Dean's Scholars | From The Archives

From The Archives


hile every year we change as one group of Dean’s Scholars graduate and another matriculate, our traditions have remained the same over the past few decades. Below are some essays, written by graduated DSers, that beautifully describe some of the traditions and activities we’ve held onto for so long and continue to this day.

To really bring home the nostalgia, here’s a pic of the Dean’s Scholars class from 1994:

Excuse the bad photoshop (someone 20 years ago did it, not us).

Port Aransas

  On Friday, May 25th, I leisurely walked to my room, leisurely packed my belongings into a nearby duffel bag laying on the ground, checked my clock, freaked out and ran to the bus. Thankfully, the Deans Scholars are nicer than I am punctual or else I would have missed the best weekend of college so far.
  As one of the newest Dsers, I was a bit worried about the trip and so I did my research beforehand. I knew that the trip was an annual adventure for the Deans Scholars, I knew that we were going to learn about the marine biology research conducted at the UT Port Aransas research station. I knew that we were staying in the dorms at the research station and that the bus-ride was about four hours long and I knew that we were spending the morning on the boat and the rest of the weekend on the beach. However, something that bugged me was that I didn’t know where to sit (which is a huge problem when first stepping on to a bus). Thankfully, one of the kind upper-classmen (who is actually an upper-classwoman) offerred me a clementine, which gave me an easy solution: sit next to the nice girl with the clementines (which is a rule that I recommend following always).
  As the bus took off I introduced myself and got to know many of the people around me. Fortunately, I happened to sit in the middle of many of the upper-classmen. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my under-class compadres, however, being someone whose class conflicts with Friday lunches, I had never received the opportunity to get to know the older Dsers and so this bus-ride was really special in that regard.
  Throughout the weekend I continued to fraternize with both the old and the new Deans scholars, on the boat ride, at lunch, at dinner (at the Crazy Cajun with the crazy old guy playing at least four intruments at once), on the beach and just around the town in general. I really enjoyed being able to explore the town (because Port A. is a really cool place) but also being able to sit down for a sea-food dinner and talk about research. I really learned a ton on the trip and changed the way I perceived research.
  To sum it all up the Port Aransas trip was very similar to college as a whole in the sense that you go somewhere fun, you learn something new and you meet a ton of great people.
  -Patrick Hunt

Port Aransas

  It’s spring…the birds are chirping, everything is in bloom, and DS just took our annual trip to UT’s Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. For those who aren’t familiar with the trip, we load up a charter bus on Friday afternoon with more snacks than you can possibly imagine, watch terrible movies on the bus, show up at the dorms late at night, then immediately go to the beach and “proceed to act like infants,” according to Dr. Cline.
  The next morning, while some of us checked out this massive washed ashore jellyfish, we ventured out onto a jetty (also called a pile of algae covered rocks) where Dr. Hillis gave a quick lesson on marine zoology. The next morning we went out on a boat and managed to find dolphins, collecting plankton, larger fish and squid. I spent the majority of the rest of the day hanging out at the beach with friends.
  Then it was Crazy Cajun time! The Crazy Cajun is everything you would expect from a cajun restaurant and more- Saturday nights they have live music. Just about everyone got the hungry Cajun, which is a massive pile of potatoes, corn and crustaceans that you eat on paper. The same guy serenades us with sea shanties and ballads each year, and this year he had a partner. They play all the standard instruments for Cajun music: guitar, fiddle, and euphonium.
  I had so much fun. I got to hang out with friends I’ve had since I was a freshman, relax at the beach, and meet some new DSers. The trip was a blast!
  -Eileen Martin


