Meet six students who are leading the way on campus.
Pulling all-nighters at the PCL, sweating it out at Gregory Gym, and meeting study groups for dinner at Jester City Limits are activities all too familiar to just about any student on the Forty Acres. But all around campus, there are those special few whose distinct experiences have made them stand out. From paving the way for black women in engineering to ensuring academic integrity to planning a celebrated women’s conference with speakers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and designer Kendra Scott, these six high-achieving recipients of the Texas Exes President’s Leadership Award are just getting started.
Major: Plan II Honors, Business Honors
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
“Showing students the importance of always acting with integrity and honesty, and reminding them that the honor code exists, has been a great experience for me. We are making an impact on campus.”
Sophomore Seth Krasne believes the key to academic success is integrity, a lesson he learned firsthand as a high school student in El Paso. The superintendent of his school district was the first in history to be indicted for fraud. Fast forward to 2017: Krasne is working to ensure the university continues to focus on academic integrity through his role as the co-chair of the Academic Integrity Committee.
Bragging Rights: Senate of College Councils, co-chair for the Business Honors Program’s Student Ethics Board
A Smokin’ Star: Krasne is on a never-ending quest for the best Austin barbecue. When Salt Lick Barbecue was featured on the Food Network’s “Burgers, Brew & Que” this past year, Krasne even made a brief appearance in the background.
Major: Public Health and Health & Society
Hometown: McComb, Mississippi
“Just doing your job well really does impact people. Do your part and be on top of your stuff—it matters.”
When the Alcalde caught up with Amber Magee, she was anxiously awaiting her LSAT score. A senior, she is passionate about the law and hopes to attend law school this fall. She also helped freshmen feel better prepared for college as an orientation advisor and worked in admissions in the College of Natural Sciences. Her advice? Be open, and not too confident.
Bragging Rights: Texas Orange Jackets, Senate of College Councils, Orientation Advisor
DIY Queen: Magee calls Pinterest and Hobby Lobby her “dirty little secrets.” She loves making new projects for her home, including decorative canvas paintings. She’s also had a BeDazzler since the fifth grade.
Major: Neuroscience, Plan II Honors, and Emotional Intelligence Certificate
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
“Through counseling workshops, we help students deal with failure and rejection like a bad grade or not getting into an organization. It can feel overwhelming at first, but you have to learn to practice self-care—resilience is a muscle and takes work.”
Junior Mayra Sharma’s fascination with the human brain led her to a major in neuroscience, with an emphasis on emotional intelligence. Her particular focus: the neurons behind emotions, how we talk about emotion, and how it relays to building relationships. Sharma helps other students learn about their emotions through the Counseling and Mental Health Center’s peer educators’ series of student-led workshops that focus on mental health topics.
Bragging Rights: Indian Students Association, Counseling and Mental Health Peer Educator Program, Polymathic Scholars
The Right Brain: Sharma finds a break from her science-driven studies through creative writing. Her personal blog hosts a collection of poetry, comedy skits, and short stories.
Major: Electrical Engineering
Hometown: Liberty Hill, Texas
“Before every home football game, we go to the band hall in our uniforms and sing the ‘The Eyes of Texas.’ It is so cool that there are 400 people on this campus who come together to do the same thing each week.”
A member of the Longhorn Band drumline, senior Garrett Maples couldn’t wait to become part of the “Show Band of the Southwest” ever since he joined band in fifth grade. Maples also gives back through his efforts with Texas Blazers. He helped raise nearly $15,000 for a disc golf tournament called Frisbee Fling that awards scholarships to future Longhorns who graduate from East Austin high schools.
Bragging Rights: Longhorn Band Drumline, Texas Blazers, Freshman Interest Group mentor
A Business Man: Maples likes to dabble in stock trading. At 10 years old, his parents gave him $100 to learn about the stock market, and his interests sprouted from there.
Major: Liberal Arts Honors Program, Dance, and Economics
Hometown: Richardson, Texas
“I found out about the Orange Jackets, applied on a whim, and was one of six sophomores let in; I guess Texas was just trying to tell me I have a place at this university.”
A trained ballerina, junior Sofia Aranha hopes to find a way to combine her passion for dance with her desire to serve her community after graduation. Aranha is a member of the Texas Orange Jackets, an experience she called her most transformative during college. She helped raise money for students who could not afford campus dining by working with Student Emergency Services. Aranha is also the chair of the Week of Women conference which will be held this spring.
Bragging Rights: Texas Orange Jackets, Gateway Mentor Program, Fine Arts Council–Theatre and Dance
Trading Up: Although Aranha can be seen sporting burnt orange and throwing up a “Hook ‘em Horns,” she comes from a long line of Sooners.
Major: Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, and a Minor in Black Studies
Hometown: Pearland, Texas
“It was important to me to create a legacy for black students on campus, especially in engineering. You can do something that changes the school for the better.”
Senior Jade Jackson has committed her time on campus to creating a bigger network for black women in sciences and engineering through her role as president of the UT chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and director of operations for the UT branch of Black Women in Science & Engineering (BWISE). While studying abroad in Nicaragua, she also worked as a project manager to help install a bathroom for a local community. Jackson plans to work in business consulting after graduation, a field that will combine her engineering background with an affinity for problem solving.
Bragging Rights: National Society of Black Engineers, Equal Opportunity in Engineering Program, Black Women in Science and Engineering
After Class: Jackson spends her free moments kayaking, reading, and honing her musical talents. She plays the piano and is learning to play guitar.
Photos by Matt Wright-Steel
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