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Dedman Distinguished Scholarship Program News

DDSP Welcomes Ten New Scholars

The Dedman Distinguished Scholars Program is proud to welcome ten new scholars for the 2019-2020 academic year. Six new freshmen form our Humility Cohort, and four UT sophomores form our Courage Cohort. Read about their backgrounds and plans on our New Scholars Page ((Link to New Scholars Page with bios)

As the academic year began, the current students and alumni welcomed them aboard at the annual Induction Celebration, a riverboat sunset cruise on LadyBird Lake. We then kicked off the year together with all DDSP staff and the faculty mentors at the Fall Welcome Dinner on campus – a long-standing rite of passage for all Dedman Scholars. We welcome these new students with every best wish for their years ahead as part of our Dedman Scholars Community.

Read their bios on the New Scholars Page.

Graduating Senior Megan Abrameit Honored with Awards & Scholarships (June 2019)

MeganDedman Scholar Senior Megan Abrameit, a double major in Psychology and Humanities, was honored with awards and scholarships as she graduated from UT’s Liberal Arts Honors program this June. Not only was she chosen as one of ten Dean’s Distinguished Graduates in the College of Liberal Arts, she also won the prestigious Randy Diehl Prize in Liberal Arts – a $17,000 award given to students who are dedicated to careers in service upon graduation. Megan will spend next year in Guatemala City interning with the International Justice Mission to continue her work combatting human trafficking. Read more about Megan’s work and plans in the Life & Letters Q&A.

Mayra Sharma Receives UT's Prestigious Presidential Leadership Award 2017

(April 2017) 

MayraCongratulations to Mayra Sharma, who won the prestigious Presidential Leadership Award for 2017! The Presidential Leadership Award was created in 1985 with an endowment from former Texas Exes president Frank Denius. The award recognizes undergraduates who have demonstrated outstanding leadership within the student community at UT. Every year, one sophomore, two juniors, and three seniors receive the award. Upon being selected, Mayra noted, "I am humbled by this award, and I am beyond excited for all that's coming next." Mayra is a Plan II & Neurosciences major studying the neurobiologogy of disease, among other subjects, and has an interest in pursuing public health policy work in the future. She has served as the panel chair for the Polymathic Scholars, is a teaching assistant for the Peer Educators program for the Counseling and Mental Health Center, works as a consultant for the Undergraduate Writing Center, and is the Student Government College of Natural Sciences Representative, 1 of 5 students elected to represent nearly 11,000 undergraduates. 

Welcome to our new director, Dean Marc Musick

(February 2017) The Dedman Distinguish Scholars Program welcomes our new director Dr. Marc Musick! 

MarcWelcomeDinnerDr. Musick is the Dean of Student Affairs for the College of Liberal Arts, Director of the Liberal Arts Honors Program, and a Professor in the Sociology Department. As a Texas Ex himself, he confesses to "bleeding orange" and is excited to be working with the Dedman Scholars. He is introducing changes to the Dedman Scholars Program in order to enhance mentorship, to expand opportunities for service and leadership, and to build a stronger sense of community among the students (see the Dedman Academy page for details). 

Dean Musick met with our current scholars in February for dinner, and we shared his note to alumni on our social media pages:

"Dear Dedman Alumni,

As you know, Professor Larry Carver has recently retired after 43 years at UT. During this time he has launched and led many successful programs, most notably the Dedman Distinguished Scholars Program. Under his leadership the program has funded 155 students with 23 currently in residence. What started as a $5,000 scholarship has now turned into $25,000 per year along with an additional $15,000 in one-time academic support. Professor Carver’s outstanding work, and the generosity of the Dedman family, is what made all of it possible. I believe I speak for all of us when I say that Larry will be sorely missed.

As the new director of the program, I hope to carry on Professor Carver’s legacy and continue to build the Dedman Program into one of the best of its kind. Along the way I will be looking for your insights and support to help strengthen the program and the new students we bring in on a yearly basis. So feel free to get in touch, or if you are on campus, please stop by and say hello. I know a few of you, but I’m afraid my limited interaction with the program has meant that there of many of you I have never met. Nevertheless, I look forward to doing so whenever possible.


