President's Leadership Award

The President’s Leadership Awards were created in 1985 with an endowment from past Texas Exes president Frank Denius. These awards recognize undergraduate students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership within the student community at The University of Texas. One sophomore, two juniors and three seniors receive the award annually.

The 2021 nomination period has now closed.

2021 Recipients

Brianna McBride  

Majors: Communication and Leadership; Government  

Senior Brianna McBride is a leader in all that she does. In her time on campus, the Houston native has served numerous student organizations. As a Student Ambassador for the Texas Tour Guides Association, McBride’s love for UT shines through and her enthusiasm has led many students to attend the university. Awarded the Heman Sweatt Student Legacy Award by the Division of Diversity and Community, McBride is passionate about her role mentoring students of color and has been instrumental in New Black Student Weekend events, serving in the roles of team leader, programming chair, and executive chairperson. This summer, she was part of the cohort of students, faculty, and alumni who consulted with President Jay Hartzell about the importance of diversity and inclusion at UT, serving as one of the representatives of UT’s Black student organizations.  

Additional activities: Black President’s Leadership Council co-director; Big XII Council on Black Student Government executive chairperson; African American Culture Committee chair/president; Afrikan Amerikan Affairs New Black Student Weekend co-chair; UT Austin Friar Society initiate


Pranav Jayaraman 

Major: Neuroscience; Business of Healthcare Certificate 

Senior Pranav Jayaraman’s demonstrations of leadership go above and beyond. During his freshman year, Pranav’s close friend was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Pranav, who was raised in Katy, Texas, witnessed firsthand how his friend became bedridden and how his academic performance suffered, eventually leading him to temporarily withdraw from UT. Pranav was inspired to co-found the Texas Crohn’s and Colitis Initiative, a student organization that strives to raise awareness and funds for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. He is also committed to helping the environment, serving in a leadership position for the Campus Environmental Center’s Half-Pint Prairie, a pocket Blackland prairie located on campus.  

Additional activities: Texas Student Media’s Longhorn Latenight cast member and writer; University Health Services Sustainability in Healthcare Research student assistant; Environmental Justice and Ecotherapy Group general member 


Samantha Bryant 

Majors: Business Honors; Marketing 

In her four years on campus, senior Samantha Bryant has left an indelible mark on campus. The Austin native has proven herself to be a strong advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion through her role as director for the Canfield Business Honors Program, helping more than 200 first-year students adjust to the college experience. She was selected to participate in the newly created Canfield BHP Diversity and Inclusion, creating support and programming that allows all voices from the program’s various student groups to be heard, promotes inclusivity, and encourages ally-ship. She also served as president of the Student Advisory Board Leadership for the new Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial and Leadership Institute Committee, overseeing a 22-member board that empowers women and underrepresented groups through community-created events. 

Additional activities: Ignite Texas co-chair; Texas AMA content committee member; Texas Bluebonnets philanthropy director 


Grace Farley  

Majors: Social Work; Plan II Honors Program 

Junior Grace Farley’s leadership practices are nothing short of personal. As a first-generation Latina student from Keller, Texas, Farley has committed herself to helping other first-generation students on campus. She piloted a First-Generation Student LLC with 51 students that has now grown to serve 100. In this role, she led hour-long workshops every other week, with topics varying from life-skills to impostor syndrome to career exploration. She has also helped to improve first-generation students’ visibility on campus through her work serving on the UT Senate of College Councils, the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center Student Advisory Committee, and on the Plan II Honors First-Gen Task Force.  

Additional activities: Socks for the Sole fundraising director; Steve Hicks School of Social Work Committee for Diversity and Inclusion student representative; Plan II Honors Mentorship Program peer mentor 


Ethan Jones 

Majors: Business Honors; Public Relations 

Hailing from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, junior Ethan Jones couldn’t be more committed to serving UT Austin as a recruitment ambassador for Canfield BHP, recruiting hundreds of students through weekly information sessions, student tours, and personal meetings. He also served as the student representative of the Canfield BHP Alumni Advisory Board and executive vice president of the Honors Business Association, where he connected dozens of alumni with current students through professional and mentorship events. In the summer of 2020, he became the leader of Canfield BHP’s Black Affinity Group and served on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the university and becoming an amplifier for Black voices at UT and beyond. 

Additional activities: Student Government financial director; Neighborhood Longhorns Program advisory board member; Honors Business Association executive vice president; Silver Spurs member 


Jiarong Joyce He 

Majors: Honors Computer Science; Canfield Business Honors 

Sophomore Joyce He never hesitates when called upon to serve her Longhorn community. In her short time on campus, the sophomore from Plano, Texas, He serves on the Canfield BHP Diversity and Inclusion Committee where she provides direct feedback to the program director about issues facing students. She is also a member of Code Orange where she mentors local students about computer programming and sits with prospective students via coffee chats to walk them through the college application process and why UT may be a great fit for their future. She currently serves as Head of Development and Operations for Cumulus, a student organization focused on demystifying the tech industry for students of color.  

