president's leadership award

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.


2016 Recipients

Jon Burstain

Growing up in Iowa, two things were important to Jon Burstain: politics and choir. As a senior in high school, Burstain ran for president of both the Young Republicans and Young Democrats, eventually uniting the two groups after he won. At UT, the business honors and finance major has served in numerous leadership roles, including logistics officer for the University of Texas Concert Chorale, operations director for Challah for Hunger, and agency director of out-of-state, international, and transfer students in Student Government.

Robbey Orth

Architecture student Robbey Orth wasn’t always a natural leader. An introvert when he arrived on the Forty Acres, he pushed through his inclination to follow the lead to become an active voice within the undergraduate architecture community at UT-Austin. Currently the president of the undergraduate architecture student council, Orth has brought a student government aspect back into the organization and pressed to increase the relevancy of the UAC within the School of Architecture. Also a former organization representative at the Student Engineering Council and a mentor for TEDx Youth @Austin, Orth’s days of following the pack are far behind him. “Leadership is enabling people to step up and be leaders themselves,” Orth says.

Bethany Rolan

Business honors student Bethany Rolan has a simple motto for life: “Have an attitude of gratitude.” A natural-born mentor and leader, Rolan teaches business to 2nd graders, serves as new member director of Texas Orange Jackets, committee chair of UT Best Buddies, and is a research assistant and TA in the McCombs School of Business. The secret to her success so far in the face of so many leadership tasks? She says she always tries to be the hardest worker in the room.

Rachel Huynh

Though Rachel Huynh is a Longhorn, she’s also branched out to new experiences at other universities, including the operations program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and a Semester at Sea program conducted through the University of Virginia, in which the Orange Jackets member and recruiter sailed to 12 countries in 112 days. Additionally, the business honors and Plan II major doesn’t restrict her experiences to her main focuses of study: The BHP peer mentor and Undergraduate Business Council chair has also been an editorial columnist for the Daily Texan, where she focused on the plight of the underrepresented through stories on gender-neutral housing and LGBTQ awareness.

Imani Boyette

Women’s basketball star Imani Boyette had a rough childhood. A survivor of abuse, Boyette found solace in the comfort of basketball and slam poetry. Now married to Longhorn defensive tackle Paul Boyette, Imani has twice been named First Team Academic All Big 12, Big 12 Female Sportsperson of the Year, and recently won the Honda Inspiration Award, given to a female athlete who has overcome hardship and has returned to play at the college level. Boyette hopes to turn pro after graduation before embarking on a career in wealth management.

Kevin Helgren

An inspiration to the many he touches as Camp Texas executive leadership co-chair and Student Government university-wide representative, neuroscience and psychology major Kevin Helgren is still inspired himself on the Forty Acres. “Every day I walk across campus and I’m surrounded by people who push me to be better,” says the Rapoport Scholar and 2014 Office of Admissions Ambassador of the Year. Helgren has also emphasized research throughout his college career, serving as research assistant in Botswana for seven weeks and on numerous projects involving studies on the effects of alcohol on overall health.

Past Recipients


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