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From the College of Natural Sciences

Science is Life

Dear Students,I recently learned about an amazing scientist named Dr. Maynard Daly: the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States, in 1947. Dr. Daly grew up in a house surrounded by the love of science and discovered a love of chemistry in high school. After completing her doctorate at Columbia University, she w...

Re-Search

Dear Students,Earlier this year I had the great fortune to attend a panel of female scientists at Explore UT called "Smart Kids: A Panel Discussion of Career Paths and Personal Journeys in Science." Meredith Walker, co-founder of Amy Poehler's "Smart Girls," moderated a discussion with our own Chemistry professor Dr. Kate Biberdorf, Astronomy gradu...

Get Hooked for a Lifetime

Dear Students,In her early 20s, Dr. Wanda Díaz-Merced was studying physics at the University of Puerto Rico when a prolonged illness caused permanent blindness, a seemingly career-ending turn of events. However, Dr. Díaz-Merced was hooked on physics and astronomy, so instead of giving up her passion, she began to think about "seeing" science in ano...

Dig a Little Deeper

Dear Students,Last week I urged you to think of what you wanted to accomplish this year and do something that works toward your goals every day. This week I want you to think about life after college and work toward that (even those of you for whom this is only your second week in college). Often we have ideas based on successful people we have kno...

Let’s Get This Party Started

Dear Students,Welcome to the start of a new year in the College of Natural Sciences (CNS)! As most of you know, my name is David Vanden Bout, and I am the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in CNS. I think I have the best job at UT because I get to work with all of you and make sure your time here is the best it can be. Each week I will se...

#CNSsummer

Dear Students, You are all so very close to the finish line of this semester. You have final exams to get through, first. Be sure to study, to sleep, and to press on to the end.After that, for some of you, the next step is graduation: a hard-earned milestone in your life. For others, this marks the end of a year at UT, with more exciting semes...

A-Mean-Oh Acid

Dear Students, This week's message is going to be short and sweet: Hang in there! The last weeks of the semester are packed with projects, exams, and papers, but I know you are all more than capable of rising to the challenge.Remember to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, getting outside for fresh air, and eating well balanced meal...

Not So Random Acts of Kindness

Dear Students,  We are all knee-deep in the final throws of the semester, and it's at this point that I sometimes forget to take a moment and be present. There are so many wonderful students, staff, and faculty on this campus that when I get wrapped up in the busy I often forget to notice them. So today and every day this week I am going to pe...

Research Week

Dear Students, Last week, we hosted the Undergraduate Research Forum, which showcased research from over 200 of our CNS undergraduates. And this week we kick off Research Week on campus. There will be research galore from all across campus. If traditional research isn't your cup of tea, you can still benefit from all the events. There are art ...

Solve Any Problem with a Fish

Dear Students, I don't know that you can actually solve any problem with a fish, but why not ask the question? After all, we don't make progress by playing it safe, and this week we highlight some ambitious questions at the Undergraduate Research Forum. This Friday from 11am-3pm, the 3rd floor of the Texas Union will be packed with students sh...

Toot Your Own Horn

Dear Students, Almost everyone suffers from feeling like a fraud sometimes. Whether it's sitting in your chemistry class, thinking everyone else knows what's going on, or feeling your work must be 100% perfect or it's not good enough. Everyone feels like they are an imposter at times, but it is important to recognize that you may just be outsi...

Love Yourself

Dear Students, Last week I talked about academic support, but this week I want to talk about self-care. In one of your intro science courses, I'm sure you have learned about systems and how if one part of the system goes out of kilter the rest of the system suffers. Since your body is one big system (a system of systems, in fact), it's importa...

Exams are Awesome

Dear Students, Welcome back! For most of you, midterms are coming up quickly (or happened just before the break). It's easy to see midterms as a thorn or as an undesirable part of the learning process, but I encourage you to try shifting your mindset and see them as a valuable tool in the learning process. If you do well on your midterms, you'...

Take a break

Dear Students, Last week brought a leadership change in the college that I want to make you all aware of. I stepped into a new role on a temporary basis as Interim Dean of the College of Natural Sciences. Back in August, Dean Linda Hicke announced that this academic year would be her last, and last week she stepped down from her post. I expect...

Push Ahead, Plan Ahead

Dear Students, I don't know about you, but I often have the greatest intentions to make a plan for the future. The next thing I know, time seems to catch up with me. Before I know it, I have not only missed the chance to execute my plan, I haven't even found the time to make it. To get out of this rut I have tried to be very intentional about ...