Two Texas High School Student Accepted Into Select Youth Leadership Institute

Houston and Katy, Texas, represented at Lilly Endowed Youth Becoming Leaders Event

WILMORE, Ky. — Directors of the Youth Becoming Leaders Institute (YBL) have announced that Tomaz Diaz of Houston and Elise Hughes from Katy, Texas have been chosen (out of just 25 students from across the U.S.) into the selective, two-week, residential institute to be held June 4-15 at Asbury University.

Diaz is a junior from Lamar High School who attends St. Luke’s UMC and Hughes is a junior from Cinco Ranch High School and attends Grace Fellowship UMC.

In partnership with the Lilly Endowment, which offered Asbury a $600,000 grant through its high school Youth Theology Institutes initiative, YBL is open to select high school students who are committed to Christ, leaders in their local communities, academically gifted and interested in exploring a call to ministry.

Dr. Brian Hull, professor of Youth Ministry at Asbury and project director for YBL, says the camp is an expression of Asbury’s confidence in the value of youth leadership, as well as a much-needed opportunity for hands-on leadership training.

“One of the things we know from research is that students who have opportunities to lead when they’re young step into those roles sooner as adults,” Hull said. “Asbury has a long tradition of believing in young people, and in a world that often doesn’t, it’s important that we stand in that belief.”

Alongside faculty mentors from Asbury University and Asbury Theological Seminary (plus visiting elders, missionaries, pastors and speakers), students will examine faith and the role of the church in global issues. Faculty will lead students through materials and research methods while grounding coursework in real-world leadership applications.

On the last day of the event, students will complete a session with a mentor— either a pastor or another Christian leader — from their home community. After YBL is over, students will continue to implement what they’ve learned with some homework: a ministry project with their mentor.

“It’s pretty obvious that the world needs better leaders, and the church needs better leaders,” Hull said. “YBL is a way for Asbury to partner with the local church, helping raise up young people who are equipped to lead — not sometime far off in the future, but today.”

For more information about YBL, visit or reach out to Dr. Hull at

With a commitment to academic excellence and spiritual vitality, Asbury University encourages more than 1,900 students to study, worship and serve together on a campus located 10 miles southwest of Lexington in Wilmore, Ky.

Students come from across the U.S. and nearly 20 foreign nations, and more than 80 percent of the University’s students live on campus.Undergraduate, graduate, degree-completion and high school dual-enrollment classes are taught by experienced scholars, 80 percent of whom hold terminal degrees in their field of study.

More than 22,000 living alumni of the University surround the globe, leading and serving in all 50 states and at least 80 nations.