Criswell, Abby
Abby Criswell
Bransford Trust Forty Acres Scholarship
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2022
Hometown
Austin, TX
High School
Westlake High School

I think I always knew I’d become a Longhorn. I don’t know what gave it away: that I once had a birthday party at the Union Underground bowling alley or the fact that I’ve owned a burnt orange Rose Bowl shirt since I was five. I’ve lived in Austin my whole life (okay, I moved here when I was two, but close enough) and honestly, I love this city. I am thrilled to spend the next four years of my life here, exploring everything that makes Austin and The University of Texas so unique. You might run into me at Quack’s Bakery (the cookies there are out of this world!) or on the Hike and Bike Trail just taking in the sunrise. I am undeniably curious about the world. I’ve devoted countless hours to translating Latin texts about ancient government and society. I’ve poured over articles describing new findings in epigenetics and gene editing. I spent a summer working as an intern for NASA carrying out a computational analysis of data from orbital satellites. Choosing a major was, to say the least, difficult. In the end, I decided to follow my heart and pursue a field that I have fallen in love with -- computer science -- and one that will empower me to help others -- medicine. I am particularly excited to start exploring the intersection of computational biology and machine learning. I believe that research and innovation in this area will have an incredible impact on the accessibility of healthcare. 

Majors
Biochemistry; Computer Science

Honors Program
Turing Scholars

Other Academic Interests
Medicine and Language

Extracurricular Activities
Freshman Research Initiative

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program? 
I was drawn to the Forty Acres Scholars Program by the promise of community and a unique college experience. After first hearing about the program, I began to imagine being a part of this cohort of intelligent, ambitious students. There is something profound about being surrounded by people you admire. As a scholar I look up to so many people in the FASP community: my cohort, older scholars, staff and alumni. Constantly, I am inspired by the overwhelming compassion, vision, and fervor of my fellow scholars. I can’t believe in four years our cohort will take a trip abroad together. Our adventures in Austin have already been amazingly fun and truly eye-opening. As I have gotten to know my fellow scholars I’ve realized that we all have different backgrounds, dreams, and passions, but we share a vision of a better tomorrow, one that we are enthusiastically starting to work towards today. I believe our cohort embodies the maxim “be the change you wish to see in the world.” I am inspired by my cohort to take action and make change, and to ceaselessly pursue my dreams. I can’t wait to see where college and life takes us.