Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2018

From their freshman retreat to their senior trip—and everything in between—the 16 scholars in the Class of 2018 have had a tight bond. They founded organizations, held key leadership positions, interned and studied around the world, and helped develop many program elements—leaving their mark on the campus and the program.

As these scholars begin their next phase, they are heading off to sought-after jobs, internships, graduate programs, and research positions around the country. Read more about their plans and the impact the program has had on them below.

We had a great time celebrating with the Class of 2018 and their families during the Great Texas Exit. See photos from the event here.

Abigail Aldea will be working as a consultant at AIG in New York in their Global Business Services department this summer. She will return to campus next year, and will be writing a thesis about video games as a catalyst for empathy before completing her BBA in business honors and finance and a BA in Plan II honors in May 2019. After graduation, she will pursue a career in finance or consulting.

“The Forty Acres Scholars Program has forever transformed my life and experience at UT Austin. Because of the generosity of my donor, Aaron Kozmetsky, and the Texas Exes, I’ve been able to travel the world, study abroad, fence in the European Maccabi Games in Berlin, and meet truly inspiring alumni. I’ve been surrounded by the most curious, daring, imaginative, and driven people on campus from day one within my cohort and the program as a whole. The value this program has brought me can’t be measured and I’m so thankful for the people who made this possible for me.”

Katherine Allen will be in Austin working as CEO of Flo Technologies, a company she co-founded, as well as participating in the Austin Technology Incubator summer program. She will graduate with a BS in mechanical engineering and a BA in Plan II honors in May 2019. 

“The Forty Acres Scholars Program provided a strong foundation for me immediately upon entering college, which gave me the confidence to enact change on campus in the entrepreneurial ecosystem through the Genesis Program and start my own business, Flo, outside of school. Without FASP, I would have never met my incredibly supportive donors, the Texas Exes Dallas Chapter, and I would never have met some of my best friends, many of which are in my cohort. I am only beginning to realize the impact FASP has had on my life, and I will continue to see that impact unfold as my cohort and I graduate and begin to make waves in the ‘real world’.”

Emily Barnes graduated with a BA in psychology and Plan II honors. She will be working as a research assistant at Weill Cornell Medicine under Dr. Rebecca Jones at the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology in New York for two years.

“From before I even began my freshman year at UT, the Forty Acres Scholars Program has supported me and set me up for success. Speaking with donors, alumni, and faculty—not to mention my incredible friends in the program—inspires me to work hard every day to change the world. Being surrounded by this community, I see others successfully live out UT’s mission in so many different ways, through their own passion and determination. Their examples show me that I, too, can make an impact. Because of FASP, I was able to study abroad and research as a summer intern. These opportunities allowed me to grow and learn about my own passions as well as others’ perspectives. From introducing me to roommates and lifelong friends to pushing me out of my comfort zone to providing me resources to pursue my dreams, FASP has been one of the most important parts of my time at UT. I know the connections I made, the skills I learned, and the ways I grew will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Eli Barrish, Life Member, graduated with a BA in philosophy and Plan II honors. He will be working as an associate at Strategy&, part of the PwC network, in Houston.

“The Forty Acres Scholars Program has all the best traits of a family. Scholars support, inspire, and challenge each other; we are given the means to pursue our dreams and to give back to our communities. The scholarship took me all over the world: to India, Israel, and Peru. It made me into a globally-conscious citizen. I became more aware of other cultures and world events, aware of the opportunities and challenges that other countries face today. Because I had a full ride, I felt liberated to take the classes that interested me most, and as a result ended up in the perfect majors for my style of thinking: Plan II and Philosophy. I feel prepared for whatever life brings.”

Andrew Bazley, Life Member, will spend the summer conducting research at UT before graduating with a BA in Plan II honors and a BS in biochemistry in December 2018. During the fall, he will also apply to graduate schools, with plans to enroll in a PhD program in biochemistry or molecular biology in fall 2019.

