
  • Travis Jackson, Biochemistry major, Class of 2025

Rajaram Science Scholars will participate in unique programming throughout the year that will develop their marketable skills, build their professional networks, and increase financial literacy. They will then participate in a summer experiential learning opportunity in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2023. Along with unique programming and experiential learning, Rajaram Science Scholars will be awarded an additional $10,000 scholarship in addition to their $5,000 incentive-based scholarship from ULN. We are so excited to start this new program, and we thank the Rajaram Family for helping ULN students change the world.

Scholarship Opportunity for Second-Year, Sophomore Students

ULN Scholars who are sophomores and in their second year at The University of Texas at Austin are invited to apply for the Eli Lilly & Company Make Life Better Scholarship. Through this initiative, 10 scholarships of up to $10,000 each will be awarded each year for three years.

The submission deadline is October 28, 2022. Learn more about the scholarship requirements and application instructions.

Looking Back on our Summer Events

This summer, ULN decided to host monthly events for our students staying in the Austin area to continue to build community with our students during the summer months. Our first event was our Black Summer Mini Film Fete where we celebrated Black and African American culture by showcasing popular films and shows by Black artists in remembrance of the Juneteenth holiday. Our second event was our Beat the Heat event where we hosted an ice cream sundae bar in our student space while providing valuable information to prevent heat exhaustion. We would like to thank all our students who came out to our summer events and look forward to seeing you again for our events this fall!

The University of Texas at Austin (UT)’s University Leadership Network (ULN) welcomes the Texas ’26 cohort and announces two new initiatives aimed at developing leadership skills.