Additional activities: Texas Computer Science and Business Association vice president of operation; University of Texas Computer Science Ambassadors ambassador 


Past Recipients


Brooke Reaves, Josefina Salazar Morales, Mamadou Balde, Oscar Lopez, Shilpa Rajagopal, Tyson Smiter


William Acheampong, Siji Deleawe, Javier Granados II, Colton Becker, Kelsey Mumford, Mehraz Rhaman


Emily Yang, Caroline "Gabby" Crank, Jacqueline C. Gibson, Karan Kathuria, Matthew "Micky" Wolf, Valarie Cardenas


Seth Krasne, Sofia Aranha, Mayra Sharma, Garrett Maples, Jade Jackson, Amber Magee


Jon Burstain, Robbey Orth, Bethany Rolan, Rachel Huynh, Imani Boyette, and Kevin Helgren


Lauren Caton, Ignacio Cruz, Amy Enrione, Madison Gove, Neal Makkar, and Coleman Tharpe


Charlie Adkins, Elyssa Klann, Holland Finley, Jeffrey Li, Michael "Ugeo" Williams, and Tara Sharma


Armiya Humphrey, Robert Belanger, Steven Macapagal, Rosaura Estrada, Julie Fogarty, James Salazar


Michael Daehne, Jordan Metoyer, Ana Laura Rivera, Rebekah Sosland, Bhargav Srinivasan, Rebekah Thayer


Shelby Carvalho, David Forinash, Derin Kiykioglu, Audrey Najera, Jimmy Talarico, Eugene Wood


Erica Brody, Erik Eyberg, Charles "Bud" Franck, John Kidenda, Cecilia Lopez, Berenice Medellin


Jacob Marcus Bintliff, Natalie Butler, Liam O’Rourke, Abraham Pena, Keshav Rajagopalan, Rebecca Reid


William P. Bacon, Katie Brehm, Nathan Vidal Bunch, Stephen Lang Myers, Nicole Elizabeth Trinh, Mechiel Johannes Vander Walt


Sarina Hickey, C. Melvin Ike, Ryan Miller, Keshav Rajagopalan, Monica Richards, Danille Rugoff, James Tolleson


Matthew Garrett Ashbaugh, James Mahoney Burnham, Manasi A. Deshpande, Zachary Charles Hall, Andrew R. Lara, Sheena Paul, Kan Yan


Salome Balderramme, Tara Buentello, Jesus Castillon, Ellen Chen, Lauren Gilstrap, Matthew Hardigree, Vivek Sakhrani


Jesus Castillon, Monica Villasenor Culver, Kevin Curry, Steven Hardt, Rusty Ince, Jake Ward, Wendy Wheless


Andrew Brummett, Derek Deas, Katie King, Sly Majid, Omar Ochoa, Clint Tuttle


Dimi Aldridge, Erin Dominguez, Andrew Friedberg, Jon Mureen, Sonia Nezamzadeh, Tim Taliaferro, Phu Tran


Zaina Nabil Al-Mohtaseb, Colleen Davies, Andrea Greene, Chris Harlan, Nils Marchand, Jake Olcott, Daron Roberts


Parisa Fatehi, Milam Newby, Sebastian Paige, Carlos Luis Rodriguez, Mollie Sultenfuss, Randy Thompson


Kiesha Curtis, James Hwang, Atisha Patel, David Sanchez, Demetris Williams, Krissah Williams


Christina Allen, Nina Bhatia, Troy Daniel, Lisa Henken, Annie Holand, Daron Roberts, Marlen Whitley


Dee Campanella, Emily Johnson, Tyson Brice King, Candice Marchland, Kat Murray, Ryan Phelps, Anthony Rosette


Carl Harvey Jr., Sam Jacobs, Jake Margo, Yvette Mirabal, Jennifer Monday, Ronnye Vargas


Alex Eastman, David Henderson, Mirshish Massey, Brian Siegal, Ronnye Vargas, Julie Zelman


Joshua Aruh, Deana Dittmar, Katherine Dunphy, Lisa Epifani, Chad Young


Heili Allee, Glenn Brown, Kip Dixon, Howard Nirken, Sean Petrie, Stephen Shang


Stacie Baker, David Gomez, Sean Mast, Howard Nirken, Laura Schaulat, Meredith Spiekerman


Julie Ballard, Sarah Louise Biddle, Jennifer Bradley, Jackie Lain, Marty Meekins, Jennie Molz


Meredith Byers, Jackie Lain, Marty Meekins, Teri Pinney, Anneke Schroen, Charla Serbent, Cliff Vrielink


Jennifer Bradley, Debbie Knupp, Mark Murdock, David Antonio Perez, J. C. Rozendaal, Paul Schweizer, Christine Warden


Dina Castranova, James Delk, Deanna Dewberry, Bill Dorland, Mike Hulbert, Randi Shade


Steve Barrett, Julie Beckham, Archie Holmes, Blair Schlossberg, Mark Strain, Michael Whellan


Dean Carter, Dorina Trevino Clarke, Patricia Jeffrey, Marc H. Muchnick, John Scott