Alumni from universities around the country gathered at the University of Texas last week to attend the U.S. Future Leaders Entrepreneurship and Innovation Seminar, the first State Department Topical Seminar to be held at UT.
Seventy-five alumni of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program connected at the two-day seminar and participated in events around Austin, including tours and trainings at innovative hubs such as Capital Factory and Google. Each activity combined professional skill strengthening with cultural awareness and leadership training, and connected scholars with a diverse network of U.S. leaders.
Roxanne Bower, a 2010 UT alumna and Gilman scholar who attended the seminar, said her years abroad in China, Germany and Spain changed her world view and introduced her to dozens of opportunities, like working at a Fortune 500 company.
“It’s quite an experience to live in a different culture and immerse yourself in one you’d never thought you’d be in,” Bower said. “Gilman allowed me to be explorative and be open to new ideas. (I’m) able to appreciate the differences.”
Teri Albrecht, interim executive director for Texas Global, welcomed the alumni to the university and emphasized Austin’s strong entrepreneurial culture during her opening remarks.
“This seminar will bring the opportunity for [alumni] to learn from each other and with each other,” Albrecht said. “It is also about creating a shared experience. Ideas are advanced by synergy and collaboration.”
The Gilman and CLS Programs are part of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, with funding provided by the U.S. Government. To learn more about the bureau’s programs and how its diverse alumni are entering into impactful careers in the government, non-profit, and private sectors, contact email@example.com and visit www.studyabroad.state.gov.
View photos from the event below.
Two alumnae pose with the Google logo before their tour of the Google site in downtown Austin.
Participants tour the Google building in downtown Austin.
Alumni return to UT Austin from a visit to Google in downtown Austin, where they learned from Google's digital coaches about how entrepreneurship and innovation are critical pieces of professional development in growing technological world.
Four Gilman and CLS alumni work together to develop out-of-the-box solutions to unusual problems, like McDonald's running out of honey mustard, with instructors from 3 Day Startup.
An alumna presents her elevator pitch for a startup idea to conference attendees. The alumni developed one-minute pitches with 3 Day Startup instructors to strengthen their entrepreneurial thinking.
The seminar group plays the name game—clapping at each person in the circle while saying their name—to get to know each other on the first day of the conference.
Program participants work together to come up with inventive solutions to unusual problems.
An alumna presents her elevator pitch for a startup idea.
Mitch Jacobson, Executive Director of Austin Technology Incubator and Director of Blackstone Launchpad at UT Austin, engages with scholars about how to approach their professional development with an entrepreneurial mindset.