The Texas Exes is pleased to announce the Forty Acres Scholars Program Class of 2020. More than 3,400 students applied for the University of Texas at Austin’s premier full-ride, merit-based scholarship, and 21 exceptional scholars were selected from a group of 58 finalists. The scholars range from musicians to athletes, and filmmakers to volunteers. Among the impressive class is a business owner, a professional mariachi, and a licensed radio host. Many more are student government leaders, varsity athletes, and newspaper editors.
Administered by the Texas Exes, the Forty Acres Scholars Program offers a rich college experience that provides academic, leadership, and cultural opportunities within a close-knit cohort of fellow scholars. Funding provides for tuition, a living stipend, a book stipend, and an enrichment stipend for approved academic, leadership, professional and service activities. Throughout the four years, scholars benefit from a variety of programming opportunities and alumni connections.
Meet the Class of 2020:
Manjula Andukuri from Austin, Texas is the recipient of the Carol and Gary Kelly Forty Acres Scholarship. At Westwood High School, Andukuri was the president and founder of a club promoting civic engagement among high school students called Serving Our Society, a member of the varsity drill team, and the president of DECA, where she was a state finalist all four years. She was also a member of National Honor Society and a National Merit Scholar. After graduating as salutatorian, she plans to study chemical engineering honors in hopes of becoming a social entrepreneur. She is the daughter of Usha and Murthy Andukuri.
Cole Bennette from Houston, Texas is a recipient of the AIM Foundation Forty Acres Scholarship. While attending Carnegie Vanguard High School, he was a varsity cross country runner, a Boy Scout senior patrol leader, and an editor for the school newspaper. He was also vice president of the DoSomething Club, an international volunteering organization. On the weekends, he likes to DJ and play the ukulele. At UT, he plans to major in architecture. He is the son of Shirley Taloff and Brian Bennette.
Will Clark from Dallas, Texas is the recipient of the Texas Exes Dallas Chapter Forty Acres Scholarship. At St. Mark’s School, Clark was the managing editor of the school newspaper and winner of the Texas High School Journalist of the Year Award. He also placed second in the national competition for Journalist of the Year. In his spare time, he plays guitar in several bands that perform around Dallas. At UT, he will major in journalism. He is the son of Ellen and Ray Clark.
Alicia Crespin Moran from Pasadena, Texas is a recipient of the AIM Foundation Forty Acres Scholarship. As valedictorian of Pasadena Memorial High School, she served as class president as well as on the Student Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Houston Branch. Moran was a member of multiple honor societies and clubs and was recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction. After living in El Salvador for nine years, she became passionate about community and social service, and is working on becoming trilingual in Italian. At UT, she plans to study business honors and finance. She is the daughter of Norma Moran De Crespin and Jose Crespin.
Siji Deleawe from Cedar Hill, Texas is the recipient of the George Kozmetsky Forty Acres Scholarship. As valedictorian of Cedar Hill Collegiate High School, Deleawe served as treasurer of student council, president of Youth Church Executive Council, head delegate for the Pan American Debate Team, and was an active volunteer. She was also a co-founder of both the Dress for Success Initiative for middle schoolers and the Rising Longhorns elementary mentoring program. At UT, she plans to double major in business honors and Plan II honors. She is the daughter of Agnes Deleawe and David Awe.
Ryan Diebner from Dallas, Texas is the recipient of the Ray and Denise Nixon Forty Acres Scholarship. While attending Greenhill School, Diebner was the captain of the varsity baseball and varsity volleyball teams, as well as a member of the varsity soccer team. Outside of sports, he was business manager on the school newspaper and a U.S. Presidential Scholar Nominee. He was named his school’s Most Distinguished Math and Science Student, and worked as a private math tutor. At UT, he plans to study business honors. He is the son of Debbie and Jeff Diebner.
