Nikita Kakkad
Nikita Kakkad
Carol and Gary Kelly Forty Acres Scholarship
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2024
Austin, TX
High School
Westlake High School

By the time I was eight, I was more than acquainted with the North Village Library. It was no surprise to my parents that when they took me to the library, we would be leaving with no fewer than 30 books. It’s virtually impossible for me to think about who I am or what story I want to tell without thinking of all the stories that have shaped me. From the Magic Tree House books giving me a sense of discovery, to Hermione inspiring me to stick by my friends and study hard, to Murakami showing me how to find adventure and whimsicality in the mundane, to Khaled Hosseini breaking my heart and exhibiting how love can create and destroy, the books I read become a part of me. As I grew, my tastes grew and became increasingly varied; in addition to the classic YA fiction books, I devoured nonfiction across genres, poetry, physics and science journals, song lyrics, and short story anthologies.

Because of the multitudes of input I was receiving, I struggled to figure out how I wanted to “output” that in college. I struggled to choose if I wanted to major in a science or liberal arts track; I didn’t want to choose between research and improv as extracurriculars; and I loved being in a lab and doing DNA PCR tests as much as I enjoyed reading and discussing literature. Enter UT—I could major in engineering and liberal arts; I could join a respected theatre troupe and do research with topics I enjoyed; I could choose every single thing I wanted to do in my time that made me happy and passionate and create my own journey. Just like my books giving me a breadth of inspiration, stories and knowledge, UT provides the same opportunity.

In my 18 years so far in Austin, I have won awards through Model UN and HOSA, become an avid music fan, worked with tech startups, tried incredible restaurants, led an improv troupe, memorized constellations, and become a musician. I love Austin, and I can’t wait to discover and do so much more in the coming years. Hook ‘em!

Biomedical Engineering; Plan II Honors

Honors Program
Plan II Honors

Other Academic Interests
French; Public Health

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program?
I have always been community-focused and enjoyed being in groups of people that are inspiring, supportive, kind, and driven. The Forty Acres Scholars Program is that perfect group of peers that you can learn from, work hard with, and be challenged by. At Finalist Weekend, the only thing my mind could focus on was all the incredible people I met through the program, and I knew that it was a diverse community like no other. I know that I will have wonderful opportunities and experiences with peers, mentors, and globally through Forty Acres, and I am so excited for the next four years with my cohort!