Seth Krasne

Growing up in the border city of El Paso–the largest binational and bicultural community in the world–I have always been most comfortable in a cultural melting pot. While certain dichotomies imposed by the border distinguish the U.S. and Mexico sides of my hometown, being surrounded by the region’s interwoven cultures, politics, and economies has shown me how we can embrace and grow from the qualities that make us unique. It was in my sophomore year at UT that I returned home to realize I could see Mexico, and the border fence along with it, out in the distance from my bedroom window. I firmly believe that working to blur these differences in all aspects of society, while remaining cognizant and considerate of the adaptations they require, will make our world a better place to live. It is with this outlook that I have pursued my studies at UT. Through my interdisciplinary course of study, I hope to use this background to work across multiple fields and truly make a difference while improving people’s lives (despite how cliché it sounds). But El Paso is not just made of pretty mountains and people from both sides of the border singing Kumbaya; the community is full of cacti–both literally and figuratively– complicating the equation. My freshman year of high school, I watched as my school district’s superintendent became the first in American history to be indicted following the discovery of his massive system of systematic fraud. Watching this injustice unravel, along with many others created by various city leaders, inspired me to use my time at UT to advocate for academic integrity as co-chair of both the Senate of College Council’s Academic Integrity Committee and the Business Honors Program’s Student Ethics Board, and to take a stand against educational inequity through my roles in the Plan II/KIPP Partnership and the Texas Blazers. Additionally, I have sought to broaden my point-of-view and expose myself to new ideas and places through international experiences in both Argentina and Cuba (and soon, hopefully, in Singapore). All the while, I always make sure I have time to continue my quest for the best Austin barbecue, explore new places, and read way too much news. Despite my physical distance from El Paso, my time at UT has only strengthened my dedication to the principles I formed in my beloved hometown while enabling me to do something about them.

Majors: Plan II Honors; Management

Honors Program: Plan II Honors

Other Academic Interests: International Relations, Latin American Studies, Public Policy, Education Reform, Ethics and Academic Integrity, Political Campaigns, and Economic Development

Extracurricular Activities:

Fall 2017:
Texas Blazers – Vice Chair of Special Events
Plan II/KIPP Partnership – Mentor
Office of the Texas Secretary of State – Intern
Beto O’Rourke for Texas Campaign – Intern

Summer 2017:
Office of the Texas Secretary of State – Intern
Beto O’Rourke for Texas Campaign – Intern

Spring 2017:
Senate of College Councils – Academic Integrity Committee Co-Chair
Business Honors Program Student Ethics Board – Co-Chair
Texas Blazers – Member
Student Conduct Board – Hearing Officer

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program (FASP)?
I have heard lots of people talk about the benefits of being a “big fish in a small sea” as opposed to being a “small fish in a big sea”. What I realized about the Forty Acres Scholars Program is that it provides the rare opportunity to be a “big fish in a big sea”. After Harvard and Yale, the UT System has the third-largest endowment of any university system in the world, and being a Forty Acres Scholar means having access to the greatest resources of its flagship campus. This was just the cherry on top for me of a full-ride scholarship supplemented with enrichment activities, support from the world’s largest alumni network, and a world-class cohort of fellow scholars to learn from and grow with.

Favorite FASP Memory
As my fellow scholar, Chessie, and I were discussing the recent thaw in U.S. policy allowing more freedom for American citizens to travel to Cuba, it seemed like a harebrained idea when we said we should take advantage of the new rules to book a flight to Havana for Winter Break. But three months later, there we were with two more members of our cohort, Chandler and Mandy, mostly cut off from the rest of the world for a week as we dove into a study of Cuban history and culture. Traveling with my fellow scholars made the trip even more unforgettable due to our shared dedication to finding a genuine perspective of the nation and its people. This life-changing trip taught me so much about a different nation’s point-of-view, and was a sobering reminder to never take the rights we possess for granted. Being a Forty Acres Scholar provided me with the community and resources to make such a trip possible, and it is an experience that will leave its impact on me forever.