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Student Spotlight

Finding Inspiration

A student, inspired by the work of others, finds her place at UT.

Yuanjing Jennie Yuan

I chose UT because of its outstanding academics and uplifting student body.

As a high school student, Yuanjing “Jennie” Yuan, B.S. ’24, was inspired. Her teacher shared a video about a team of computer scientists who were building and providing bionic limbs to people in developing countries. Jennie knew right away that she wanted to be a part of that work. “I was so curious about how the limbs worked and how they were talking to the person’s brain,” Jennie shared. Her curiosity led her to The University of Texas at Austin, where she plans to use her major in computer science and business honors to learn more about the development of bionic limbs.

When Jennie was looking at colleges, she came across UT’s joint computer science and business honors degree — a new, highly selective integrated honors program that prepares students for top technology careers. “I knew it would be challenging. But I chose UT because of its outstanding academics and uplifting student body. I was confident that I would be able to find support and encouragement from the faculty and other students,” she said.

What Jennie didn’t realize was that extra support was going to be even more important than she initially realized. The COVD-19 pandemic caused Jennie — and students across the country — to move to online classes.

Despite the pandemic, Jennie decided to spend her freshman year on campus. While the environment was not what she had come to know and love during her campus visits, “meeting people and making friends that were in the same program helped encourage me. And my professors and advisors were always available on Zoom,” Jennie shared.

Jennie also received support through a scholarship. “I received the Petterson Family Endowed Scholarship, and it has definitely played a big part in my time here at UT. Instead of having to worry about my financial situation and how I was going to pay for tuition for my first year, I’ve been able to focus on maximizing my experiences and taking advantage of all the opportunities UT has to offer. The Petterson family’s support motivated me to do my best to make both myself and the donors proud,” she said.

With the support of donors like the Pettersons, her classmates and professors, her own ingenuity and inspiration from those who came before her, it won’t be long before Jennie is changing the world.

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