Image courtesy of Subiendo Academy's Facebook page.
Subiendo Academy 2012.
Subiendo is a five-day summer program teaching rising leaders to solve real-world issues. The program was created to acknowledge the growing Hispanic population.
In order to find the rising leaders to address the needs of the next generation, the University of Texas at Austin brought aspiring high school senior students to the 40 Acres for a week-long leadership development experience.
Subiendo, meaning “climbing” or “going up”, is a five-day intensive summer program teaching rising leaders to solve real-world issues with today’s top political and business names. In its third year, the program brought together 78 high school seniors, of the 400 who applied, from around the state at no cost after an extensive application process.
The program was created to acknowledge the growing Hispanic population, which has become the largest and youngest minority in the U.S., with the hopes to empower the next generation of Texas leaders and “encourage them to pursue higher education and civic engagement in critical fields.”
“[The program] was on a much higher scale that I thought learning-wise,” said Deliza Ramirez, junior management major and program counselor. “These students do a policy project and a business simulation. They had to create a business in five hours. I did not do that till my junior year of college.”
Students attending the five-day program were expected to handle themselves in a professional manner. The groups made a trip to the Capitol where they presented their business ideas. Most attendees were in the top 25 percent of their high school class.
“All of the students had leadership qualities,” Ramirez said. “They all took initiative about finding solutions to real problems. All had something unique to bring to the table.”
The entire week's schedule was full. Students were required to be up at 8 a.m. and worked on projects until midnight.
“Each student was assigned to a topic such as education or immigration,” said Megan Phares, senior MPA major and program executive team leader. “They had to identify the main problem and be able to fix it. The students were able to think through the major issues of our time and learn how to work in groups to tackle the task in a way to better benefit our society.”
The high school students were accompanied by current UT students who applied to lead the program by becoming team leaders. Applicants must have been able to think of their toes, handle a crisis and manage stress as well as have high energy and tutoring experience.
“I have a passion for helping children. It seemed like a great way for me to do my part. I felt the program would be a great way for students from smaller cities to transition to college life,” Ramirez said.
Past program activities included an etiquette dinner, professional writing workshops, conversations with Texas State Legislators and ways to brand yourself online. Past speakers have included UT President William Powers and Texas Governor Rick Perry.
“We tried to implement new ideas into running the program smoothly,” Phares said. “This program is close to my heart and I love being able to help throughout the application process and preparing students to make the Academy the best it could possibly be.”
When students were not working on policy projects, they were able to enjoy what UT has to offers. Tours of the campus’ museums and the Texas Memorial Stadium were incorporated into the program’s busy schedule.
“I think it is important to let the students know that becoming a leader is not always grueling, there are good times and bad times,” Phares said.