Skyler Frost from Morris Plains, New Jersey is the recipient of the Friends of Darrell K Royal Forty Acres Scholarship. At Morristown High School, Frost was the captain of the varsity soccer team, the executive sports producer for the school TV show, and a leader within Peer Group Connection, a mentoring program that helps freshmen, as well as special education students, transition to high school. He made a film that won first prize at the school’s film festival, which was then inducted into the county’s archives. As a licensed radio host, Frost announced high school sports games for three years. At UT, he will major in radio-television-film. He is the son of Audrey and Darren Frost.
Emily Gex from Houston, Texas is the recipient of the Karen and Charles Matthews, Jr. Forty Acres Scholarship. As co-valedictorian of Stratford High School, Gex was student body vice president and social chairman of the Spartanaire Dance Team. In addition to teaching children classical piano for four years, she founded an arts service company that teaches paint classes, called K&E Canvas Creations. Her artwork was chosen to be displayed at the Texas State Capitol. At UT, she plans to study business honors. She is the daughter of Michelle and Danny Gex.
Sophia Guirola from Dallas, Texas is the recipient of the Martin Dies, Jr. Forty Acres Scholarship. At Highland Park High School, Guirola was a National Hispanic Scholar and a volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club and Interfaith Housing Coalition, an organization that provides housing and job training for homeless families in the Dallas area. Before moving to Dallas in high school, she attended the American School of El Salvador, where she was president of the National Junior Honor Society and a student government leader. At UT, she plans to study international relations and global studies through liberal arts honors, as well as Latin American studies. She is the daughter of Camille and Jorge Guirola.
Clio Harralson from Austin, Texas is the recipient of the Susie and John L. Adams Forty Acres Scholarship. At L.C. Anderson High School, Harralson was the editor-in-chief of the yearbook, class president, and the treasurer of National Honor Society. She was also the co-founder of an anti-child trafficking club called Partners Against Child Trafficking, as well as a National Merit Finalist and a member of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. In her spare time, Harralson created her own design business called Think Ink Designs. At UT, she will double major in business honors and Plan II honors. She is the daughter of Sue and Scott Harralson.
Holden Hopkins from Corpus Christi, Texas is the recipient of the Fred A. Gottesman Forty Acres Scholarship. While attending W.B. Ray High School, he was the captain of the Academic Decathlon, Challenge and Mock Trial, senior captain of the varsity football team, and the founder of a charity that collects shoes for donation called Sole Brothers. He was also a National Merit Scholar and a member of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. After tearing his ACL and meniscus, he returned to playing football and was named Academic All-State Elite Offensive Lineman. At UT, he plans to study business honors and Plan II honors. He is the son of Jana and Josh Hopkins.
Lindsey Jacobe from Houston, Texas is the recipient of the John and Cynthia Adkins/Texas Exes Houston Chapter Forty Acres Scholarship. At The Kinkaid School, Jacobe was the editor-in-chief of the school yearbook, captain of the field hockey and lacrosse teams, and a Peer Mentor leader. She was a National Merit Commended Scholar and a member of the National Spanish Honors Society. Outside of school, she volunteered at a summer camp for children with mental and physical disabilities. At UT, she plans to double major in business honors and Plan II honors. She is the daughter of Marjorie and Lee Jacobe.
Scott Kennedy from Houston, Texas is the recipient of the Catherine G. and Sam L. Susser Forty Acres Scholarship. At Stratford High School, the co-valedictorian was the student body president, editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, and a National Merit Finalist. He was involved in his school district Improvement Team and was the co-chair of the district’s Strategic Planning Committee. Kennedy also played football all four years and served as a homework mentor for elementary school children through Family Point Resources. At UT, he will study business honors. He is the son of Kimberly and Brian Kennedy.
McKenna Kernaghan from Austin, Texas is the recipient of the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation Forty Acres Scholarship, supported by College of Education Advisory Council. At Hyde Park High School, Kernaghan was the founding member of the girls varsity golf team and the varsity volleyball MVP for two years. In addition to playing sports, she coached Special Olympics volleyball and golf. She was also co-founder and president of Christian Cousins Ministry, which helps the homeless and elderly. She wants to pursue a career as a physical therapist for athletes with disabilities by studying athletic training and Plan II honors at UT. She is the daughter of Tresa Rockwell.
