Chancellor McRaven selects five finalists for student regent position

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UT System Chancellor William McRaven has selected five finalists for the UT System Board of Regents student regent position, according to information obtained by The Daily Texan through the Texas Public Information Act.

The student regent, who will ultimately be selected by Gov. Greg Abbott, holds a nonvoting position on the UT System Board of Regents for a term that lasts a year. Though the two most recent student regents attended UT-Austin, none of the current finalists attend the University. McRaven recently sent his finalist selections to Abbott, who will choose the student regent before his or her term begins in June.

The five remaining applicants, according to the information obtained by the Texan, are Justin Drake, Ph.D. student in biochemistry and molecular biology at the UT Medical Branch at Galveston; Russell Hannigan, mathematics junior at UT-Dallas; Erika Long, advertising and public relations senior at UT-Arlington; Laura Santibanez, Ph.D. student in nursing at the UT Health Science Center–Houston; and Jefferson Schilder, global affairs junior at UT-San Antonio.

All five applicants emphasized different areas of focus in their application.

Drake is running on the basis of improving online education initiatives in the UT System, increasing collaboration between the UT branches and placing a focus on learning professional skills.

In Hannigan’s application, he said he hopes the UT System allocates more resources toward mental health initiatives, student safety and international student support.

Long said she would like the UT System to improve experiences for distant learners, provide better health services generally and provide increased financial aid for students and financial support for student organizations.

Santibanez stated in her application that she wants to help the UT System foster collaboration between branches, implement financial plans for the long-term development of health-care projects and support research, collaboration and commercialization of products from the branches.

Schilder said he hopes the UT System will improve veteran support systems, make campuses more accessible for students with disabilities, raise graduation rates and promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.  

The current UT System student regent, Max Richards, a government senior at UT-Austin, will leave his position at the beginning of June.