Go-Getters: Meet the 2018 President’s Leadership Award Winners

Call it a participation trophy. The six recipients of the President’s Leadership Award, given annually by the Texas Exes, represent some the most active participants on the Forty Acres. Whether they’re starting nonprofits in their spare time, earning All-American honors aside from their honors-track degree plans, or leading student government between trips abroad, these students are what one could conservatively call active participants—not simply for showing up, but for taking charge, too. They set the pace on campus, and the way they see it, this is just the beginning.\

Meet two of the President’s Leadership Award winners who are also Forty Acres Scholars.

Jacqueline Gibson

Major: Computer Science, African and African Diaspora Studies

Hometown: Cedar Hill, Texas

Credentials: Forty Acres Scholar, Co-founder of the Association of Black Computer Scientists, CNS Aspire Awards winner, Texas Orange Jacket

Street cred: Often found in the kitchen cooking and baking, crocheted hats for a domestic violence nonprofit

Jacqueline Gibson sees leadership as knowing when to get out front, and knowing when to fall back and let others use their talents. That’s why she’s working to develop tech skills in groups underrepresented in the STEM fields. Her path started in high school when she attended First Bytes, a weeklong program at UT aimed at getting girls interested in computer science. “First Bytes inspired me to become a member of The Senate of College Councils and advocate for academic change, more opportunities for STEM students, and for more affordable technology use,” she says. And what’s her proudest achievement? When her underclassman mentee told her he would have dropped out if not for Gibson. “I think we all hope that we will have a significant impact on someone’s life,” she says, “but actually having that moment was more meaningful than I can explain.”

 

Matthew “Micky” Wolf

Major: Honors Program, Plan II Honors, Psychology

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

Credentials: Social Entrepreneurship Learning Lab founder, Texas for Expanding Opportunity co-founder, Forty Acres Scholar

Street cred: Interfraternity Council member, studied abroad in India and Italy, helped spearhead initiative to bring back UT/Texas A&M game

With three majors and a vice presidency in Student Government, Micky Wolf doesn’t slow down. “For me,” he says, “it’s about empowering students.” Like his fellow award winners, he’s staked out his place by working to bring things from idea to action, which he’s practiced not only in student leadership, but in his three—count ’em—three majors (two of which are honors programs). After college, he wants to be an entrepreneur. By being hyper-engaged, he’s honed skills he believes define leadership: empathy, hard work, and vision. “If you’re not looking at leadership as an opportunity to serve others, then I think I have a different view of leadership than you do.”

A version of this story originally appeared in the May/June 2018 issue of the Alcalde.

 

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