Patrick Molina from Monte Alto, Texas is the recipient of the Stan L. McLelland Forty Acres Scholarship. As valedictorian of Edcouch-Elsa High School, he was the captain of the speech and debate team, a National Hispanic Merit Scholar, and his school’s first AP Scholar with honors. He was also the lead violinist in the nationally ranked varsity mariachi and plays professionally as a mariachi outside of school. The self-proclaimed philosophy and comic book nerd plans to study geosystems engineering and hydrogeology at UT, with a certificate in public policy. He is the son of Juanita and Homer Molina.
Smitha Nagar from Pleasanton, California is the recipient of the Newton-Flawn Forty Acres Scholarship. While attending Amador Valley High School, Nagar was a National Merit Scholar, a member of the girls varsity golf team, and co-president of ACE Coding, a club that teaches young students programming skills. She was also the founder of an organization that helps middle school girls develop confidence and public speaking skills, called Speak Up. She discovered her love for research and the application of computer science to neuroscience while working as a research assistant at the University of California, San Francisco. At UT, she will major in computer science as a Turing Scholar. She is the daughter of Arathi and Niranjan Nagar.
Vikram Ramanathan from Austin, Texas is the recipient of the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation Forty Acres Scholarship, supported by Cockrell School of Engineering and the Chevron Enrichment Award. While attending Westwood High School, he was the founder of a startup that designs and sells unique steel decor, a drummer in a rock and metal band, and the founder and president of the Westwood Society of Automotive Engineers, a club affiliated with the UT-Austin Society of Automotive Engineers. Before moving to Austin, he attended high school in India, where he helped underprivileged, rural villages establish new sources of income. At UT, he will study mechanical engineering honors. He is the son of Anuradha and Ram Ramanathan.
Emma Rappold from McKinney, Texas is the recipient of the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation Forty Acres Scholarship, supported by Mark E. Reichek. At McKinney Boyd High School, Rappold was a National Merit Finalist, a producer of the school’s broadcast news network, and participated in a mentor program where she studied filmmaking under a showrunner at AMS Pictures. She was also a student teacher and intern at a film acting studio called Young Actor’s House. Rappold has recorded commercial voice-overs for Radio Disney since she was eight. At UT, she will major in radio-television-film as a Moody College of Communication Dean’s Scholar. She is the daughter of Beth and Mike Rappold.
Lauren Smith from Houston, Texas is the recipient of the Mike A. Myers Forty Acres Scholarship and the Marilyn Marshall White Enrichment Award. At Saint John’s School, she was the chair of the African American Affinity Group and captain of the cheer team, where she became a two-time NCA All-American Cheerleader. She also served as an English teacher for Breakthrough Houston School year program for three years and has been a longtime member of Girl Scouts of America. At UT, she plans to study public relations. She is the daughter of Teresa and Ronald Smith.
Jed Vick from Houston, Texas is the recipient of the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation Forty Acres Scholarship, supported by Cammy and Del Williams. At Mirabeau B. Lamar Senior High School, he was the founder of a recycling program, the founder and president of the Young Engineers Club, and a National Merit Scholar. He was also a TFA state champion in Public Forum Debate and has tutored at the Nehemiah Neighborhood Center, an after school facility for economically disadvantaged kids, the past four years. At UT, he will double major in mechanical engineering honors and Plan II honors, and hopes to study abroad. He is the son of Jeanne Marie Vick and John Vick.
Jill Young from Santa Clarita, California is the recipient of the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation Forty Acres Scholarship, supported by College of Fine Arts. At Saugus High School, she was captain of the comedy improv team, the president of the speech team, vice president of the National Honors Society, theatre president, co-president of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, and a National Merit Finalist. She will bring her love of performing to UT to study acting. She is the daughter of Heidi and Bill Young.