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Student spotlight: Julian Harlin
The first time Julian Harlin delivered a sermon in his church, he thought he was going to pass out.

I was very nervous. My family was there and had never heard me preach before, said Harlin, a junior at the University of Houston. My mom, my grandma, my dad, my big brother everybody came.

That was in November 2011 at Grace Community Fellowship, 4139 Kewanee, in the Sunnyside community. Since then, hes preached many more times, whether its at Grace Community or another congregation that needs someone to fill in.

Harlin, who has been a student worker in Student Housing and Residential Life for the past two years, grew up in Cedar Hill, a suburb of Dallas. He chose to attend the University of Houston after he and other students from his high school took a campus tour in 2009.

I fell in love with the campus. It was really nice. I liked the mix of people a perfect mix of everybody, he said.

He decided to pursue a double major in communications and marketing after spending much of his time in high school as the editor of his school newspaper and yearbook. He has since overhauled those plans and is now working to change his major to restaurant management, which will help him pursue his dream of opening his own restaurant.

It is definitely something that I want to do, said Harlin, whose cousin and her fiancee share the same dream. The three of them have plans to work together and be business partners.

Before that happens, Harlin wants to attend culinary school after graduating from UH. In the meantime, hes accruing plenty of cooking experience through a small catering service that he operates out of his church.

I love southern foods. My twist on the industry, though, is that when you think southern foods, you think really unhealthy foods. Im trying to get away from the deep-fried everything, he said. I want to create comfort foods everyone can enjoy without feeling bad about because they are so unhealthy.

As a student worker, he leads tours of the residential facilities, attends tabling events to promote residential living, and manages the departments social media accounts.

His outgoing personality not only lends itself for being a tour leader, it also pushed him down the path towards preaching.

I always have been an outgoing person and a good speaker. I knew something was different about me a long time ago, Harlin said.

His pastor at Grace Community also noticed and suggested he train with him. A year and a half later, he was preaching his first sermon.

I was born and raised in the church. My mom was so proud to see me up there. She had tears in her eyes, he said.