Amanda Mackenzie
Amanda Mackenzie
Stamps Forty Acres Scholarship, supported by Beverly and Will O'Hara
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2024
Hometown
Fort Worth, TX
High School
Trinity Valley School

I remember how nervous I was the first time I left to volunteer at Barnabas, a summer camp for individuals with special needs. As I packed my bags and traveled alone to another state, I worried that I would not be able to connect with and properly care for the campers. I am so glad I took the chance because it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life and something I look forward to every summer. At Barnabas, I learned I have a passion for working with people and hopefully impacting their lives, which inspired me to join a club at my school called Trojan Tutors, where I spent every Thursday morning at Chapel Hill Academy teaching kids reading and math. This club furthered my enthusiasm to teach and I was honored to serve as president of the club my senior year. In addition to tutoring, I enjoyed using my skills as a varsity cheerleader to teach cheers and dance routines to younger students through various cheer camps. Another favorite activity of mine is working as a summer counselor at a camp that I attended growing up. I enjoy spending time with the campers and I even get to teach riflery, my favorite activity as a camper.

My interest in both teaching and working with the special needs community led me to youth and community studies, a major in the College of Education that will prepare me to work with people of all ages in a variety of settings. I also plan to complete a concentration in special populations and minor in Sign Language to help me learn skills specifically geared towards the special needs community. I want to continue spending time with this amazing group of people and work to make the special needs community as successful as possible in areas like work, school, and home life.

Major
Youth and Community Studies

Other Academic Interests
Minor in American Sign Language

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program?
A phrase that I often heard repeated when touring various colleges was, “you can make a big school smaller, but you cannot make a small school bigger.” I love the opportunities that attending a school as large as UT offers, but the size can be daunting. However, the Forty Acres Scholars Program is the perfect way to surround myself with people who will push me to be my best self, and make UT seem a little bit smaller.