HookedIn Spotlight Series: Ian McKenna

Introducing our HookedIn Spotlight Series! Over 20,000 Longhorns are connecting on the world’s biggest burnt-orange social network, and these Longhorns deserve to be recognized. Ian McKenna is a sophomore civil engineering student from Austin; HookedIn Mentee; and uses HookedIn for career advice, networking, and investing in the future. We asked Ian to answer some questions about his time at UT and more. 

What is your Twitter bio? 

Ian McKenna – @ianmckenna2004 

Youth Hunger Advocate, Katie’s Krops Grower, NKH Youth Ambassador, UT Austin ’25, Time Kid of the Year Top 5, TFK Reporter, Master Gardener & WX Nerd 

How is HookedIn helping you in your career journey? 

HookedIn was extremely helpful this past year and participating in the pilot mentoring program was amazing. My mentor gave me great advice and was also available to help with an extra study session whenever I needed. I’ve learned so much in the short time I’ve been participating with HookedIn and am looking forward to what the future holds.  

What is your motto? 

My motto is “Be a Good Human,” because I believe that we should always be the best versions of ourselves. The world needs more positivity and the best way to do that is always be a good person. 

What is your favorite memory of UT? 

My favorite memory of UT was actually in 2016, well before I even applied to be a Longhorn. I was invited to attend my very first UT Football games and thanks to a generous sponsor, I was able to go down on the field and meet Bevo before the game.  

Who are your heroes? 

My heroes are my mom and David Yeomans, KXAN Chief Meteorologist. My mom raised me and my younger sibling on her own and she always supported me, taught me how to advocate for myself, and has encouraged me to be my best self. David Yeomans began mentoring me when I was very young and instilled a passion for the sciences. I’ve learned a great deal about weather and climate change because of him and I hope to be able to utilize green technology into projects I work on in the future.  

You have 24 hours to eat at any restaurant that has ever existed in Austin, where are you going? 

I would probably pick a place I used to go to a lot as a kid and that would be Cannoli Joe’s. I remember how often my family and I would go there. It was an Italian-inspired buffet, and I loved the pasta and fried calamari. That place has so many fun memories, and I was so sad when it closed. 

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 

When I was 8 years old, I learned that one in four classmates depended on the school meal program. That inspired me to begin my giving garden program, where I grow and donate produce to the community to help alleviate hunger. I’ve donated over 23,000 pounds of organic produce to the Austin community.  

Are you involved in any student orgs on campus? If so, how is that impacting your experience? 

Yes, I’ve been participating in a few student organizations on campus. One program that has had a significant impact for me has been participating in the Longhorn TIES program, which helps support students with autism. During a particularly stressful week, I took some time away from studying to attend a session, and I was so glad I did. I really need that time to decompress and relax. I was so refreshed afterward and realized that sometimes, I need to take a break even if I don’t think I do.  

Did you ever change your major? 

Since I was little, I was always fascinated by engineering. I remember I was fascinated by roller coasters and their functions, and I wanted to learn more. I don’t think I will ever change my major because Civil Engineering is what I love. 

What are the essential items in your backpack? 

The essential items in my backpack are my laptop, tablet, notebook, pencils, calculator, reusable water bottle, and hot sauce. 

Where is your favorite place to study? 

My favorite place to study is on campus in the PCL. I love using the quiet rooms that we can reserve in that library. 

Get connected with Ian and other Longhorns on HookedIn, the official networking platform of The University of Texas.  


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