Olivia Cardenas

As a little girl, I busied myself by eavesdropping and badgering my mother with questions about those around me. I like to think my propensity for childhood nosiness has since evolved into a more socially acceptable curiosity, one that drives my interest in playwriting, history, and politics. Playwriting provides the perfect outlet to put my eavesdropping skills to use and explore what makes people tick. I attended an arts high school where I enhanced my craft and wrote multiple plays, often focused on how culture and environment influence people. Through a paid internship with the Alley Theatre and city-wide competitions, several of my plays have been staged. Watching my words resonate with people of varying backgrounds has solidified my interest in using art as a vehicle for greater unity. Using the past to make sense of current institutional inequalities and social phenomenons drives my artistic inspirations and prompts my deep interest in politics/current events. To be completely honest, I walked onto campus with little idea of what my professional future holds. All I know is that I want to leave this world better than I found it- whether it be by pursuing my art, practicing law, or whatever other passion or cause I have yet to discover. I am confident that majoring in Plan II Honors will allow the flexibility, variety, and rigor necessary for my current interests to transcend into a more definitive career trajectory. While I’m not trying to figure my life out, you can find me eating way too much queso, annoying my roommates by constantly live streaming NPR, and embracing as many UT traditions as possible.

Major: Plan II Honors

Honors Program: Plan II Honors

Other Academic Interests:History, Journalism, Playwriting

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program (FASP)?
What struck me most during Finalist Weekend was the familial bond of the older scholars. They were not awkward acquaintances sharing a scholar title; they were a cohesive group bound by intelligence and ambition. It was evident then and there that joining Forty Acres meant joining a community- a cohort of students with diverse talents and backgrounds that would elevate my ambitions, that could inspire my curiosity. It meant access to full time staff aware that relationships with our fellow scholars were essential to our success, a staff committed to programming events that facilitate bonding, professionalism, and personal development. And equally compelling, it meant exposure to the University of Texas’ incomparable alumni network. These alumni share the same passion for the Forty Acres community as its scholars and staff, frequently opening doors for career opportunities or establishing mentor relationships. A deep sense of community with peers, staff, and alumni are ingrained in this program, making Forty Acres unique for the personal investment it offers each of us.