Jacqueline Gibson

Since I mastered the art of crawling, I have been an explorer. My life is full with exploring great books, the intricacies of computer programming, and how to create an eighth day in order to discover the undiscovered. I choose to engage in a breadth of activities that inspire me, aid in my personal and intellectual development, and allow me to become a more connected citizen locally and globally. My current interests do not fit into a particular mold, but they are an essential part of who I am now as well as who I aspire to become. Professionally, I intend to pursue a career in software development. I want to create technology for all people, and from this, my interest in accessibility-focused design and development was born. It is estimated that 1 in every 7 people has a disability, and developing with accessibility in mind ensures that these individuals are afforded the opportunity to use technology for education, work, and everyday life. Additionally, since academic reform is one of my passions, I plan on weaving these two focuses to revolutionize the way technology is used in the classroom, creating technology that empowers learners of all abilities and from all walks of life. I am passionate about gender equality and play an active role in initiatives dedicated to ensuring every girl has an opportunity to learn about Computer Science. After taking my first formal programming class I knew this was a career I wanted to pursue, and I desire for more girls to have an opportunity to experience that “aha moment.” Ultimately, my goal is to use my engineering credentials as a platform to play an influential role in mentoring the next generation of female leaders, serving as a positive role model, and breaking down barriers.

Majors: African and African American Diaspora Studies; Computer Science
Honors Program: Turing Scholars Honors Program

Extracurricular Activities:
Since my freshman year, I’ve served the university in a variety of roles. As a founder and Co-President of the Association of Black Computer Scientists, I worked alongside UTCS administrators to provide academic, professional, and personal support for Black CS students. Additionally, I participated in the Women in Computer Science’s Nell Dale mentor program, first as a mentee then as a mentor. My dedication to STEM outreach, my leadership on the Forty Acres, as well as my contributions to the College of Natural Sciences earned me the Aspire Leadership and Service Award.
Under the instruction of Jivko Sinapov, I researched with Peter Stone’s Autonomous Intelligent Robotics group. I also worked as an Undergraduate
Assistant for a first year course covering issues of surveillance, technology, and society. Serving as an At-Large and then Co-Chair of Academic Enrichment, my participation in Senate of College Councils allowed me to be an advocate for academic improvements, such as the improved use of technology in the classroom as well as highlighting global opportunities for STEM students. As one of six students currently appointed to the President’s Student Advisory Committee, I am working with The Office of the President to develop initiatives addressing current student concerns. As a member of Texas Orange Jackets and current Director of Scholarship and Service, I work to serve the university, students, and the greater Austin community. I have held two internships, both at Microsoft. Each of these experiences afforded me the opportunity to further develop my software development skills.

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program (FASP)?
“Forty Acres is more than a scholarship; it’s a program.” This simple sentence uttered during my finalist weekend alerted me to the fact that what Texas Exes had to offer was unlike any of the other programs vying for my acceptance. Forty Acres emphasizes creating a community amongst scholars,
giving us a home away from home. We forge lasting friendships with scholars across cohort lines, and we find advisors and mentors in the program staff. The opportunities and programming are unparalleled, and I have been pushed to grow both academically and personally.