Congratulations to the Class of 2020!
Posted June 3, 2020
Throughout their four years on campus, the 21 scholars in the Class of 2020 founded businesses and organizations, held key leadership positions, and researched, interned, and studied abroad around the world—all while supporting one another and earning a combined 29 undergraduate degrees.
As these scholars begin their next phase, they are heading off to sought-after jobs and graduate programs around the country. Read more about their experiences with the program and their plans for the future below.
Manjula Andukuri Full bio
Manjula graduated with a BS in chemical engineering. She will be working for Boston Consulting Group in Austin, TX as an associate consultant.
"The Forty Acres Scholars Program has allowed me to explore more than I ever would have imagined during my college experience,” she says. “From Washington, D.C. to Hyderabad to Belize, I have had such a unique array of experiences and seen so many things. I have met incredible people—not only alumni and mentors, but also fellow scholars who have made such a positive impact on campus and their communities. Even after I graduate, the connections, experiences, and community that this program has provided me will be invaluable."
Cole Bennette Full bio
Cole is graduating in May 2021 with his BArch in architecture. He will be completing the fifth year of the program next year, then he's planning to work in Europe or attend graduate school.
"My favorite enrichment experience is definitely getting to study abroad for a semester in Paris," Cole says. "As an architecture major, seeing some of the most important architectural sites in the world was truly a life changing experience. The most shocking thing was seeing how European cities are designed. Growing up in suburban, sprawl Houston to living in Paris, one of the most dense cities in the world, was incredible."
Will Clark Full Bio
Will graduated with a BS in Radio-Television-Film and a certificate in creative writing. He plans on staying in Austin, TX to continue building PorchFire Records (a local record label that he helps run), playing music, and writing.
"Some of my favorite memories from my time at UT have been our Forty Acres Scholars Program retreat at McKinney Falls State Park, hanging out on campus in the Cactus Cafe, and sitting in the empty fountain at the end of East Mall with friends, looking at the yellow moon," Will remembers. "The Forty Acres Scholars Program has connected me to a group of inspiring and supportive friends and collaborators and opened me up to experiences I would not have sought out on my own."
Alicia Crespin Full Bio
Alicia graduated with a BBA in business honors and finance and a minor in accounting. She will be working for ExxonMobil in Houston, TX as a financial analyst.
"There is no doubt my college classes have provided me with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed. However, the most important lessons happened beyond the classroom,” says Alicia. “Conversations with friends, peers, and faculty have helped my personal growth tremendously. I’ve learned that happiness comes from understanding yourself, following your passions, and helping others along the way. Going forward, I’m excited to continue learning, improving, and doing my part to make the world a better place."
Siji Deleawe Full Bio
Siji graduated with a BBA in business honors and a BA in Plan II. She will be working with Deloitte in Dallas, TX in Human Capital Consulting.
"My favorite memory from my enrichment experience is studying abroad in Hong Kong," Siji says. "From the bustling downtown skyscrapers to the beautiful beaches and mountains, I cherished every moment of that summer abroad. It threw me outside of my comfort zone in a way that was truly transforming. The Forty Acres Scholars Program has given me the freedom to truly chase after my passions and the opportunity to develop a real love of education."
Ryan Diebner Full Bio
Ryan graduated with a BBA in business honors and a BS in mathematics. He will be working with Oliver Wyman in Dallas, TX as a consultant.
"When I think about all the best experiences from my time at UT, many of them stemmed either directly or indirectly from being a Forty Acres Scholar," Ryan says. "Whether it was the opportunity to travel to three new continents on study abroad programs, make my first friends on campus at our Freshman Retreat, or join new student organizations thanks to connections within the program, it is hard to fully comprehend the impact the Forty Acres Scholars Program has had on my college experience. I will especially miss my cohort, and look forward to keeping in touch with them for years to come."
Skyler Frost Full Bio
Skyler graduated with a BS in Radio-Television-Film, a certificate in core texts and ideas, and a minor in business. He will be living in Austin, TX performing freelance work for various production companies while building his own production company.
