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Jason Abrevaya, Chair 2225 Speedway, Stop C3100, Austin, TX 78712 • Admin: 512-471-3211 & Advising: 512-471-2973

Econ Student Awarded President's Leadership Award

Posted: December 12, 2012

The President’s Leadership Award recognizes 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.

This award was created in 1985 from an endowment from Frank Denius, a previous Texas Exes president. Steven Macapagal, a double major in economics and math, is one of the few recipients of the 2013 President’s Leadership Award. He is one of two juniors to receive this award, and is a top student within the Department of Economics. Steven has made the Dean’s Honors List for the past two years. He is a valued leader in the Economics Peer Mentor Program as well as other student organizations on campus including the Texas Economics Association, Habitat for Humanity UT chapter, and the Koinonia Austin group. 

The Department of Economics Peer Mentor Program is a relatively new program. Steven has served as a peer mentor for the last two semesters and will continue as a mentor for the Spring 2013 semester. He is dedicated to his mentees, serves as a lead mentor, and has provided great input and suggestions on how to improve the program. With Steven’s passion, energy, and ideas the department has been able to improve the Econ Peer Mentor Program to the benefit of its participants. The department has included more activities geared towards students’ interests, widened the topics covered with mentees, and have made adjustments to the mentor training, all of which Steven provided input on from a student’s perspective.

Steven also volunteers regularly with his church, where he volunteers his time to play his viola during weekly mass.  He is an outstanding student and leader, and shows dedication to making a difference on the UT campus.

Tell us a little bit about how you are involved on the UT campus and the Department of Economics.

I always enjoyed volunteering, so I became involved in Habitat my freshman year. I was impressed by how the officers actively tried to get to know you, so I started joining other organizations that had a lot of student outreach. I became a Sanger tutor and a peer mentor because I wanted to help freshmen navigate their way through their first year, just as my FIG mentor did.

What is your favorite part about being active in the UT/Department of Economics community?

Being active on campus and in the department has made me more aware of how diverse UT is. Because I’ve become friends with such a wide variety of people, differences in age, major, beliefs, etc. have largely disappeared from my view. I also feel closer to people I wouldn’t normally see outside of class, like my professors and advisors.

What recommendations do you have for your peers and how they can become more involved with UT/Department of Economics?

Everyone at UT has to make this massive campus feel a bit smaller, so joining any of the department organizations is definitely the place to start. Of course, you should pursue your own interests, so if you like archery, join the archery club. If you like volunteering, join any of the countless volunteer groups we have (or join Habitat!) Or if you’re into nerding out over an unsolved question, write a senior thesis. But don’t just stop there – make yourself an active participant and really get to know the leaders and those around you. Your time in college isn’t just about your resume, it’s about the relationships you forge with others.

What aspects of being an economics major have influenced your decisions/commitments to community engagement?

The economics department has so many opportunities available to students that I wanted to take advantage of. Seeing other students work hard in these programs has motivated me to try to put all my effort into whatever I’m doing.  Sure, the labor-leisure problem only gives you time T hours to work with, but I’m satisfied that part of my T hours are spent by helping others.

Find out more about the President's Leadership Awards here.

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