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Every year, the School of Undergraduate Studies commissions artwork for its annual Reading Round-Up program. This year’s art was created by Jon Flaming. How did you get started as an artist? Is this a talent you’ve been developing your whole life, or did you find art later on?
Vanessa Garcia, an academic advising coordinator in the Vick Center for Strategic Advising, has received recognition as the 2021 Student Success Champion. Vanessa works with undeclared students in the School of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) and declared students in other schools and colleges at the university who are looking to explore all of their academic options. Student Success Initiatives created the competitive award to honor a faculty or staff member who goes above and beyond every day on behalf of students.
Mandy Vachon, a senior Transfer-Year Interest Group (TrIG) mentor, is a finalist for the 2021 President’s Student Employee of the Year Award. Vachon is a TrIG mentor, a member of the Non-Traditional Students Advisory Board, and an officer and former president of the New Wave Longhorns student organization for non-traditional students. Establishing a strong community for non-traditional and transfer students at UT has always been important to her.
One of the semester’s larger projects for Undergraduate Studies Council (UGSC), the official student organization for the School of Undergraduate Studies, involved passing legislation through the Senate of College Councils. As students adapted to online learning, UGSC found that many students valued the flexibility of virtual appointments and resources.
As part of Research Week 2021, the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) hosted the annual Longhorn Research Poster Session as an online event April 14-15. Students presented more than 130 research posters on interdisciplinary topics ranging from government to medicine to molecular biology. The top presenters were selected for $2,000, $1,000, and $500 awards. Judges also selected a $500 poster design award winner and UT undergraduates voted for a $1,000 audience choice award.
On March 29, the Office of Undergraduate Research announced the winners of the sixth annual Texas Student Research Showdown at a virtual award ceremony.
Jaden Janak is a Ph.D. student studying African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS). They have served as a teaching assistant (TA) for two Undergraduate Studies Courses: Difficult Dialogues: Gender, Race, Policing and Incarceration; and UGS 303: Blackness and Mass Incarceration.
Thanks to a generous gift from Helen and Jeff Herbert, the University Lecture Series now has a new name: The Helen and Jeff Herbert Family University Lecture Series.
When Sydney Gray’s summer internship in New York City was canceled due to COVID-19, she regrouped and started a podcast and blog where she interviewed leaders and studied social justice issues. Using the Summer Exploration Grant, Gray explored multimedia journalism from her own home, testing out her future path before declaring a journalism major in fall 2020.

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