"One of my favorite memories from my time at UT is probably getting to walk on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in France during my internship there,” Skyler remembers. “FASP gave me the chance to experience college and life unhindered and gives me a boost stepping out into the world of freelance."
Emily Gex Full Bio
Emily graduated with a BBA in business honors and finance, a minor in art history, and a certificate in business and public policy. She will be working for the Specialty Lending Group at Goldman Sachs in Dallas, TX as an analyst.
"I used my enrichment stipend to study abroad at the London School of Economics," Emily says. "My favorite memories are definitely exploring the culture of London through really cool restaurants and world-famous museums. I'm an art nerd, so I really think the museums were my favorite. I especially loved the Victoria & Albert Museum."
Sophia Guirola Full Bio
Sophia graduated with a BA in sustainability studies and international relations and global studies with a minor in Portuguese. She has accepted an invitation to serve with the Peace Corps in Paraguay.
"The Forty Acres Scholars Program has enriched my college experience significantly," Sophia says. "From dinners with senators and entrepreneurs, to low-pressure bonding with high-achieving peers, the Program has fostered amazing networking opportunities and built a space for meaningful relationships. Not to mention the amazing enrichment activities—from watching Broadway's "Les Miserables" together to experiencing the awe of African elephants in the wild in Botswana, FASP has helped enrich my college life in ways I wouldn't have been able to on my own."
Clio Harralson Full Bio
Clio graduated with a BBA in business honors and a BA in Plan II Honors. She will be working at the Amazon headquarters in Seattle, WA as a brand specialist for the Amazon Canada Media team.
"One of my favorite memories from the Forty Acres Scholars Program is receiving my offer call," Clio says. "I wasn't home when the phone call came in, and when I got back to my house, my parents were playing 'The Eyes of Texas' on repeat. My family put burnt-orange balloons all over the house, and they were all wearing burnt orange. I don’t think there’s been so much joy and energy in our house since. Because of the Forty Acres Scholars Program, I am now the 27th Longhorn in my family!"
Holden Hopkins Full Bio
Holden graduated with a BBA in business honors, a BA in Plan II, and a certificate in business and public policy. He plans to work in fields dedicated to social impact work before attending law school and ultimately pursuing a career in public policy and service.
"The Forty Acres Scholars Program has given me an incredible support network," Holden says, "and the staff at the Texas Exes have been incredibly helpful. My favorite memory with the program is a toss-up between our freshman and senior retreats. Our cohort's freshman retreat was such a bright and promising time, and we could feel that great experiences were ahead of us. It's where we began to form lifelong bonds that have been invaluable to me. Our senior trip felt like the culmination of that journey, the last time all of us will likely be in one place at the same time for a while. Though our trip only lasted a week, the memories will last forever."
Lindsey Jacobe Full Bio
Lindsey graduated with a BBA in business honors and a BA in Plan II Honors. She will be working with JP Morgan in New York, NY as an investment banking analyst.
"My favorite memory from my FASP enrichment experience was getting to see Picasso's 'La Guernica' in Madrid while studying abroad in Barcelona," she says. "My greatest takeaway from these past four years is to make the most out of every moment and appreciate the small things."
Scott Kennedy Full Bio
Scott graduated with a BBA in business honors and finance. He will be working with Bain & Company in Houston, TX as an associate consultant.
A favorite memory for Scott is being part of the Running of the Bulls in the San Fermin festival in Pamplona. "I was studying abroad at the London School of Economics, and some friends and I flew down to Spain for the weekend, ate amazing food, and got to be part of one of the most unique spectacles in the world," he says. "It exposed me to a cultural moment I never would have experienced without the Forty Acres Scholars Program and the enrichment stipend it provides."
McKenna Kernaghan Full Bio
McKenna graduated with a BA in Plan II, a BS in Applied Movement Science, and a minor in sociology. She plans to work as a medical assistant and then head back to school to become a physician assistant.
