Jillian Smith
Friends of Darrell K Royal Forty Acres Scholarship
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2022
Hometown
Frisco, TX
High School
Frisco High School

My dad introduced me to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart one night, so that I would understand his abundance of Arby’s jokes. Thirty minutes later, I felt like I discovered a new passion. Growing up, I always loved my history classes and longed to live in a significant era of social and political change. As I began to learn more about politics through political satire and news coverage, I realized that there is a way to play a part in major historical movements without praying for a time machine. Under the mentorship of a hometown city councilwoman, I learned what a position in the government entails as well as the differences between politics and policy. Through this, I realized how politics distracts people from the specifics of the laws and how they impact the public. This sparked my desire to dedicate my studies and work toward meaningful and lasting societal change through legislation. I hope that over the next four years I explore how I can serve the people around me through government. Who knew that a joke could lead me to my passion!

Major:

Government

Other Academic Interests:

Public Policy, National Security, Education Reform, Arabic, Philosophy

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program?

When I first arrived for Finalist Weekend, I expected the days to be incredibly serious in preparation for the interviews. Instead of spending my first night in Austin talking about my resume, though, I listened to Broadway musical soundtracks on full volume with a current scholar and other finalists. We laughed about how we could not sing as high as Kristen Chenoweth, we went hiking in our high heels, and most of all, we had fun with each other. The Forty Acres Scholars Program stood out to me among all other programs I applied to because it was more than a collection of students focused on academics and internships. The moment I met current scholars and those who are now in my cohort I knew that there was something special about this program. What I expected to be a high-stress and intense weekend, was actually one of the best weekends of the year for me because I met people who love what they do. The Forty Acres Scholars Program fosters an environment where students of diverse interests can all come together and support each other in the pursuit of their passions. This supportive nature made me feel instantly I had found my new home.