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12 Ways Our Students Owned 2016

In 2016, UT Austin witnessed the amazing successes and achievements of students from across the Forty Acres.

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This year, The University of Texas at Austin witnessed the amazing successes and achievements of students from across the Forty Acres. From dominating Beijing’s World Robot Conference to having a planet named after one of our students, Longhorns made an impact during 2016.

1. Students helped design Dallas rail system

UT Austin architecture students helped Texas Central produce an inspiring vision for Dallas’ high-speed train passenger stations. Texas Central CEO, Tim Keith, said their work “displayed truly innovative ideas, design creativity and an emphasis on sustainability — principles upon which the Texas Bullet Train project will be built.” UT team design team


Plan II senior Mikaila Smith became the 31st Longhorn to earn one of the world’s most distinguished scholarships. 

Rhodes scholar

3. Physics major promoted neurodiversity

Diagnosed with autism at the age of 16, senior physics major Manuel Diaz made it his mission in 2016 to widen the acceptance of neurological differences as diverse as autism, dyslexia and Tourette’s syndrome. 

Manuel Diaz

4. A spring break trip turned into a life-saving mission

A UT Recreational Sports (RecSports) outdoor adventure became a life-changing leadership experience when a Grand Canyon backpack trip turned into an unexpected rescue mission. 

5. UT’s robot soccer team dominated the world

UT’s robot soccer team beat former world champions to win the international robot soccer competition in China. #GOALS

6. Austin city leaders recognized UT student orgs

In April, the City of Austin recognized 17 UT Austin student organizations for their commitment to health and wellness. These organizations have positively impacted UT Austin’s student body and the surrounding community.

7. Law students had highest Texas bar pass rate

Ninety-four percent of Texas Law graduates passed the bar exam on the first try. That was better than any other law school in Texas! 

“Our first priority is teaching our students how to think like lawyers, and on giving them the sophistication they need to practice law at the highest level throughout their careers… But we also want them ready to succeed as soon as they graduate, and passing the bar exam is part of that. Our goal is to have it both ways.”

– Ward Farnsworth, dean of the School of Law.

8. UT congratulated our newest Marshall scholar

Geography senior Bailey Anderson became the 12th Longhorn to receive a Marshall scholarship in the past 16 years. 

Marshall scholar

9. Pharmacy students won national title

A team of students beat out 46 schools from across the country to win a national competition designed to showcase business plans for independent pharmacies. 

UT pharmacy students

10. A Longhorn had a planet named after him

In honor of an out-of-this-world 2015 science fair win, MIT Lincoln Laboratory named a planet after UT petroleum and geosystems engineering (PGE) student Karan Jerath. This year, Jerath was also selected out of 18,000 nominations to become one of 17 U.N. Young Leaders. 

Karan Jerath

11. Two entreprenuers made the most of their startup scholarship

Tenaj Ferguson and Omar Garza each won a business pitch competition in 2015 that earned them $10,000 scholarships to the Texas MBA program. Since they started at the McCombs School of Business, Ferguson and Garza, both on track to earn MBAs in 2017, have stayed busy: They’ve continued building their businesses, forged relationships with other students and faculty members, and taken part in some major business competitions. This year’s Texas Venture Labs (TVL) scholarship application deadline is Jan. 30, 2017.


12. UT honored alumna who received the prestigious Schwarzman Scholarhip

This Longhorn is headed to China as the first UT Austin graduate to receive the Schwarzman scholarship. Jordan Metoyer will pursue a master’s degree in global affairs with a concentration in public policy.

Jordan Metoyer

“I want to dedicate my life to making cities more equitable, more sustainable and smarter… Anyone serious about working in the urban planning and economic development space must have a sophisticated understanding of China.”

– Jordan Metoyer