The Pulitzer Prize Winner

Michael Ainsworth

"If you show passion for the assignment, it shows in your photographs."

Michael Ainsworth shared a Pulitzer Prize for his breaking news photography of Hurricane Katrina, and he didn’t stop there. Ainsworth still lives for the daily grind and does it the best he can. Ainsworth doesn’t just take pictures, he crystalizes a moment, an emotion. He captures life with a click.

The Olympic Medalist

Leo Manzano

"Something magical happened, and we brought it home."

Leo Manzano’s acceptance speech for Competitor.com’s 2012 Running Performance of the Year award was short and characteristically humble: before commenting on his own achievement, Manzano first saluted Jim Ryun, who earned the U.S. its last silver medal in the 1500-meter competition in 1968. When Manzano, UT Austin’s most-decorated track and field athlete, isn’t training for the next Olympic games, he gives generously with his time, such as teaming with the Texas Heart Institute to teach children about heart health.

The Wonder Woman

Diana Natalicio, Ph.D.

"Our UTEP students’ stellar achievements prove that talent is found in all ZIP codes."

If you listen to Diana Natalicio’s message, what you hear is the language of high expectations. She has helped UTEP shake off its “pervasive inferiority complex” and become a national success story. But her work isn’t finished. As she celebrates her 25th anniversary as UTEP’s president and the University prepares for its 100th anniversary in 2014, she is confident that UTEP will soon become the first national research university with a 21st century student demographic.

The Mars Explorer

Michael Watkins, Ph.D.

"I enjoy the excitement of developing a mission, getting it ready to go and then flying it."

His feet may be on the ground, but his head is definitely on another planet. For the Mars mission, Dr. Watkins’ team provided trajectory design, navigation design, mission operations, Entry Descent and Landing trajectory targeting, and the Mars surface operations of the Curiosity rover. Which means: Dr. Watkins tells the Mars Rover how to go, when to go, and where to go as it navigates the Martian planet.

Moderated by Evan Smith, CEO and editor-in-chief, The Texas Tribune.

The Musical Ambassadors

The music of the mariachi is Texas heritage in song. Your afternoon will be punctuated with performances by the award-winning Mariachi Aztlán, the pride of the University of Texas Pan American. Mariachi Aztlán is one of the most honored musical groups in South Texas and travels nationwide to promote Mexican folk music and culture.