Mary Margaret Burniston

Writing has always been my greatest passion. A love for reading led me to pursue creative writing throughout my high school career, culminating with two national writing awards in the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, including a Silver Medal with Distinction for a Writing Portfolio. This love for writing and reading has inspired me to pursue a major in English through the Liberal Arts Honors program, and I hope to also add a certificate in Creative Writing. The other great driving force in my life has been a commitment to community service. In high school, I co-founded a program called Bark in the Park KTX, which worked closely with our local animal shelter to increase adoption rates through weekly dog walks in the park, fundraising efforts, and social media campaigns. The experience of building an organization from the ground up and the daily struggle and reward of running such a program has motivated me to further study and hopefully intern with non-profit organizations. I was also actively involved in the program Peer Assistance and Leadership (PALs). PALs gave me the opportunity to mentor different students of all ages in areas such as reading and leadership, as well as instilled in me a desire to better understand our education system. I hope to explore that interest over the next four years and volunteer with peer mentoring organizations.

Major: English

Honors Program: Liberal Arts Honors

Other Academic Interests: Psychology, Education, and Creative Writing

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program (FASP)?

What is unique about Forty Acres is that it’s not just a check written to you, but rather an invitation to join a community of some of the most driven, passionate, and kind people I have ever met. When I’m with my cohort, rather than feeling a sense of competition, I feel mutual respect, encouragement to pursue my interests, and motivation to develop my best self. The program grants an opportunity to make a big school feel small and interconnected as you have the chance to befriend scholars who are studying in all fields UT has to offer, participating in incredible research opportunities, interning with myriad organizations, and exploring all corners of the world through study abroad. Furthermore, the all inclusive nature of the scholarship alleviates many pressures college students feel, such as the expense of textbooks and housing, and allows you to focus on academic and extracurricular interests, as well as expanding your world horizons through study abroad.