Student spotlight: Julian Harlin
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
That was in November 2011 at Grace Community Fellowship, 4139
Kewanee, in the Sunnyside community. Since then, he’s preached
many more times, whether it’s 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, he’s 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. I’m 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 department’s 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
“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.