  Patrons of this website have by now noticed the importance that we Dean’s Scholars have assigned to our social events. Do not be fooled, dear reader, for we still recognize that our time is best spent studying proteins and protons in the comfort of Welch and RLM. But here you have seen that we are still quite capable of enjoying simple pleasures such as the unadulterated night sky at Fort Davis, a gentle boat ride along Port Aransas, or Zack Liu’s sweaty body tackling your face into a solid block of ice during a casual game of broomball. Yet of all the gatherings that we have over the year, Musicale has always been my personal favorite. It’s events like these that really showcase the multifaceted personalities that normally are concealed beneath our nerdy facades.
  Held yearly at the house of mathemagician Mike Starbird, the Musicale is a humble gathering of people forced to give up their artistic inclinations in order to pursue a life of academic endeavor. To most of us, it is a chance to sit back and enjoy the show that our fellow Scholars have prepared for us. Those of us who perform, however, anxiously look forward to Musicale as the single opportunity of the year to clear the cobwebs out of that part of our brain we put aside for music, poetry, dance, and – every once in a while – some much needed stand-up comedy.
  Each year, Dr. Starbird gets us warmed up with a brief, pleasant tune on his vintage Steinway grand piano. Then, one by one, our friends and peers astound us with their talent: veteran pianists play devilishly difficult pieces with the grace of professionals; poets touch the hiddenmost corners of our souls despite a grossly excessive use of mathematical puns. Amateurs like Miles and myself sing songs that’ve been practiced for a whole week while others sing songs they’ve practiced for a whole hour. Council performs a rigorously choreographed dance that would be embarrassing in any other setting but not here, dear reader, oh no! not us… we get it.
  I remember the first time I performed at musicale, when the only person in DS I knew was Pat Lawlor and the only song I knew how to play was the three-chord Raspberry Beret by Prince. The applause following the act just before mine mellowed down as my nerves fired up, my fingers tingled with the numbness as they always do whenever I am about to play for an audience. I wondered for a moment what would happen if I made a mistake, if I forgot that line about horses or which of the three chords came next. But then something amazing happened: I realized that the expectations everyone held for my performance were virtually nonexistant without the risk of repercussion for musical error, I had the freedom to sing from my heart.
  Play as I may, I knew that the Dean’s Scholars would understand the intention behind the song. As Dr. Cline reminds us every year, talent is a sufficient but not necessary condition for performing and I cannot imagine a venue where that is more true. As I adjusted the seat and hunched over the piano, a serene quiet came over the room as the blood rushed back into my fingers and the smile crept back onto my face. Before I knew it, I was working part time in a five-and-dime and my boss was Mr. Magee.
  The show usually ends with Dr. Cline playing a rich drum solo (I hesitate to say what kind in fear of offending him) that never seems to last long enough. This year, however, Dr. Cline gave us a display of affection for his lovely wife by reciting Tennyson, reminding us that he is much more than our program director, he is the father figure that ties together our dysfunctional little family. And then, in the true act of fraternization that characterizes every DS event, we rapaciously ate everything in sight as we congratulated each other on a job well done.
  -Mauro Caffarelli


  With the abundance of e-mails sent out by Dr. Cline about the 26th DS musicale, I decided I’d go check it out. Considering Dr. Cline’s statement that talent was a sufficient but not necessary condition for performance, I decided I couldn’t really limit the possibilities of talents (or non-talents) with a strict set of expectations. The annual DS musicale is an opportunity for DSers to break away from their academically oriented lives and show off their many brilliant talents to fellow Scholars.
  When Zack sent out e-mails requesting cooking helpers for the DS musicale/talent show, I thought it would be a great opportunity to become a part of the DS cooking team and, being a freshman, get to know some fellow Scholars. We got to Dr. Starbird’s beautiful home four hours before the musicale started to prepare food. I was a little wary after signing up to cook, worrying I might burn the house down or cut myself in my incredibly clumsiness. Fortunately, I was kept away from fires and any extensive cutting or exposure to large knives. Instead, I found myself peeling fruit and tearing up chicken (things I could do without injuring myself or others), while other people chopped fruit, worked on making a variety of salads, and artistically arranged tasty pastries. Everyone was eager to help, working so efficiently that we finished early.
  Finally, performers and audience arrived, and the musicale was officially underway. I was blown away. Musical and literary talents galore! While I had expected classical pianists and string ensembles, I was truly astounded by the extent of talent in DS. A string quartet ran through a few pieces with grace, and skillful pianists flew through complicated compositions (including a piece by Korean pianist Yiruma!). Singers showcased their wonderful voices, informing the audience of their one-week or shorter practice times, while poetry flaunted non-musical talents. The DS council performed a modified version of Sweet Caroline for our beloved sweet Dr. Cline, while swaying in sync and throwing in some dance-like motions. Throughout the night, I watched as musicians bonded through their shared talents and DSers forged friendships with fellow science lovers, all while enjoying the wide array of foods prepped by the helpers.
  Like all DS activities, the musicale is the perfect opportunity to have tons of fun while getting to know some pretty amazing people.
  -Maria Yu

