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News

From the College of Natural Sciences

What A Wonderful World

Dear Students,In early January 2020, Dr. Nianshuang Wang, who was then a UT Austin postdoctoral scientist in the lab of Professor Jason McLellan, did some fast thinking that may well have saved lives. He had been working on coronavirus research for years and knew the importance of a protein called spike, and he learned how to work with it to make r...

Who's First?

​Dear Students,Many Longhorns—more than 20%—are the first in their family to go to college. Possessing all the skills and abilities they need to succeed, our first-gen students still can encounter some unique challenges. As first-gen graduate Maria Alvarez said in a UT News article, being a first-generation college student for her meant regular dro...

4 Tips for Right Now

Dear Students,After more than a year and a half of very few in-person activities, it's great to see the campus looking so alive. Most of our classes are back to meeting in-person. At class changes, Speedway is crowded with people. And, once again, bicycles and skateboards are zooming down the hill on 24th Street.For many of us, this feels like a we...

On Civil Discourse

​Dear Students, As a science community, we spend a lot of time thinking about and doing science-y stuff, like coding, titrating, solving and graphing. But the success of scientific endeavors also depends on social-interpersonal skills that enable people to collaborate across diverse perspectives, expertise and experience. Indeed, studies show that ...

Explore Your Options

​Dear Students,As a neuroscience faculty member, faculty advisor and now a student dean, I frequently hear from students looking for guidance. About what? Truth be told, the most common issue is the functional anatomy of the basal ganglia. (It really is complicated.) But the second-most common issue is careers.We tend to focus a lot on the career o...

Celebrate the CNS Community

​Dear Students,One of my favorite aspects of the College of Natural Science is the breadth of our community—the amazing diversity of people, research, groups, activities and events. Although I've been at UT for more than 10 years, almost every day I meet an interesting new person or learn about a fascinating project in CNS. I encourage everyone to ...

Planning for the future

​Dear Students,By this time in the semester, many of you are fully immersed in your coursework, with readings to complete, exams to prepare for, and papers to write. If these things are using up all your mental energy right now, no worries—skip to the joke below and read the rest of this message when you're up for it.​If you're still reading, then ...

The neuroscience of learning and memory

​Dear Students, In addition to serving as interim undergraduate dean, I'm a neuroscientist, who, from time to time, uses this space to discuss how neuroscience connects to our lives. Today, I focus on one of my favorite phenomena in the neuroscience of learning and memory: the trial spacing effect.​The trial spacing effect demonstrates that we lear...

The neuroscience of learning and memory

​Dear Students, In addition to serving as interim undergraduate dean, I'm a neuroscientist, who, from time to time, uses this space to discuss how neuroscience connects to our lives. Today, I focus on one of my favorite phenomena in the neuroscience of learning and memory: the trial spacing effect.​The trial spacing effect demonstrates that we lear...

Exam-ining Options

​Dear Students, It feels like we just got started, but I'm afraid we are already at the time of the semester when the novelty can start to wear off and anxiety about exams can set in. If you that's where you are this week, hang in there, and know our student support page has an array of available resources for you related to academics, study skills...

A few quick questions

Dear Students,If there's one thing we learned last year, it's that students and faculty alike want to get back to in-person classes and other activities. This fall is certainly better than last fall in this regard. Our faculty and students are back on campus, and in-person activities are happening. Although some of our CNS courses have moved online...

A marathon, not a sprint

​Dear Students,It's hard to believe that the first week of classes is already in the books. It's been wonderful to see the campus coming back to life. This time of year always makes me think about my first weeks in college. I remember them as being incredibly exciting, but also bewildering and stressful. If this time is feeling overly stressful to ...

Welcome to Fall 2021!

Dear Students,Welcome to the start of a new year in the College of Natural Sciences! My name is Michael Drew, and I am serving as Interim Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in CNS while Dean Vanden Bout serves as interim dean of CNS. I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with students across the college and make sure your tim...

The Finish Line’s in Sight

​This Week's Messenger:Dr. Anneke ChyDear students, You've made it through classes, perhaps the first of your finals and a big chunk of this extraordinary academic year. My messages this week are for those with finals happening now—including those of you graduating. For everyone with finals: Neuroscientist Dr. Michael Mauk has offered tips for st...

What are you doing next?

​This Week's Messenger:Dr. Ruth FranksDear Students, First a special message for our graduating seniors: Congratulations to the CNS Class of 2021! Every year, we ask graduating seniors to report their plans after graduation and share their experiences while in CNS using the College of Natural Sciences Graduation Survey. This year, it has special s...