“The Forty Acres Scholars Program has allowed me to travel to incredible places, given me my closest friends, and surrounded me with incredible people who have always inspired me to work hard and do my best. I will be forever grateful to have been a part of this program and as I embark on the rest of my education and career I will cherish the mentors, memories, and lifelong friends this program gave me.”

Alexi Cortez, Life Member, graduated with a BBA in business honors. After returning from the Flying Longhorns Essential Europe trip, she will work for Facebook in Austin.

“Being surrounded by passionate and determined scholars, as well being supported by a brilliant alumni pool, has truly inspired me to embrace every opportunity at UT. From starting a non-profit with a fellow scholar, to studying abroad and visiting over 16 countries in the past four years, to building life-long friendships with those in my cohort, the Forty Acres Scholars Program has given me the most fulfilling, wholesome, and rewarding four years of my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of such an incredible program.”

Abigail Griffin graduated with a BA in government and Plan II honors. This summer she is participating in the London Maymester (“The U.S., U.K., and World Order”) study abroad program offered through the Clements Center for National Security.

“The Forty Acres Scholars Program has truly defined my academic, professional, and social experiences at UT. It has given me so many unique and unforgettable opportunities– from standing on top of the world at Machu Picchu, to networking with some of the most influential Texas Exes, to finding an unbelievable family and support system in my mentors and fellow scholars. The Forty Acres Scholars Program has shaped and supported everything I have done in my tenure at UT, and I will forever be grateful for its investment in me and my success. I know that no matter where I go from here, I will always have my FASP family and be blessed with the incredible memories I made with them. The Forty Acres Scholars Program brought me home to Texas and has significantly changed my world, so now I can go out and change ours.”

Elizabeth Hamm, Life Member, graduated with a BA in English. She will teach reading skills at the Institute of Reading Development in Austin this summer and will then teach Latin, literature, and ancient history at Founders Classical Academy of Leander during the 2018-19 academic year.

“I can’t believe I have had the privilege to spend four years with my Forty Acres Scholars Program cohort, the Class of 2018. Their all-around excellence has constantly inspired me. My fellow Forty Acres Scholars have taught me how to be more engaged and invested in other people’s success. The Forty Acres Scholars Program has changed my life by connecting me to these amazing people. All I have to say now, and what I’ll be saying ‘til Gabriel blows his horn, is this: Hook ‘em!”

Hannah Kelly will be working in Austin this summer for Sangfroid Public Relations and Euphoria Music Festival. She will graduate in December 2018 with a BJ and a BA in Plan II honors. After graduation, she is considering staying with the PR firm and festival in Austin and also considering pursuing the music business (event production and marketing) in Los Angeles.

“The Forty Acres Scholars Program has shaped my time at UT and will continue to shape my life after graduation by surrounding me with people who inspire and energize me every day. The program gave me my best friends, my favorite memories, and the gift of traveling the world. My studies, travel, work experiences and daily life are enriched by the people of the Forty Acres Scholars Program. Not only my fellow scholars, but my donors and scholarship advisors provide genuine care and support that motivate me to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. I will forever feel lucky beyond belief to be a Forty Acres Scholar.”

Katherine Kennedy, Life Member, graduated with a BBA in business honors. She will intern with Deloitte in London this summer and then return to campus in the fall to complete her master’s in public accounting in May of 2019.

“The Forty Acres Scholars Program has shaped my time in college more than I thought possible. The program introduced me to all that the university has to offer and connected me with people that will be my friends for life. Alumni have invested in me and helped create unique and exciting opportunities. Over the past four years, I’ve had countless incredible experiences that have shaped me and my future, and I have the Forty Acres Scholars Program to thank.”

Steffi Lee will graduate this summer with a BA in philosophy and women’s and gender studies. She will be interning in Austin this summer for a woman-run law firm that focuses on business law and civil litigation. She is currently in the process of applying and interviewing for jobs with nonprofits and foundations that focus on gender issues.

