Nick Van Lente
Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Forty Acres Scholarship
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2025
Austin, TX
High School
James Bowie High School

Words are the universal tools we use to communicate, teach, understand, love, share, and believe. Whether it be in the pages of a novel, or at a podium before a crowd, words allow us to transcend the rigid and futile boundaries that divide people. It was not until early high school that I discovered my passion for speech and advocacy that has defined my curiosity inside and outside the classroom. In my role as debate captain, I learned to use words and rhetoric as a way to not only educate youth about the importance of global geopolitical events, but also how to use words to express and defend my identity. This, translating through different leadership opportunities such as being my school’s Young Latino Leaders Vice President, or PALS -- a peer mentorship program for disadvantaged elementary students -- has allowed my talent and passion to spread in my community. Even by being a member of the tennis team, where communication is essential for success, or by being an Eagle Scout, where mentoring youth is an integral part of my leadership, speech has allowed me to connect and learn in ways I never could have imagined. Looking towards the future, I’m hoping to use my platform in a career of law and diplomacy to use speech to bring change for the communities and organizations that have given so much to me.

Culture, history, and literature are the framework for modern policy, and a successful and considerate policy requires a deep understanding and devotion to the communities the policy affects. By studying international relations and Plan II Honors, I’m immensely excited to continue dissecting and understanding human struggles and processes and to apply those lessons and wisdoms to my professional life. After having fallen in love with politics from the pages of my favorite books, my most influential teachers, and my most captivating works of art, I'm more than excited to continue my intellectual journey with the support of the University of Texas, and more directly, the support of the Forty Acres Scholars Program’s expansive network of resources.

Plan II Honors; International Relations and Global Studies

Honors Program
Plan II Honors

Other Academic Interests
Jefferson Scholars Program

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program?
Besides the clear financial benefits that the Forty Acres Scholars Program provides, FASP's commitment to curating well-rounded experiences and connections has become the defining factor drawing me to the program. Not only has FASP already connected me with a cohort of diverse, intelligent, and passionate peers whose relationships I’ll treasure forever, but FASP has the outreach to bring the professional world to my fingertips. Whether it be in large events where I’ll have access to some of the most remarkable figures in my field, or in travel experiences where I can expand my knowledge from a different perspective, FASP’s resources are building bridges that will stand long after my four years at UT are over. That being said, my favorite part about FASP is their dedication to introducing new perspectives and ideas to the cohorts. As a child, one of my favorite things to do was accompany my photographer mother to traveling lectures about anything from war journalism to fashion portraiture -- getting out of my comfort zone to learn new things makes my curiosity blossom, and every time I get the chance to hear someone’s unique perspective on life, I’m always eager to listen. In this way, recurring events like the freshman dinner lecture series, where different individuals are invited to share their stories, make me so incredibly excited for the experiences FASP has to offer that I probably would never be exposed to elsewhere. Having just begun my college experience, FASP has become a deeply motivating force within me, and makes me beyond ready to experience college with the best support system I could have ever imagined.