Holiday Dinner

  The DS holiday dinner is one of those nifty things that you kind of take for granted. Matthew asked me to write about it, and I put it off because, well, it happens every year, I wore a silly hat and ate a lot while some people watched football and then made nice music, and then I cleaned the stove.
  And yet, you know, this is one of those really special things that very few people – college students included – will get to experience. You’re at a professor’s house, for one thing! A particularly nice house, at that – I mean, jeez, if I were Dr. Cline, we would be sitting on the bare tile floor in a heap with all my gorgeous furnishings safely locked away somewhere safe, like another voting district. We talk about Dr. Cline remodeling his house for us – jiminy crickets, think of the level of trust required for the first supper at all. A bunch of students – a demographic notable for discovering package ramen and why you should not microwave your silverware – cook, clean, and pile into all available crannies of this couple’s house. Thank you, Drs Cline and Rich: that is a pretty groovy thing to do.
  Also, all that food appears! Like magic! I won’t say much on this because I’m sure all of you have thought, at least once, about the sheer magnitude of this venture (at least long enough for your brain to go, OH GOSH, at least it is not me and go back to thinking about easy things, like organic chemistry or QWOP). Even though I try to do clean-up duty, doing a food shift earlier in the fall really made me understand and appreciate what happens at every dinner. I definitely recommend it. (PS, I’m not saying those of you who don’t volunteer at all are jerks, except seriously, not gonna lie, that’s kind of a jerk move and you should work on that.)
  Since I was on clean-up duty, and since I am an extreme cheapskate/food vulture/leftovers fan, my big thing this year was rounding up the leftovers. I apologize for the slight rant here, but: NEXT DS DINNER, TAKE SOME FOOD HOME. Do you know how much food we had left at the very, very end of clean-up, even after I had grabbed a full week in a half of food? Shelters are pretty iffy on cooked food, so the rest of it… justsat there. Welcome to college, free food is good. Welcome to life, wasted food is just gross.
  So, next time you’re at a DS dinner, forget that your carpool smelled like feet and that you have 13 finals and a lab report due the next week. You get free food and time with – so cliched, so true – some of the best people you’ll ever meet. It’s pretty sweet, and Dean’s Scholars truly spoils us all.
  -Betsy Lessels

