In our next installment of the #WhatStartsHere student-spotlight series, we’re introducing you to Cade Edwards, a radio-television-film senior who plans on making some big waves in the film industry. Read on to learn more about his journey here at UT Austin, and how he’s making the most out of his undergraduate experience as a Gateway Scholars mentor.
Time is on his side…When Edwards came to UT Austin, he realized that his daily routine needed some structure. Thanks to his peer mentors in the Gateway Scholars program, he gained some much needed time-management skills and quickly settled into his new life on the Forty Acres.
Rising and shining…Now as a Gateway Scholars mentor, Edwards is paying it forward to underclassmen who—like himself—need some help transitioning into college life. And though the tables have turned, every day is a learning experience. “I want to be a good influence on the students, so I have to show up on time to those early morning classes.”
Lessons learned…As part of the mentoring program, Edwards assists students in signature courses. Through their candid discussions about global and national issues, he’s gaining new insights and perspectives from a diverse range of voices. “They give me new ideas and make me a better leader. It’s a great experience to meet these 20 students every year.”
Cause for the alarm…Though it’s not easy getting up for those early morning classes, Edwards says he is no longer tempted to hit the snooze button. “I’m excited and motivated to go to discussion group and hear their opinions. It’s humbling when I hear some of them talk about their background and the struggles they’re going through.”
From the classroom to the board room…As a member of the executive board, Edwards recruits and interviews prospective mentors. Like any other professional-level job interview, applicants must give a presentation, demonstrating their skills, strengths and vision for the program. “It’s great to see all their ideas and how they would teach. In the Gateway community, I’ve learned so much about networking and public speaking.”
Living up to the hype…When Edwards is not in the classroom, he’s leading Texas Hype, a co-ed cheer squad created in 2015 that focuses on school spirit, kinship and service. He also helped raise money for the Dell Children’s Medical Center through Texas THON, an annual fund-raiser event that includes a 12-hour dance marathon at Gregory Gym.
Facing his fears…Best piece of advice? Face your fears. “At first, I was nervous about talking to a professor or applying for an internship. During my freshman year, I clung to my roommate and didn’t break out of my shell. Now I know that in order to get anywhere in life, we have to take risks, try new things, get out there and talk to people.”
Life after UT… After graduation, Edwards plans on working in the film industry here in Austin or perhaps Hollywood. No matter what the future may hold, he plans on staying in touch with all the people who touched his life in the Gateway Scholars program.
More about the Gateway Scholars program: One of the largest student success programs at UT Austin, Gateway Scholars helps students of all disciplines transition to and through college. The program’s offerings include peer mentoring, signature courses, study abroad opportunities, academic and professional workshops, free tutoring and more. Visit this website to learn more.