Sophia Guirola
Sophia Guirola
Martin Dies, Jr. Forty Acres Scholarship
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2020
Dallas, TX
High School
Highland Park High School

My life has always had dualities. Growing up in San Salvador, El Salvador, I spoke English with my American mom and Spanish with my Salvadoran dad. I lived there, but would visit Dallas every summer. Although they are very different places, both are my homes. The experiences I’ve had here and there have beautifully combined to guide me on a passionate path of learning about how we as humans interact with those different than us. Through my majors, I continuously explore the academia of international human-human interactions as well as human-environment interactions, and how they interconnect. My dream is to someday work with or in Latin American countries to establish socially-equitable and sustainable systems of agriculture, water supplies, and energy production. Catch me (hopefully) working with the World Bank or founding my own non-profit someday!

International Relations and Global Studies; Sustainability Studies

Honors Program
Liberal Arts Honors

Other Academic Interests
Minor in Portuguese

Extracurricular Activities
Community involvement has probably been the most defining feature of my time at UT. Since my first year on campus, I have been passionately involved with the Liberal Arts Refugee Alliance, connecting students to educational material and community service opportunities around Austin. My senior year, I had the pleasure of serving as the director. As a junior, I began my journey as an official campus tour guide through the Guides of Texas. Since my junior year, I have been honored to be part of the Texas Orange Jackets (UT's oldest honorary service and leadership organization for women and non-binary folk) and serve as the Settlement Home philanthropy director my senior year.  Throughout my time on campus, I was a research assistant with the Department of Government, helping professors gather and analyze information about the history and strength of democracy in Texas and Latin America. Around Austin, I have enjoyed working various internships with two law firms that focus on humanitarian cases and with Rainforest Partnership, a conservation nonprofit. 

Outside of community- and career-oriented activities, my favorite hobbies include taking long hikes at the various nature spots in Austin and cooking vegetarian meals to share with friends.

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program (FASP)?
Passion drew me to the Forty Acres Scholars Program. All I needed to know about this program was right here, on an older version of this very website. Scrolling through and reading about the world-changing ambitions Forty Acres Scholars have, along with my drive to challenge myself academically and surround myself with equally passionate people, made me realize without a doubt that I had to apply. The resources and care poured into this program have proven incredible. Just look at all the scholar bios!

What makes your scholar cohort unique?
The Class of 2020 cohort, being the largest one to date, is overflowing with unique personalities and interests.

Favorite FASP Memory 
The sophomore retreat at McKinney Falls State Park was so much fun! The cherry on top was staying at a farmhouse-style rental, cooking a (somewhat disastrous) meal in tiny ovens, and plowing through a seven-layer dessert bowl together.

What do you want prospective students to know about The University of Texas?
As I like to say to my tour guests: "you can always make a big university feel small, but you can't make a small university feel big." Corny, I know, but so incredibly true – there's so much to do, so many organizations to join, and so many interests to explore at UT that you'll never feel bored or trapped.