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From the College of Natural Sciences
Texas Science Stories that Wowed Us in 2021

Texas Science Stories that Wowed Us in 2021

While for many 2021 may have felt like it lasted a few years, it was in fact just 12 months—and University of Texas at Austin scientists and researchers managed to pack a ton of new discoveries into that time. From the furthest reaches of the cosmos to the depths of the ocean and from the tiniest microbes to the most massive black holes, research in Texas Science covered a lot of ground, as researchers pushed boundaries, answered big questions and offered solutions to the world's problems. Here are 16 examples of how UT Austin scientists, mathematicians and technologists used 2021 to usher in new knowledge and innovations to help change the world.

Eleven Faculty Members Honored with College Teaching Excellence Award

Eleven Faculty Members Honored with College Teaching Excellence Award

CNS teaching excellence award winners Aaron Zimmerman, Ann Thijs, Ariel Taylor, Ladia Hernandez, Shinko Harper, Keith Hawkins, Soo Hyun Yang, Sarah Abraham, Kathryn Dabbs, KyongJoo Hong and Fatima Varner

​The Teaching Excellence Award in the College of Natural Sciences seeks to promote and recognize outstanding teaching in the College of Natural Sciences by honoring faculty members who have had a positive influence on the educational experience of our students. In a year marked by having to adapt to teaching during a pandemic, each award winner went above and beyond to deliver their best in the classroom.

Natural Sciences Researchers Win President’s Award for Global Learning

Natural Sciences Researchers Win President’s Award for Global Learning

Members of the "Case for Connections" team in the UT President's Award for Global Learning.

Five teams with College of Natural Sciences students were honored this year with the President's Award for Global Learning, which aims to highlight innovative solutions to global problems and give interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students the opportunity to take those projects to international sites.

E-Cookbook Promotes Sustainable Food Sourcing and Raises Funds for Charity

E-Cookbook Promotes Sustainable Food Sourcing and Raises Funds for Charity

A team of 17 students from The University of Texas at Austin created a donation-based e-cookbook titled "A Taste of Austin Through the Lens of Sustainability" that showcases local restaurants and businesses focused on sustainability.

Meet the 2021 Dean's Honored Graduates

Meet the 2021 Dean's Honored Graduates

Each year, the College of Natural Sciences bestows its highest honors for graduating seniors on a select group of students. These students, known as Dean's Honored Graduates demonstrate excellence across multiple domains, achieving not only academically but in scientific research, independent intellectual pursuits, leadership, service, entrepreneurship and community building. Here are biographies of the 33 outstanding students selected by College of Natural Sciences faculty for this distinction in 2021.

Two CNS Faculty Receive President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Awards

Two CNS Faculty Receive President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Awards

Laura Lashinger (left) and Sally Ragsdale are recipients of the annual President's Associates Teaching Excellence Awards.

Laura Lashinger and Sally Ragsdale, two College of Natural Sciences faculty members, have been named recipients of the annual President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award for the 2020-2021 academic year. The award recognizes the university's educational innovators who demonstrate exceptional undergraduate teaching in the core curriculum, including signature courses, and engage with curriculum reform and educational innovation.

Black and Latinx Advocacy Council and CNS Announce Aspire Award Winners

Black and Latinx Advocacy Council and CNS Announce Aspire Award Winners

For more than a decade, the Aspire Awards have provided an occasion for faculty, staff and students to recognize undergraduate leaders in the College of Natural Sciences. The event celebrates undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in the sciences, recognizing their achievements in research, service and leadership. This year, 25 students were given Aspire awards in several categories. The event is a collaboration between the college's Office of Undergraduate Education and the student-led Black and Latinx Advocacy Council.

Nutrition Researchers Developing Digital Platform for Teachers

Nutrition Researchers Developing Digital Platform for Teachers

A group of University of Texas at Austin nutrition researchers and educators received a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas to create a digital platform empowering teachers to include nutrition and gardening lessons in outdoor settings in their curriculum. The premise is that when kids have a direct connection to fresh produce — planting vegetables, tending them and watching them grow — they are more likely to make healthy eating choices.

School Gardens Linked With Kids Eating More Vegetables

School Gardens Linked With Kids Eating More Vegetables

Getting children to eat their vegetables can seem like an insurmountable task, but nutrition researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found one way: school gardens and lessons on using what's grown in them.

20 Cool UT Science Stories from 2020 (Not about COVID-19)

20 Cool UT Science Stories from 2020 (Not about COVID-19)

University of Texas at Austin researchers have been instrumental in tracking the spread of the coronavirus, developing critical antibody treatments to save lives, developing diagnostics and creating the vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 that are currently being distributed around the world.