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

At the start of my freshman spring semester I walked wide-eyed into a class that made significant historical moments into games. My classmates and I were able to explore the political dynamics of comparative democracies while we competed with differing governing philosophies. As we began discussing the nuances of political issues, it became clear that treating politics as a game, even in a classroom setting, erased the needs and interests of others.

As the academic year ended and I moved from the classroom to the office, I took this lesson to heart. Working with a state political party, it was easy to view my work as pieces in a game. However, as I was growing in my understanding of the true impact of rhetoric on people and their livelihoods, I was able to look at my work assignments with new eyes. Since my freshman year, I have gone through enormous personal growth. I am blessed that I have remained true to my passions, while I am also grateful that I see public policy and politics with new eyes that desire true change and meaningful impacts.

Major
Government

Honors Program
Liberal Arts Honors

Other Academic Interests
Arabic, Presidential History, Public Policy, Literature

Extracurricular Activities
Policy Intern with Austin City Councilmember Alison Alter, former Political Intern with the Texas Democratic Party, undergraduate research regarding the Arab Spring with Dr. Jeremi Suri, Kappa Delta Sorority Chaplain, Arabic Flagship Program, GenU Co-Founder, Ignite Texas, and Liberal Arts Honors Ambassador

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program? 
Before starting our freshman year, my cohort decided that we wanted to stay up and watch the sunrise. While our need to sleep and fear of rattlesnakes (ask Brian Chavez) sent us to bed before the sun came up, I’ll never forget the night we spent stargazing together at Camp Texas. Sitting with our cohort before we all started exploring our different paths and passions allowed us to bond and enter into The University of Texas with strong community. Having the opportunity to go deep with my cohort under the vast sky was such a unique experience that affirmed all of us in knowing that we would find a place for our genuine and true selves away from home.