Opportunity to make a difference

Scholarship opens door to resources, education

Miguel Anderson is a journalism honors first-year student from Richmond, Calif.

Because his mom was a single-parent who “worked a lot,” Anderson said he “grew up having to do a lot of things by myself.”

Through his resourcefulness, and the Bay area's metro rail system, Anderson discovered many enriching extracurricular and educational opportunities that were not available in his low-income neighborhood .

“I honestly feel so grateful to be from and grow up in such a place. The Bay Area has a great deal of diversity and opportunity,” he said.

Anderson is a recipient of a four-year Impact Scholarship, which is awarded to students who make a big impact on their communities and are selected for demonstrated leadership, proven academic success and overall perseverance.

“I earned my scholarship opportunity through my hard work. I did a lot of extracurriculars in high school, and I feel like my work towards community service really put me on the map,” Anderson said. “Next thing is getting a dual-degree after my first year (at UT Austin). I'm currently looking into the ethnic studies, sociology, and humanities departments. I also want to conduct research on racist and classist barriers in media industries.”

Miguel Anderson Q&A

What motivates you every morning? My motivation comes from the fact that I'm on this earth living to see another day. Take advantage of the opportunities ahead of me and enjoy life to its fullest extent.

That simple fact has allowed me to lead my best life because I'm not going to have another one, so I live every day with confidence like it's my last. That's what gets me going.

What were your hobbies as a kid? I wasn't really into sports, but rather art and media as a kid. Every day after school I would log on to a virtual game, and I would also look at YouTube to watch music videos or find a video game to play.

Then I'd create Spotify playlists for the fun of it (I pride myself on being an avid Spotify user since 2011).

I do believe the exposure to the internet has had a profound effect on me today by letting me access so many different online communities, knowledge and even leading me to discover so many different music artists.

When did you discover that you enjoyed school and learning? In fifth grade.

Before, I was turned off by learning because my teacher made me feel stupid. He would sit me in the back of the class so I didn't realize my potential then. But it was in fifth grade that changed -- I still sat at the back of the class, but I started to actually enjoy learning.

I remember being taught math lessons, and though I didn't really have the most fun with math or with the teacher at all, I actually understood what I was learning. I made an effort to get the questions right and apply what I was learning.

I felt smart for the first time. Then in middle school, I really started to excel in my academics because I started to feel more confident in my work.

Who encouraged you as a student? Encouragement to me came from programs rather than a single person. Throughout elementary school and in high school, I was always enrolled in some sort of academic enrichment program.

It was first an after school program in elementary school, then in high school it shifted towards Summer Math And Science Honors Academy (SMASH), YR Media and ScholarMatch. (Shout out to those organizations and please donate to them if you ever come across this interview.)

These programs supported me academically and always encouraged me to involve myself in opportunities. They kept me on track. They're literally the reasons I'm a Longhorn today.

How do you feel that this financial assistance is opening doors to education that might not otherwise have been available? Being a low-income student, college is always known as being off limits due to money. Having this scholarship, means I am able to attend school and make a difference for my family without placing a financial burden on my mom.

This scholarship has led me to greater opportunity outside my community, where I'm able to receive a world-class education and have access to resources at the best journalism school in the country.

Without the scholarship, this wouldn't have been possible. I am so grateful to have this opportunity.

Natalie England

Assistant Director, Communications

For more information, contact:

Kathleen Mabley at 512-232-1417