nanshu lu poses on campus

Five World-Changing Women at UT Austin

  • Mar 7, 2019

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all around the world. Today, we recognize the accomplishments of some of our female global leaders here at UT. These five inspiring women exemplify the very best of what we work to achieve at Texas Global by creating global connections, educating global leaders and impacting the world.

Diana Ayoub

B.A. '18 Economics and B.B.A. '18 Finance 

Since the first time she stepped foot on campus, we have been amazed by Diana Ayoub’s passion for leadership and bringing change to the international community at UT. Originally from Egypt, Ayoub was a recipient of the African Leadership Bridge Scholarship Program, a prestigious program which offers financial support to students from Africa for their studies at U.S. colleges. As a student, she was passionate about welcoming and mentoring other international students and often represented international students to University leaders. She founded the Texas International Students Association and chaired the International Students Agency in the Senate of College Councils. 

Ayoub graduated last spring with a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance. She currently works as a tax consultant for Deloitte. She aspires to improve education in Egypt so that many others in her home country could receive the same high-level education that she experienced here. 

"There is really a lot to make the most out of UT. It’s normal to be lost, so be that person who makes the most out of being lost,” she advised international students.

Read more of her story >>


Diana throws her graduation hat up in front of the UT tower


Nanshu Lu

Associate Professor
Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics

Dr. Nanshu Lu’s journey started in Chengdu, China. After graduating from Tsinghua University, a research university in Beijing widely regarded as the best in mainland China, she completed her Ph.D. at Harvard University. She continues to be an advocate for international students and scholars, recently visiting with leaders on behalf of NAFSA, the Association of International Educators.

At UT, her research focuses on “epidermal electronics,” which are metal designs applied directly to the skin, just like a temporary tattoo. The e-tattoos actually record and wirelessly transmit health data such as vital signs, brain activity and indications of disease or movement disorders.

In addition to her passion for revolutionizing healthcare, Lu also has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. “I tell my students that we are entrepreneurs,” she says. “Entrepreneurs create a new product under extremely limited resources and with a lot of uncertainty. That is what we do.” 

She is not only an inspiration to women in the STEM field, but she also demonstrates that what starts in a UT research lab can profoundly change the world.

Read more of her story >>

Nanshu Lu Holds up her research in her lab



Yenibel Ruiz Mirabal

M.A. '18 Journalism 
Ph.D. candidate in Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures

During her years in Austin, Venezuelan journalist Yenibel Ruiz Mirabal has accomplished so much, arriving first as an English Language Center student and later earning a Master’s degree in 2018 from UT’s renowned School of Journalism. As a graduate student, she was also a journalism teaching assistant and an assistant instructor in the Spanish and Portuguese department. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Iberian and Latin American Literatures and Cultures.

But Ruiz Mirabal made her mark in journalism even before she started graduate school. In Venezuela, she served as the managing producer for one of Venezuela’s major radio broadcasters and was in charge of the operation of 13 radio stations. She has a passion for covering migrants and people living near the borders. During her time as an English Language Center student, she volunteered for UT’s Knight Center for Journalism, a professional training and outreach program for journalists in Latin America.

Her self-determination and dedication to justice epitomize what makes The University of Texas at Austin an internationally acclaimed institution.  

Read more of her story >>

Yenibel Poses on the UT campus



Verashni Pillay

2018 Mandela Washington Fellow 

Award-winning South African journalist Verashni Pillay believes in the power of the press in keeping governments accountable. Journalism, for her, is “more of a calling and a passion than a career.” At a very young age, she had already been editor-in-chief of two major publications in South Africa. Pillay is currently working for Power 98.7, a private radio station, to develop new sustainable business models and find innovative ways to integrate technology in news. She believes these two are essential in making sure that information could be accessible to underserved communities in South Africa.

We were lucky to have her here at UT last summer. Pillay was one of a select group chosen to take part in the highly-competitive Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders and attended the Business and Entrepreneurship Institute run by Texas Global in collaboration with the McCombs School of Business. She came here with a business idea and returned home as an exceptional leader with a well-rounded knowledge of entrepreneurship. Her tenacity and commitment to improving democracy in Africa make her a great role model for all reporters.

“I really do believe in democracy,” she said. “I really do believe that journalism work is a crucial mechanism, one of the mechanisms of accountability that keeps democracy healthy."

Read more of her story >>

Verashni Poses on the UT campus



Kelsey Moreland

Education Abroad Global Ambassador

Kelsey Moreland has always had a passion for research. As a high school student, she participated in several research projects in different places, including NASA and a local OBGYN clinic. As a UT student, Moreland is involved in a Freshman Research Initiative. 

Currently studying abroad in Singapore, Kelsey Moreland is taking advantage of her year as an exchange student to participate in academic research at the National University of Singapore. Moreland, a genetics and genomics major, is participating in NUS’s undergraduate research opportunity program in science and is one of the first exchange students in NUS to do so. She is researching on population genetics on the Common Redshank bird. For her, spending a year abroad will propel her in her quest to pursue what she loves the most. 

“Not every university will have research groups in every research interest,” she wrote. "So why not study abroad at a university that does have that research topic you’ve been wanting to dabble in? You get to explore that topic of interest while gaining international experience.”

Through the Global Ambassadors program, Moreland was able to share her life-changing experiences on our study abroad blog. Her post about growing up mixed race and how being in Singapore gave her a new perspective particularly stood out to us, among several other thoughtful reflections.

Read about her research experience in Singapore on our study abroad blog >>

Kelsey poses on the UT campus