"The Forty Acres Scholars Program has opened so many doors for me and I know will continue to be a part of my life," McKenna says. I have met some of my best friends through this program, who not only cheer me on in my academics and extracurriculars, but who I truly enjoy spending time with! The program has introduced me to amazing, inspiring alumni and staff who have advised and helped me along my journey. I have been blessed to be a part of this program that gave me lifelong friends, powerful and wise mentors, and opportunities for adventure and academic learning."
Patricio Molina Full Bio
Patricio is earning a BSA in biology. He will be student teaching next semester and after graduation, he plans to attend law school.
"The Forty Acres Scholars Program completely changed my life," Patricio says. "I would not have been able to afford attending an elite university like UT without it. This program presented me, a young, Latino student from South Texas, with opportunities and experiences I never thought would have been possible. The incredible people I was able to meet during my journey have given me a framework for success I can take with me for the rest of my life."
Smitha Nagar Full Bio
Smitha graduated with a BS in Computer Science. She will be working at the Facebook headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area as a software developer.
"Words cannot express just how thankful I am to be a part of this program," she says. "Because of the Forty Acres Scholars Program, I’ve met such amazing people— from faculty and other scholars to the people I’ve met around the world through enrichment experiences. Throughout my time at UT, the program faculty have been there for me every step of the way to support me in whatever way they could. The scholars never cease to amaze me, and they continue to inspire me to be the best version of myself."
Vikram Ramanathan Full Bio
Vikram graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering. He will be pursuing a PhD in Applied Mathematics at Harvard University in the fall.
"The summer after my freshman year, I studied abroad in Shenzhen, China through an industry immersion program," Vikram says. "What began as a class on mechatronics led to a job at a local robotics startup. The program exposed me not only to a treasure trove of technical knowledge, but an entirely new cultural experience. We'd go on scenic excursions around China, frequent the biggest electronics market in the world, and eat amazing and sometimes very eccentric food. I have the Forty Acres Scholars Program to thank for generously funding and encouraging me to pursue a well-rounded education with such eye-opening and immersive experiences."
Emma Rappold Full Bio
Emma graduated with a BS in Radio-Television-Film and a minor in art history. She plans to pursue a job in the independent film sector in Los Angeles, CA and hopes to one day become a director.
"My favorite memory from the Forty Acres Scholars Program is when fellow scholars, Skyler, Jill, and I had an amazing time attending the Cannes Film Festival together in 2017," Emma says. "Not only was it extremely educational for us to see films from across the world, Cannes gave us a lot of faith in ourselves and our potential as filmmakers. We also got to travel to five different countries together and see some of Europe’s most notable sights!"
Lauren Amaris Smith Full Bio
Lauren graduated with a BS in public relations. She will be working in programming and marketing at the Elisabet Ney Museum in Austin, TX and then plans to work as a policy analyst with ImagineArt through Americorps.
"I have loved getting to know my donor, Marilyn White," says Lauren. "Our many email exchanges, dinner conversations, and e-card swaps have made my experience with the Forty Acres Scholars Program that much sweeter! The fellowship and opportunity afforded to me through this program have been invaluable. I have made many best friends, gone abroad twice with the help of the enrichment funds, and been given full permission to explore my ever-evolving passions and talents here on the Forty Acres. I am forever grateful!"
Jed Vick Full Bio
Jed graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering and a minor in entrepreneurship. He will be working with Boston Consulting Group in Dallas, TX as an associate.
"I've grown into an adult at UT," Jed says. "One of the most important realizations I've had is the importance of connecting with people in different pockets on campus. It's easy to stick to your major, or your organizations, but establishing relationships across campus leads to the most fulfilling college experience. Thankfully, the Forty Acres Scholars Program facilitates this process for you!"
Jill Young Full Bio
Jill graduated with a BFA in acting and a certificate in creative writing. She will be living in Los Angeles pursuing acting and writing for film and television.
"FASP has allowed me to pursue creative and professional goals that I otherwise wouldn't have had the network or means to achieve,” says Jill. “Studying abroad, making films and projects, attending conferences, and befriending intelligent, driven scholars from a variety of majors and backgrounds have all been incredibly important to my growth as a student and person over the last four years."