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Celebrating the Class of 2016: Heather Caudle

By Jessica Sinn

Image of student Major: Government, College of Liberal Arts

Activities: Gateway Scholars, Maymester in Beijing, Summer Bridge, LCCE-Austin City Hall Fellows, Kuhn Scholars, Intellectual Entrepreneurship Pre-Graduate School Internship Program

Prepped for success…Inspired by her team of advisors and mentors in the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE), Caudle wants to launch her own academic success programs for college students. Based on her own experiences, she knows that these programs really make a difference for students like herself who will be the first in their families to earn a college degree. “I’m very interested in student success initiatives. When I joined Summer Bridge as a freshman, I formed strong bonds with some wonderful people in the LCAE who have guided me throughout my college career.”

image of student A trip to remember…As a Gateway Scholar, Caudle embarked on her first overseas adventure. After making a stop in Dubai, she spent a month in Beijing where she studied China’s social entrepreneurial landscape. “It was a very transformative trip. My experiences working with migrant children at the Dandelion School solidified my decision to work in the education system.”

A glimpse into the future…While working with her professors and mentors, Caudle gained confidence in her ability to create and implement academic programming. Of all the role models she encountered, she is most inspired by Dr. Suchitra Gururaj, who leads several service learning programs within the Longhorn Center for Community Engagement.  “Dr. Gururaj showed me what it’s like to be a woman in this profession.  She helped me trust the process, meaning trust the people you’ll be serving will trust you.”

Horsing around…In addition to her academic accomplishments Caudle is a world champion equestrian. Growing up on a horse farm in Mont Belvieu, she polished her skills in horse showmanship and worked with livestock in the Future Farmers of America program.  Although she could’ve pursued a career in the equestrian world, she’s happy she took the college route and discovered her niche in higher education.

image of student Life after college…Soon Caudle will head east to pursue her graduate studies at Pennsylvania University. Whether or not she’ll set down roots in her new home, that remains to be seen. What matters is that she finds fulfillment in her career. “Someone once told me that it doesn’t matter where you live if you’re pursuing your passions. As long as my work is rewarding and I’m making a difference for myself and others, I can live just about anywhere.”