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From the College of Natural Sciences

I’ll take “Amazing Longhorns” for $500, Alex

Dear Students, I have always been a "Jeopardy!" fan. So I was saddened the other day when I saw that long time host Alex Trebek passed away. As a host, he stood out as someone who was able to build excitement and interest while maintaining a kind and calm approach to leading the show. At almost the same time, I got a notice that Jeopardy was looki...

Too Busy for This, Not That

Dear students, Last week, I attended the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement's annual Heman Sweatt lecture. You can find a recap online here, including some great advice from the evening's speaker, PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor. She covered hot topics like entering a job market during a tough economy, being compassi...

Distract Yourself

Dear students, I am writing you a day earlier than usual this week, because I suspect some of you may have your thoughts elsewhere. Election Day may be when you cast a ballot for president for the first time, so perhaps you are glad to be adding your voice to the process. Or perhaps you are feeling uncertain about the outcome. Combined with al...

The Things You Carry

Dear students, Walking around campus I have seen several of you wearing your backpacks, your face masks and your "I voted" stickers, too. So many of you are staying safe, participating in public life, and working hard. Some of you have let me know in our recent survey that you are doing all of these things while also balancing a lot in your courses...

Planning for Spring

Dear Students, First, I want to thank those of you who took some time out last week to respond to this survey. It remains open so, if you haven't yet responded but now feel ready to share some reflections about how things are going this semester, please take a couple of minutes to take the survey today. Secondly, some of our early survey respondent...

Getting a Pulse on How it’s Going

​Dear Students,When I sit down to write a weekly note to all of you, most of the time I look at the academic calendar, think about what happens for students at about this time of the semester, and then try to say something that I would have wanted said to me at that point in my career as a student. This task recently became a lot tougher. I was nev...

Super Science-y Challenge

Dear Students,Early in October each year, the world spends a few days stepping back and celebrating big discoveries in science. Have you noticed? This is when Nobel Prizes get announced, the MacArthur Foundation gives out its famous "genius" awards, and buzz swirls about the ways science changes the world. This week's excitement — about discoveries...

A Message from Two Special Guests

Note from Dean David Vanden Bout: The College of Natural Sciences now has two full-time CARE counselors who are here to help students cope with a wide range of mental health-related challenges. Our CARE counselors are Nic Dahlberg, LPC, and Andrea Ortega, LCSW-S. I offered them this space this week to connect with you all. Dear Students, ...

Stressed about Stress

Dear Students,Well, the semester has really started now. Assignments are due. Exams are happening. Quizzes are piling up. And there are too many hours of video to review.I'm guessing that for many of you, your stress levels are rising. We often think about strategies to alleviate stress like: exercise, practicing mindfulness, eating well, getting e...

Happily Ever After

Dear Students,Now that we are past the mid-point of September, you are no doubt juggling a lot: class work, personal life, and maybe putting pieces in place for the future, too. Whether you are a freshman or a senior on the cusp of graduating, people around you may have already started asking the not-always-welcome question: "So what are your plans...

All of the Things

Dear Students,The fall semester is in full gear, and as always things are moving at a rapid pace. It can take some effort to stay on top of all of the resources people let you know about as a Texas Science student. This year, without random conversations in hallways and seeing sidewalk chalk reminders about upcoming events, that may feel especially...

Dig In

Dear Students,I can't believe that it has already been a week of classes. I'm guessing you have had a wide range of experiences, from classes that are taking a slow start to those that hit a load of content in the first week. As we head into week two, keep in mind that things will continue to build as the semester progresses. Many lab classes will ...

New School Year’s Eve Resolutions

Dear Students,Welcome to the start of a new year in the College of Natural Sciences! As happens at the start of every new year, there is a lot happening at once. So I'll focus on four key ideas:As a chemist, one of the most important lessons I've learned is: Safety first.I encourage you all to keep safety at the front of your minds. Whether you are...

Are you wearing a tie and bunny slippers?

Dear Students,I have been working from my bedroom for a while now with regular meetings throughout the day on Zoom. Every day, when I get up and "go to work," I also generally put on a tie. In my virtual meetings, I get asked a lot of questions about my tie. Are you wearing pajamas pants? You probably have on bunny slippers that no one can see, rig...

Summer is for...

Dear Students,We are just two weeks away from the beginning of fall classes, which means summer is still very much here. What has this summer been about for you? Many of you who made the most of this unusual summer by taking some classes. For those of you in this camp, keep up the good work! You're nearly to the finish line with summer courses...