DS Basketball

  Let me begin by saying that if you didn’t play DS basketball you should have and you definitely need to check it out next year. In addition to getting to wear awesome jerseys, every DS team did excellent this year. We had three teams (two men’s teams and a co-ed team) and all three of those teams finished with a record or 3-1 or better and were placed either first or second in their group. The way that intramural basketball is set up each team is placed in a group with five other teams and you move on to playoffs based off of your performance in group play. Unfortunately, all of our teams competed in the C league which means only the first place team from each group is advanced to playoffs so even though our co-ed finished 3-1 we did not advance to playoffs in that division. We did however advance both, yes BOTH, men’s teams to playoffs after they placing first and second in their groups. Yes, I did just say that you had to win your group to advance to playoffs, however, when the team that wins your group gets bumped up to the B league because they beat everyone by 50 points (cough, West Campus Connection, cough) the second place team gets to go to playoffs, swag. Our teams had an excellent run in the playoffs but eventually ran out of gas after playing three late games (10pm, 11pm, and 9pm) three nights in a row. Even though we were all disappointed that we didn’t make it to finals, everyone was able to take pride in the success that we had and the effort we made.
  Now, a bit about each team:
  The co-ed team, captained by Danny Marts, had an excellent season, we went 3-1 in group play and we had a couple of awesome games. First, our only loss was to an awesome team with an even more awesome name, the Black Mambas; we only lost that game by 14 points and the Black Mambas eventually went on to win the C league championship. We also won a super exciting game in the final second with some clutch free throw shooting from Melanie Molina to give us a 1-point victory. We closed out the group with two huge wins (we almost put up 100 on a team but decided to be nice).
  Our first men’s team finished the season as quarterfinalists, excuse me QUARTERFINALISTS, in the White division. This team was captained by both Greg Kritsky and Vincent Au, they did a spectacular job running the team and getting the team out of their group. Even though this team did not win their group, they were not deterred from making the most out of their trip to the playoffs. They made it all the way to the quarterfinals before losing an extremely close game to a team captained by a fellow DS’er who played for our other men’s team.
  Our second men’s team lost in the semifinals of the Orange league after a grueling three days of basketball. We had an excellent season which included a fantastic run through group play where we beat West Campus Connection (yes, the same team that got bumped up to the B league in the White Division, talk about bad luck) after playing our best game of the year in my opinion. We finished the group out strong and entered playoffs where we took care of business, played great basketball, and found ourselves in the semifinals. Even though everyone was tired (read exhausted) and we played possibly one of our worst games of the season, we only lost by three, 3, THREE points to the eventual champions who won the final game by nearly THIRTY points, 46-18.
  I would like to give a huge thank you to all you who came out to play for us, whether you showed up for only one game or then entire season you were all important to our success. I would also like to thank those who came out and cheered for us during playoffs, your support was greatly appreciated. Finally thank you to the seniors who played this year and contributed so much to our success, you will definitely be missed next year.
  If you are interested in playing next year look for my emails to the listserv, I’ll send one out soon to see who is staying in Austin for the summer so we can organize a weekly pick-up game. I will also be sending out an email in the fall next year so we can start practice a bit sooner, because of people graduating we are going to need to learn new offenses/defenses designed around being active defensively so it will be a fun year.
  -Preston Stolte

The Dean’s Brawlers

  Everyone should play football for DS because it’s the best sport. For our very first game last year, we played the World of Warcraft Club and everybody was pumped to finally play someone worse than us. We showed up a little early to practice, and noticed a few other guys across from us all in UT Rugby shirts and built like giants. As DS-sports-luck would have it, they were all on the rugby team and had ironically chosen their WOW name like some sort of athletic hipsters. We started on offense, picked up a first, and promptly when 3-and-out. Then they got the ball and started lateraling like freaking Stanford-Cal down the field. It was about as ugly as you would imagine, but we actually put up a pretty good fight considering the matchup.
  Winning or not, IM football has always been one of my favorite memories with DS. Our games were on Sunday afternoon this past season and we held optional practices on Wednesday evening (basically just pick-up games). Everyone would meet at Carother’s a bit early to carpool to the IM fields and warm up. There are only 4 games in a regular season, so it’s definitely not a big time commitment (unless we make playoffs lololol). We just happened to finish 0-4 last year, but not because we couldn’t win. We just needed more chances! We seriously almost won our last game.
  Because it’s just flag football, speed kills. If you can run or have good hands, even if you’ve never played football before, please sign up next season. If you’re very mobile and can throw the ball decently, you could be the savior of the Dean’s Brawlers. If you can’t do any of these things but want to have some fun, sign up. Think of the glory.
  -Miles Fontenot

