My wife, Cynthia, and I were honored by the Houston Texas Exes with a named Forty Acres Scholarship, a new, full-ride merit award that targets top high school students. Last week, we met the first recipient of the scholarship in our name, Monica Bischoff, and got to know her over dinner. Here are some of the things we learned about her.
1. What attracted you to UT, and how did the Forty Acres Scholarship influence your college decision?
I learned of the Business Honors Program through a friend, and the benefits of going to McCombs outweighed the benefits of going out of state for college. Austin is such an amazing city, and I would not want to pass up an opportunity to live there. My parents live in Houston, so I will be close to home and where I grew up. I knew I would gain the best overall college experience at UT, so I decided in December of my senior year that I would attend UT. I’m interested in business, history, and law, all of which are strong at UT. Receiving the Forty Acres Scholarship made me feel like I had made the right decision. The other Forty Acres Scholars are all amazing people, and I am honored to be a scholarship recipient.
2. How does it feel to be part of the inaugural group of Forty Acres Scholars?
I’m sure that even when I’m 50 years old, I’ll still be coming back to Austin to interview applicants for this scholarship. We had such a great experience during the Interview Weekend—I wish all 30 finalists could have won this scholarship. Certainly, all 30 were some of the most intelligent and engaging people I have ever met and would have been qualified to receive the scholarship. We use Facebook to keep in touch with each other. I cannot wait to spend the next four years with the other Scholars.
3. What advice do you have for future applicants for this scholarship?
Be honest in answering the questions on the application. Be yourself, and give answers that you really believe. Start earlier on the application than I did (I only learned of the scholarship three days before the application deadline. Thank goodness the McCombs School emailed me to let me know that I could apply). Have a resume prepared early in your senior year and elaborate on every accomplishment you have.
4. What are your thoughts about studying in liberal arts as well as taking business courses at the McCombs School?
I think studying history will be exciting, especially in my area of interest (American history), and will be helpful in preparing me for law school or an MBA program. I have a huge interest in history, and it is great to know that I can pursue more than one major at UT. I know the Business Honors program will provide me with a great education with a lot of of unique opportunities and great academic and career advising. McCombs, and the Business Honors Program, will provide countless opportunities for my future.
5. Do you have any specific community service or travel abroad in mind for your Forty Acres experience?
I’m interested in learning more about volunteering abroad, especially with programs that benefit children. I would love to travel around the world before I graduate. Someday, I hope to be an active member of the Texas Exes, and want to give back to the organization that has provided me with this full-ride scholarship to college.
6. Aside from academics and all the serious parts of the college experience, what do you think will be the most fun at UT?
I’m looking forward to going through sorority rush and having an active social life. It will be fun to meet people from all across Texas. Also, I would like to participate in the Student Senate, and I am excited to live at Carothers. Austin is such a vibrant city, and I cannot wait to explore the great opportunities available. Overall, I love the classroom experience, but I like to keep a good balance in life. UT is perfect for me in that it offers so many different options and activities.
The Texas Exes Scholarship Foundation is now accepting applications for the next year’s Forty Acres Scholars. Find out more here.