“The opportunity to interact with Forty Acres Society members, UT alumni, and donors is a privilege that really only comes with being a Forty Acres Scholar. I feel lucky to be able to say that over the past for years, many of the alumni and faculty members, including my donors and dean, have become good friends that I know I will keep in contact with.”

Aasim Maknojia graduated with a BBA in business honors. He will be working for Goldman Sachs Investment Banking in New York City.

“The Forty Acres Scholars Program has definitely been one of the most impactful organizations that I have gotten to be a part of. When thinking back over my four years in college, the people that have continuously amazed me, the people I am consistently motivated by, are the same people that are in my cohort and in this program. Talking to them about geopolitics, philosophy, or art is always an incredibly rich experience for me. The programming from the scholarship has similarly introduced me to people who have shaped UT, who have a spirit and an energy to them that is contagious and galvanizing. I think it’s the connections with these individuals and with my peers that I will cherish and value for years and years to come.”

Greyson Rubin will be interning this summer and fall in New York City at the architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates for the Professional Residency Program for the School of Architecture. He will return to campus and finish his final semester working on his independent research design studio for his thesis and graduate in May 2019 with a BArch and a BA in Plan II honors. After graduation, he looks forward to becoming an architect, where he will work at a firm and get his license, and is also considering working as a director at Camp Champions for a few years before continuing his education in architecture.

“So many of the incredible memories and experiences I have made during my time at UT can be directly attributed to the Forty Acres Scholars Program. I have shared a meal with an incredible architect, Craig Dykers, conversed with legendary Longhorns like Earl Campbell, Kevin Durant, and Vince Young, and I have met countless other alumni, faculty, and fellow scholars in my cohort who have inspired me and taught me valuable lessons. As a scholar, I have been fortunate to study abroad twice, visit four continents, 21 countries, and 3 Wonders of the World. My experiences of this magnificent program will stay with me long past my time as a scholar on the Forty Acres.”

Ben Stevenson, Life Member, graduated with a BM in composition. He will attend Les Ecoles d’Art Américaines de Fontainebleau in France during the summer and will then enroll at the Peabody Conservatory at John Hopkins University this fall, where he will pursue dual master’s degree in oboe performance and music composition.

“I often think about how lucky I am to be a Forty Acres Scholar; this program has given me unimaginable opportunities. From funding my travels and studies in France, Italy, and Peru to introducing me to some of the most important alumni from our University, the Forty Acres Scholars Program has richly augmented my classroom experiences with living experiences that make me a stronger person and citizen. There is a team of people, both in the Forty Acres Society and the staff of Texas Exes, who have a personal commitment to my success. As a composer, having this support is indispensable, and it has placed me in the most ideal position to impact the world around me with my art.”

Lizzy Tan, Life Member, will graduate this summer with a BFA in dance and a BA in economics. This summer she will be interning at the School of Design and Creative Technologies and presenting new work with Austin artists. In September, she will be moving to London, where she will pursue a master’s of science in local economic development at the London School of Economics and work as a freelance dance artist.

“The investment my donors and Texas Exes have made in me continually inspires me to give back to the University and strive to dream bigger. Many of the most influential experiences I’ve had, such as studying abroad in Cuba, performing around the country, and developing lasting friendships with my fellow Scholars, over my four years would not have been possible without the support of the Forty Acres Scholars Program.”

Micky Wolf, Life Member, graduated with a BBA in business honors and will complete his BA in Plan II honors this summer. After completing his Birthright trip to Israel this summer, he will begin a fellowship with Venture for America.

“There are certain days in your life that are the ‘first day of the rest of your life.’ For me, that day was when I was awarded a Forty Acres Scholarship. This program has introduced me to my best friends in my cohort, has opened my eyes to the type of impact you can have in the world through alumni, and has empowered me to be a global citizen who makes a difference. Whether studying abroad, meeting distinguished alumni, or just spending time with my friends, this program has changed my experience at UT and opened my eyes to the future I hope to have.”