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Liberal Arts Honors

New Scholars 2016-2017

For the 2016-2017 academic year, the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin has honored ­­five incoming students with a Dedman Distinguished Scholarship. Each Dedman Scholar will receive an award of $25,000 per year, plus funding for study abroad, and additional support for unpaid internships and thesis research. Dedman Scholarships are awarded based on the applicant’s academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and accomplishments.

Bethany2015Bethany Burtch  (Liberal Arts Honors/Middle Eastern Studies major from Midlothian, Virginia)

Graduating as the valedictorian at Midloathian High School, Bethany was active in speech and debate, serving as co-captain of the varsity team and earning honors at state competitions for storytelling. She was also active in French and Spanish language clubs and belonged to both local and national honor societies. She participated in the Model United Nations competitions, serving as an officer her senior year. She also volunteered as a language tutor for younger students at her high school. Bethany lived in Algeria for five years and developed an interest in the Arab culture and language.  She plans to major in Middle Eastern Studies while at UT. 


JacobHoodJacob Hood  (Liberal Arts Honors/English from Lubbock, Texas)

Jacob comes to UT from Lubbock, graduating in the top ten of his senior class at Frenship High School. In addition to earning top academic honors, Jacob also played on the varsity tennis team, volunteered at soup kitchens with the school’s honor societies, and won numerous UIL awards for writing and literary criticism. Passionate about writing, Jacob is a published author, with articles appearing in The Huffington Post, Affinity Magazine, and Teen Ink. He has also written two novels and is currently seeking publication. He plans to pursue his love of writing at UT by majoring in English and becoming involved with university literary publications and writing groups. 

AbbyK2015Abby Kucheck (Liberal Arts Honors/Philosophy major from Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania)

While at Natrona Heights High School, Abby was a leader in the school’s marching band, playing alto saxophone and drums. She also appeared in leading roles in the school’s yearly musicals, with performances on stage as well as creative contributions behind-the-scenes with set design and decoration. Pursuing her passion for Art, Abby created an independent art class and designed numerous school t-shirts. She also expressed her creativity through writing: she won several Scholastic awards for creative writing, had two short stories published in the Carnegie Library creative writing anthology in 2015, and independently wrote a novel. She looks forward to exploring her intellectual interests in the honors program at UT and is considering a major in philosophy. 

EthanR2016Ethan Russo  (Plan II/Mathematics major from Austin, Texas)

Ethan graduated first in his class at the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy, where he led the school’s Quiz Bowl team, serving as co-president his senior year. He excelled in quiz bowl competitions at the state and national levels, with his teams placing in the top three in the nation, and taking first place in the Texas state championship in 2015. He was voted the National Player of the Year as a Freshman and as a Sophomore. He shared his passion for quiz bowl competitions with younger students at the Texas Quiz Bowl Camp, where he worked as a counselor each summer. Ethan also served as co-president of his school’s Math Club, president of the school orchestra, and was the co-president of the LASA’s Model United Nations.  As a Plan II major at UT, Ethan will study mathematics. 


TarynShanes2016Taryn Shanes (Plan II major from Plano, Texas)

As captain of the varsity cross-country and track teams at Plano West Senior High School, Taryn distinguished herself as an outstanding athlete in addition to her achievements as a scholar. She earned numerous awards for her academic excellence, and was a member of several honor societies at the local and national levels. She volunteered with the National Charity League and Habitat for Humanity and served on the Congressional Youth Advisory Council for the Third Congressional District of Texas.  Taryn also enjoys writing fiction and had a story published in the Modern Short Story Anthology in 2015. Taryn is interested in studying international relations as a Plan II major.