Introducing our HookedIn Spotlight Series! More than 20,000 Longhorns log onto the world’s largest burnt orange social network, and these Longhorns deserve recognition. Ian McKenna is a sophomore civil engineering student from Austin; HookedIn mentee; and uses HookedIn for career advice, networking and investing in the future. We asked Ian to answer a few questions about his time at UT and more.
What’s your Twitter bio?
Ian McKenna– @ianmckenna2004
Youth Hunger Advocate, Katie’s Krops Grower, NKH Youth Ambassador, UT Austin ’25, Time Kid of the Year Top 5, TFK Reporter, Master Gardener & WX Nerd
How does HookedIn help you on your career path?
HookedIn has been extremely helpful over the past year and participating in the pilot mentorship program has been amazing. My mentor gave me great advice and was also available to help me with an extra study session whenever I needed it. I’ve learned so much in the short time I’ve been on HookedIn and can’t wait to see what the future holds.
What is your motto?
My motto is “Be a good human” because I believe we should always be the best versions of ourselves. The world needs more positivity and the best way to achieve that is always to be a good person.
What is your best memory from UT?
My favorite memory from UT was actually in 2016, long before I even applied to be a Longhorn. I was invited to attend my very first UT Football games and thanks to a generous sponsor I was able to step onto the pitch and meet Bevo before the game.
Who are your heroes?
My heroes are my mother and David Yeomans, KXAN’s Chief Meteorologist. My mom raised me and my younger brother on her own, and she was always supportive, taught me how to stand up for myself, and encouraged me to be my best self. David Yeomans started guiding me when I was very young and instilled in me a passion for science. Thanks to him, I learned a lot about weather and climate change and I hope to be able to use green technology in the projects I work on in the future.
You have 24 hours to eat at any restaurant that has ever existed in Austin, where do you go?
I would probably pick a place I went to a lot as a kid and that would be Cannoli Joe’s. I remember how many times my family and I went there. It was an Italian inspired buffet, and I loved the pasta and the fried calamari. This place has so many fun memories and I was so sad when it closed.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
When I was 8 years old, I learned that one in four classmates depended on the school meals program. This inspired me to start my donation gardening program, where I grow and donate produce to the community to help alleviate hunger. I have donated over 23,000 pounds of organic produce to the Austin community.
Are you involved in student organizations on campus? If so, how does this affect your experience?
Yes, I have participated in a few student organizations on campus. One program that had a significant impact for me was participating in the Longhorn TIES program, which helps support students with autism. During a particularly stressful week, I took some time off from my studies to attend a session, and I was so glad I did. I really need this time to decompress and relax. I was so refreshed afterwards and realized that sometimes I need to take a break even though I don’t think I do.
Have you ever changed majors?
From a very young age, I have always been fascinated by engineering. I remember I was fascinated by roller coasters and their functions, and I wanted to learn more. I don’t think I will ever change specialization because civil engineering is what I like.
What are the essential items in your backpack?
The essentials in my backpack are my laptop, tablet, notebook, pencils, calculator, reusable water bottle, and hot sauce.
Where is your favorite place to study?
My favorite place to study is on the PCL campus. I love using the quiet rooms we can book in this library.
Connect with Ian and other Longhorns on Hungthe official University of Texas networking platform.