Melissa Porras Paniagua
Sylvie and Gary Crum Forty Acres Scholarship
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2022
Spring, TX
High School
Klein Oak High School


Growing up, I never felt there was a place I could call “home.” My peripatetic childhood was marked with moving boxes and countless trips to the airport, waiting to embark on a new adventure. I’ve traveled across the world with my family, living in Venezuela, Nigeria and Costa Rica for short periods of time. I’m a professional country hopper, collecting memories and perspective rather than key chains and postcards. My lifestyle has influenced my interest in history and culture, and summer exchange programs have fostered my love for the French language. I long to someday utilize my experiences and linguistics to tear down walls and bridge cultural barriers. As I grew older, I discovered Cecelia Ahern and have embraced her philosophy as my own: “home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.” After 12 years of living in the Lone Star State, I have finally felt at home in Austin, a riveting city with culture, amazing music and even better food in every corner. To say that I am excited to be a part of the Business Honors Program at UT is an understatement. The lessons that I will learn in this program will go far beyond just preparing me for the business world; I am certain that the next four years will equip me with the knowledge, understanding and experiences necessary to effect change on a global scale. Although I’m not certain where my adventures at UT will take me, I know one thing is true: what starts here changes the world.


Business Honors 

Honors Program:

Business Honors Program 

Other Academic Interests:

French and History 

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program?

Community is defined as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals.” A more concise (and overall better) definition would be the Forty Acres Scholars Program. I was captivated by this program during Finalist Weekend after witnessing the unity that existed among the older scholars. They were all bound together by more than just a scholarship; the program is composed of a diverse group of individuals, each possessing ambition, intelligence and passion. The diversity, curiosity and passion within the group are what have brought the scholars together. They inspire one another. I knew that being a part of the Forty Acres Scholars Program was more than just a check and a title. It meant having a close group of people that you can learn vicariously through, having a support system, having a family. I was initially drawn to this program because of the people that comprise it, and now it is an honor to be a part of it.