Bernier, Hannah
Hannah Bernier
Stamps Forty Acres Scholarship, supported by Glenn and Sally Goss
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2022
Hometown
Scottsdale, AZ
High School
Desert Mountain High School

As a kid who grew up in the Sonoran Desert, I am no stranger to paths. The trails winding from my neighborhood into the mountains were my playground, and it’s no surprise that many of my beliefs and perspectives have been shaped by the desert.

If my life up until this point has taught me anything it is to consistently and joyfully practice relentless curiosity: to take any interesting topic and pursue it until I overflow with information and passion. As a child, my relentless curiosity took the form of mountain bike racing, mushroom hunting, and marveling at the geologic history of my home state, Arizona. My love of nature and interest in its intricacies led me to major in Biology with a focus on Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior.

In college, I took environmental science and Spanish classes to deepen my understanding of the natural world and how we communicate with one another, two topics with more overlap than may first appear. It is in communicating with each other that we identify what matters to us as individuals and as a society. I hope to use and develop my Spanish and Portuguese skills to address environmental issues that span the globe.
In one of my favorite books, When Women Were Birds, Terry Tempest Williams states, “When women were birds...to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.”

To me, this celebration includes cherishing meaningful connections between people, finding awe in the natural world, and advocating for issues that affect humanity and the environment. To continue this celebration and exploration at UT Austin is a great thrill and honor. 

Major 
Biology

Other Academic Interests
Spanish, Portuguese, Ecology

Extracurricular Activities
Rock Climbing, Campus Environmental Center

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program?
As an out-of-state student, many people have asked me “Why Texas?” And the reason that is always at the forefront of my mind is the Texan sense of community that I felt from the moment I arrived at the Austin airport to my introduction to the Forty Acres Scholars Program. Every person I have met who is involved in this program is passionate, warm, and welcoming. This group is unique and interesting while still celebrating the successes of others. I looked at those who surrounded me at the Finalist Weekend–students, scholars, staff, and Texas Exes members–and thought, “These are the people who I want to learn from and to grow with.” And it’s a wonderful privilege and joy to get to do just that!