EL PASO, Texas - The University of Texas at Austin is looking for the next generation of leaders.
For seven years, the university's McCombs School of Business has hosted Subiendo: The Academy for Rising Leaders. This year 80 students will be chosen from across the state to take part in the five-day summer camp on the UT-Austin campus in Austin, Texas.
"It provides students with intense leadership training and the opportunity to network with other students from all over the state," said Catherine Rodarte, coordinator for Subiendo Academy.
The program will focus on leadership training, community-building exercises, opportunities to network with business and political leaders, and preparation for college.
"We want to empower these students to be able to come back to their communities, whether it's here in El Paso or Dallas or Austin, and address the issues that are facing the state of Texas within education, health care, energy and the environment," Rodarte said.
Rodarte, an El Paso native, returned to her alma mater Riverside High School, to recruit students. She also visited Bowie, Hanks, Americas, El Dorado, and Burges high schools. Rodarte got her degree from UT-Austin and now works for the university's business college.
El Paso alumni of Subiendo Academy have also visited other high school campuses in recent weeks.
Rodarte said many of the students who have enrolled in the academy go on to receive other educational opportunities and college scholarships.
"What I admire most about the Subiendo Academy is that it really empowers students from under represented backgrounds," Rodarte said. Many of the students who attend the program are the first in their family to attend college.
About a dozen students from Riverside attended Rodarte's presentation Tuesday with hopes of applying and getting accepted to the program.
"I know it's important to start getting ready for college by going to summer workshops so you can be prepared for what's coming," said Anthony Chacon, a junior at Riverside.
Students who are selected will be flown to Austin at no cost, in fact, the entire camp is paid for by UT-Austin in partnership with private donors, the McCombs School of Business and Southwest Airlines.
The students will get to stay at the dorms on campus and will get three meals everyday including snacks.
"Students and families do not have to pay anything out of pocket," Rodarte said.
Rodarte used to work for the admissions office at UT-Austin and knows how important it is for students to build their resume for college applications.
To have programs like Subiendo Academy, Rodarte said it shows colleges that a student was able to challenge themselves over the summer and work to be a leader.
"It will help you stand out from other applicants at various universities."
The program is open to any high school junior in Texas. To apply, students must fill out an online application, submit two essays, a transcript and a letter of recommendation.
The deadline to apply is January 31 and students are expected to find out by March if they are accepted.
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