Five New Dedman Scholars Selected for the 2016-2017 academic year

As the 2016-2017 academic year begins, the Dedman Scholarship Program welcomes five new students into the fold: Bethany Burtch, from Midlothian, Virginia; Jacob Hood from Lubbock, Texas; Abby Kucheck from Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania; Ethan Russo from Austin, Texas; and Taryn Shanes from Plano, Texas. Selected from a strong pool of candidates, these five oustanding students distinguished themselves not only academically, but also with their creativity, service work, and contributions to their communities. You may read more about them on our New Scholars Page. 

The Dedman Scholars will kick off the semester with a welcome dinner on August 31st.  

ColemanGraduating Senior Coleman Tharpe earns national recognition and wins multiple UT awards

(May 2015) As Senior Coleman Tharpe graduates from UT, he continues to be recognized for his outstanding contributions to UT and has achieved national recognition as well. Coleman was not only named the Outstanding Employee Student of the Year at UT, his service as a student employee was of such high caliber that Coleman won the 2015 National Student Employee of the Year Award at the national and regional levels. His work at UT was featured in a video produced by the Division of Student Affairs 

Coleman was also a finalist for the Dean's Distinguished Graduate Award and was one of twelve students featured in UT's news coverage of Commencement 2015 as an example of 'what starts here changes the world.' Among his contributions as a student employee and intern, Coleman helped produce online course for 44,000 students and created a corresponding app, as well as curated portions of the Gone With the Wind exhibition at UT's Harry Ransom Center. 

MaceyMacey Shay wins Canadian Fulbright Fellowship

Congratulations to Dedman Scholar Macey Shay on winning the prestigous Killiam-Fulbright Fellowship, an undergraduate award administered by Fulbright Canada. Macey will spend the fall semester of 2015 studying French, Jewish Studies, and History at the Universite of Montreal. 

SaiSai Gourisankar wins the Rhodes Scholarship!

(November 24, 2014) The Dedman Scholars are exceedingly proud to announce that senior Sai Gourisankar has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship! UT issued a press release with details and a congratulatory message from President Bill Powers.  Sai is one of two Rhodes Scholars from UT this year, and the 30th Rhodes Scholar in UT's history. Congratulations, Sai! 

Sai Gourisankar Wins Prestigious Astronaut Scholarship

(September 2014) Congratulations to Dedman Scholar Sai Gourisankar, who has won the prestigious Astronaut Scholarship. The Astronaut Scholarship is a $10,000 award recognizing outstanding students who demonstrate originality, motivation, and exceptional performance in engineering and applied sciences. Read more details in the UT Cockrell School of Engineering Press Release. 

Welcome to our five newest Dedman Scholars!

(August, 2014) For the 2014-2015 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. Please see our New Scholars page for photos and details about these outstanding students. The Dedman Distinguished Scholars Program welcomes these students and wishes them and the current scholars the very best as they enter the University of Texas.

John Russell Beaumont Awarded 2014 British Marshall Scholarship


(December 12, 2013) John Russell Beaumont, a Plan II/Architecture graduate and Dedman Scholar, has been awarded one of the most coveted study abroad scholarships available. 

The British Marshall Scholarship is the only scholarship funded substantially through the government of the United Kingdom. The intention of the Marshall Scholarship is to “strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions,” according to the Marshall Scholarships website. 

Beaumont’s scholarship will fund his graduate education. It covers university fees, cost of living expenses, an annual book grant, a thesis grant, research and daily travel grants as well as fares to and from the United States.

“This scholarship is an incredible opportunity,” Beaumont said. “The chance to study at top universities in the UK is in itself a life-changing opportunity, but I am especially excited to meet the amazing students who share the scholarship.  I look forward to representing the USA in the UK and taking full advantage of my studies and the Marshall Scholar community to contribute to emergency housing and disaster relief practices.” 

Beaumont first became passionate about relief efforts as an undergraduate, and his determination was made clear in his 104 page senior thesis, “Relief and Recovery:  The Role of Architecture and Solidarity in the 2010 Chilean Earthquake Reconstruction,” which the Plan II Honors Program cited as a “model thesis.” 

The Marshall Scholarship will help Beaumont pursue his chosen path as an architect or planner specializing in disaster relief. He will be studying international development with a focus on poverty, conflict and reconstruction at the University of Manchester, as well as urban design in the Bartlett School of Architecture at the University College in London. 

“Russell has the knowledge, the moral force of character and the courage to address one our major problems,” Larry Carver, director of the Liberal Arts Honors Programs, said. “He has the ability to determine how to provide housing that is affordable and functional, attractive and ‘green,’ for those who suffer from natural or man-made disasters.” 

