To help nursing students receive the support and education they need to improve health care, Mickey and Jeanne Klein established the Jeanne L. and Michael L. Klein Forty Acres Scholarship for students in the School of Nursing. Ella Folh and Benjamin Howell are this year’s recipients.
At a young age, Ella Folh was aware of miracles and hopes in health care. She watched her oldest brother suddenly healed from stage three brain cancer.
“This medical miracle is what drew my heart to help serve others,” Folh said.
In high school, Folh was intellectually driven by subjects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Taking over 15 advanced placement or college-equivalent science and/or math courses in high school, she recognized her academic passions. At the same time, she interned and worked several jobs where she developed leadership and critical thinking skills. And when she was 16 years old as a lifeguard, she performed a deep-water rescue that saved a girl’s life.
“The fulfillment I felt after taking a part to change a life confirmed my dedication to the health care field,” she said. "I felt an internal commitment to medicine beginning at a young age, but it wasn’t until I appreciated my strengths in my academics and leadership that I knew I wanted to pursue nursing.”
UT Austin was always Folh’s top pick. It became the obvious choice once she received the Stamps Forty Acres Scholarship supported by Jeanne L. and Michael L. Klein, and she was accepted into the Undergraduate Nursing Honors Program.
The Forty Acres Scholars Program is administered by the Texas Exes alumni association. It 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 activities for enrichment, including a community component and global and professional experiences.
With its mission to prepare students at a baccalaureate level in nursing science and leadership, the Undergraduate Nursing Honors Program is designed to enhance the educational experience of high-achieving nursing majors with a focus on the development of nursing science. Honors Program students work with a mentor on research, take special honors sections of selected courses, complete a project and present their work at a professional conference or poster session.
“Receiving this scholarship was the biggest blessing I could have asked for,” Folh said. “The Forty Acres Scholars Program means that I have the financial freedom to fully pursue my academic goals and experience cultural immersion for the first time. However, the program also means something deeper to me — it has shown me what a cohesive and supportive community truly looks like.”
As an out-of-state student, Benjamin Howell decided to attend UT Austin for various reasons, including his being captivated by the School of Nursing and the University’s focus on community, innovation and leadership. As a recipient of the Jeanne L. and Michael L. Klein Forty Acres Scholarship, he felt that the relationships and opportunities provided by UT Austin and the Texas Exes would catalyze his professional career and personal development.
Howell became interested in nursing because of its focus on relationships with patients, the community and the significance of nursing within the medical field. He intends to work in anesthesiology, and he views nursing as an avenue to achieve his goal.
For both Folh and Howell, the Forty Acres Scholarship is much more than an award — it’s a community, family and mentorship with like-minded individuals who genuinely care and want to see each other succeed.
“Receiving the Forty Acres Scholarship has meant everything to me,” Howell said. “To have a program of this caliber investing in my future is an immense encouragement and motivation. Additionally, the scholarship will allow me to fully dedicate my energy to academic, career and personal success. I hope to utilize this as an opportunity to positively impact the UT Austin community and change the world.”
Photographs by: Texas Exes - Ex-Students Association of The University of Texas