DS Soccer

  When someone says honors society, the next thought that comes to mind usually isn’t awesome sports teams. But when it comes to making friends, having fun, getting some healthy competition, and (lets face it) procrastinating on homework, DS Soccer is one of the best things out there. The DS soccer team plays outdoor games in the fall and indoor in the spring, and no matter your skill level, everyone makes an impact on the team. We meet for games once a week during the season and occasionally hold a practice or two for fun.
  As a transfer into DS my sophomore year, getting involved seemed a little bit daunting, but after a game or two, I felt right at home. I’ve played on the DS soccer team for 3 seasons now and was captain this past semester, and it has been one of the best experiences I’ve had at UT so far. I’ve become friends with so many different people that I would have never run into otherwise. For me, soccer is the place where I can go to let out the stress of the week. Win or lose, everyone always leaves in a better mood than when we got there. Being captain has also made me realize how tough it is to get something like this organized. Getting enough people to show up all wearing the right color at the right time is a lot more difficult than it sounds! It made me realize how lucky I am to be part an honors society that works so hard to organize things like this, and I hope that everyone in DS appreciates all the opportunities that there are to get out and try something new. And despite being an honors society, our soccer team keeps getting better and last semester even made it to playoffs!
  I know that typically in these things, people pick a favorite moment to talk about, but there’s no one particular instant that can describe my experience on the DS Soccer team. So to someone looking at the season, I’d say that the memories you make are the only things that can really describe it. This season we:
  -Played a man down and didn’t lose the game
  -Employed for the first time the intimidation tactic of group stretching (yes, the other team did look scared, so it was a success)
  -Practiced at Clark Field (which was productive despite the fact that no one had a soccer ball for the first 15 minutes, and the only ball we had was pumped up with a car tire pump)
  -Gave out shotgun privileges for goals
  -Actually had organized warm ups
  -Had intimidating fencing sword discussions
  -Scrambled for players at the IM Fields (and uniforms for those players)
  -Went undefeated in regular bracket play
  -And most importantly, loved it all enough to keep practicing after season ended
  The DS Soccer is a great opportunity, but talking about it just isn’t enough to show how much it’s changed my outlook on things. Whether it was talking about programming on the way to the fields or lamenting the decline of orange slices and Capri sun as we grew up, every DS game was full of surprises, good times, and memories that I’ll keep forever.
  -Erin Beckman

Intramural Sports

  Growing up as an athlete, I was initially shocked by the lack of interest to play sports on part of our Dean’s Scholars. If you’ve even been to Friday Lunch, you’ve probably witnessed Dr. Cline’s surprise when someone announces a DS win in any sport. Jokes are often made that the only team we have a chance against is Asian Bible Study. Unfortunately, I think we actually lost against ABS, but sometimes having fun is more important than winning. After all, our motto on the back of our DS Athletics t-shirt is “We have nothing to lose except our games.”
  In case you don’t know much about the way intramural (IM) sports are organized at UT, which is probably most of you reading this right now, each sport is divided into A, B and C leagues. The best teams are in A, and the more recreational-oriented teams are in C. As we are DS, we participate in the C league. All teams in one league are then organized into brackets of 5 teams. Unfortunately, there is always that one team that crushes our dreams of making the playoffs. Also, opposing teams names can be deceiving, as our DS men’s hopes of winning a flag football game were shattered when they found out that a World of Warcraft Club was actually the UT men’s rugby team.
  This past fall, DS participated in men’s flag football, co-ed soccer, and co-ed volleyball. In past years, we also had a co-ed flag football team, but too few girls responded this year to register this team. The men came out of the season winless, but they fearlessly played each game until the mercy whistle rang across the field. The Dean’s Volleyballers had a more successful season, going 1 and 3. Our driven captain, Kelsey Temprine, made sure we practiced on Sundays to give our opponents a run for their money when it hit game-time. And indeed, we were true competitors on the v-ball court. After losing our first three games, we beat the Indian Students’ Association in two sets to close out our season with a win. Good thing we won’t, otherwise Kelsey may have given up all hope and quit DS (not really)!
  This spring, DS will play men’s and co-ed basketball, co-ed indoor soccer (which won their first playoff game last year!), co-ed softball, and co-ed water volleyball. If I’m not mistaken, co-ed basketball has won at least one game in each of its past three seasons. And as I do every year, I believe that we have a solid chance of making the playoffs. Disclaimer: If you are a girl and have ANY basketball skillz (dribbling a basketball is highly encouraged), you should come out and play on Thursday nights at 10 pm in Gregory gymnasium! While we like to have fun, people with a competitive nature and good sportsmanship are always welcome. If basketball isn’t your thing, you should consider playing H2O v-ball at Gregory’s beautiful outdoor pool, indoor soccer at Rec Sports or softball at the sprawling IM fields down Guadalupe (keep an eye out for future emails!). Playing sports is a great and healthy way to take your mind off of school and relieve stress, so I encourage you to come out and support DS by either playing or cheering on our IM teams!
  -Shirin Mortazavi