Austin Witt
Stamps Forty Acres Scholarship, supported by Ellen and Ray Clark
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2022
Mineola, TX
High School
Mineola High School

My whole world and all its questions slow to a curious halt when I introduce myself to people, when I attempt to offer insight into who I am, what I am like, and what I desire. The conflict of the moment fascinates me. Despite having every reason to believe that my attempts at self-awareness are fatally-nearsighted, I rarely feel incorrect in the grand skein of self-interpretation, discovering what I am like with the certitude of a realist rather than the incredulity of a postmodernist. 

This and many curious flames like it have revealed to me that I exist at UT to study and understand the way people understand themselves. It is my belief that one’s self-understanding is the single most expensive possession able to be had, yet too often I find myself and the people around me contaminating it with poor information. Therefore, I have a vision for a world where we people can understand themselves accurately, where we not only have truthful information but also the proper tools to carefully receive that information into how we conceptualize ourselves. 

For years, I developed this vision through devoted mentorship, one of my greatest privileges in the world. From a young age, wise men and women asked me hard questions about myself in one-on-one settings where I learned just how complicated, interesting, and critical it is for me to understand who I am. Now, however, I get to to undergird and reshape my understanding of people by studying the scientific, empirical foundations psychology at UT Austin. I furthermore hope to continue this study in grad school, and of course, a lifelong commitment to discerning the truth of who I am.

Philosophy; Psychology

Honors Program
Liberal Arts Honors

Other Academic Interests
Theology, Addiction, Personality, Anxiety and mood disorders

Extracurricular Activities
Research Assistant in the Anxiety and Health Behaviors Lab; Providence Austin; The Gathering ATX Leadership Team; Founding Leadership for GenU

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program? 
Study for the degree, pay off the debt. Growing up in a small town, approaching my future with a narrow mind felt natural, but applying to the Forty Acres Scholars Program charged me with more enterprising, exploratory aspirations. It refined my perception of the “unrealistic,” romantic opportunities of college into a new, feasible cast. For example, this program appraises global engagement as so essential it is individually subsidized. This program assembles cohorts that are diverse in multiple meaningful versions of the word. This program provides an invested network of connections and advisors, which, to me, meant that the large size of the university did not have to deter me from thinking big. Realizing one’s capacity for greater responsibility and burden is one of the best self-reinventions one can undertake. The Forty Acres Scholars Program ensures this for its scholars. I wanted the full ride, and I really wanted the challenge.