This isn’t the first prestigious award Beaumont has been honored with – he was recruited to The University of Texas at Austin and awarded a Dedman Distinguished Scholarship as a freshman. Of the 140 Dedman Scholars since 1990, Beaumont is the third to also win a British Marshall Scholarship.  

After graduation, he received the Oglesby Traveling Scholarship, which is awarded to one graduating senior in architecture every year, and allowed him to travel to South America to research emergency housing and post-disaster recovery. These experiences left Beaumont eager to continue traveling internationally. 

“The UK, and London in particular, is a global center for both architecture and international development,” Beaumont said. “I look forward to being immersed in that environment and learning everything I can from the amazing work that will be going on around me.”

Divya Srinivasan Publishes New Children's Book

(May 20, 2013) Divya Srinivasan, Class of 1995, is going on a book tour this summer to promote her newest children’s book “Octopus Alone.” Her first stop is Book People in Austin, this coming Saturday May 25 at 2:00pm, with more stops in Illinois, New York, DC, and California in June (see tour schedule for details).

The Austin-American Statesman describes “Octupus Alone” as a ‘sweet, empathetic paean to both striking out on your own and appreciating the comforts of the familiar.” (‘Austinite’s Picture Book Focuses on Octopus Who Just Wants to Be Alone” May 18,2013). Click here to see the book trailer.

Divya’s first children’s book, “Little Owl’s Night” was lauded as “exceptional” by the New York Times and called the ‘best picture book of the year’ by the Boston Globe.

Divya is an illustrator and animator living in Austin, Texas. Her illustrations have appeared in New Yorker magazine, and she has done work for This American Life, They Might Be Giants, Sundance Channel, Sufjan Stevens, and Weird Al Yankovic, among others. Divya was also an animator on the film Waking Life.  More of her work can be seen at  Read more about her career in the Austin Chronicle's article "Divya Srinivasan is Living the Dream of Art" (January 2013).

New Dedman Distinguished Scholars Selected

(April 24, 2013) College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin has honored eight incoming students with a Dedman Distinguished Scholarship, which provides full scholarships covering tuition, books, room and board, study abroad and internship opportunities.

Dedman Scholar Sai Gourisankar wins prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

In April 2013, Dedman Scholar Sai P. Gourisankar was chosen to receive a Goldwater Scholarship – a prestigious, merit-based award given to outstanding students pursuing careers in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields. Sai was one of 271 Goldwater scholarship recipients selected from a pool of over 1,100 applicants nation-wide.

Sai Gourisankar is a sophomore double majoring in Chemical Engineering Honors and Plan II Honors, with a minor in German. Here, in his own words, Sai describes his current academic interests, experiences, and activities at UT: 

"In my first year at UT, I enjoyed both reading Bulgakov's Master and Margarita for my Plan II World Literature class as well as synthesizing gold nanoparticles for bioimaging applications in a chemical engineering research lab. I had the opportunity to play a Portuguese traditional fado in a string quartet at the UT Clutch Concert in April, and every Tuesday at 8:30, I tried to speak as much German as possible on "Es Klingt Wie Deutsch", the German radio show hosted by the UT network. In fact, I got to travel to Würzburg, Germany this summer, where I took upper-division Conversation, Literature, and German history classes. I'd like to go back again – with knowledge of how to speak more than just "Ich heiβe Sai" – and perform research in Kolloidundgrenzflächen (colloids and interfaces) at the Max Planck Institute there."

"In my second year at UT, I have enjoyed blurring the boundaries between the humanities and the sciences. In the Fall, I took a German Grammar course to complete my grasp of essential German. Then, I applied feedback control theory – from aerospace engineering – to study the U.S. economy in my Plan II Macroeconomics class. Later that winter, I stole the standard logical structure of a philosophical argument from Plan II Philosophy to write an engineering research proposal. My advisor approved the project, and now I am using X-ray scattering techniques to probe the atomic structure of gold nanoclusters for biomedical imaging applications. I aim to continue (and hopefully complete) my research project this summer, when I’ll have enough time to iterate through the stages of experimentation. Between academic activities, I’ve planned social events for the Honors Dorms and gone to weekly community service projects for my Chemical Engineering honors society, ΩΧΕ. "