Moms know best, and Emily Slaughter’s mom is no exception.
The summer following Emily’s freshman year in high school, her mom announced, “You have to get out of the house. You have to work or volunteer — something!”
Fortunately, Emily had a friend whose mother worked at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, who let her know about available volunteer positions.
“I mainly ran errands that first summer,” Emily said. “But right from the start I thought, ‘This is really cool!’”
She went back the next summer and was on rotation in the emergency department and neonatal and cardiac intensive care units. The dye was cast.
"That year I got to shadow patient care techs, head nurses and charge nurses, I realized that this is the kind of work I wanted to do."
When the time came, she successfully applied to UT Austin and was urged by her high school guidance counselor to apply for a Forty Acres Scholarship. Despite a “nerve-wracking” interview, Emily received the Jeanne L. and Michael Klein Forty Acres Scholarship, a full, merit-based scholarship.
The Forty Acres Scholars Program is administered by the Texas Exes alumni organization and inspires and nurtures students and helps them develop their talents to benefit society. Scholars receive a rich college experience that provides academic, leadership and cultural opportunities with a cohort of fellow students. Funding provides tuition, a living stipend, a book stipend, and enrichment activities, including a community component and global and professional experiences.
“Beyond the benefits of an academic scholarship, I was drawn to the Forty Acres Scholar Program because of the genuine community it fosters among students and alumni, as well as the opportunities it provides for enriched learning and discovery,” Emily said.
During her freshman year, Emily took nursing courses in addition to courses required for all undergraduate majors. She particularly enjoyed global health with Professor Lorraine Walker and a nutrition course.
After she receives her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 2022, Emily thinks she may want to work on an advanced degree and become a nurse practitioner. In the meantime, she is looking forward to opportunities to study abroad made possible by the program’s generous enrichment stipend supporting personal and professional development outside the classroom.
Asked what she would say to high school students interested in applying for a 40 Acres scholarship, she replied, “Do it! Just apply, because you never know.”
And what about applying to the UT Austin School of Nursing?
“It’s the most interesting nursing school in Texas. The amount of resources is amazing, and the faculty care about their students. They genuinely want you to succeed!”