Sophie Maynard wins Forty Acres Scholarship to UT Austin


Balance has been really important in senior Sophia Maynard’s life, especially when managing time between being a straight-A student and working a part time job. It was this balance that helped her receive the 40 Acres Scholarship at the University of Texas at Austin. 

“Things that I’ve been involved in throughout highschool and have had to balance was being in clubs,” Maynard said. “One that I’m really involved in is Best Buddies here at Lamar. It’s a club that aims at building friendships between students with IDD [intellectual and/or developmental disabilities] and those without. I have a pretty long resume of clubs and activities that I was involved in but being balanced and dedicating your time and living by a planner and living by your goals- that’s kind of how I’ve achieved what I have.”

Having a busy schedule can be stressful and hard to balance.  

“Once school started and we had to go to school everyday she didn’t really know how to balance it but after about three weeks she figured it out and she was back to her old self,” senior Abigail Bronicki said. “I just think she is really good at adapting to new situations and I think that took her far to getting the scholarship. She definitely likes the challenge.”

The 40 Acres Scholarship is a full ride merit-based scholarship that looks at what’s on your resume as well as what type of person and how well rounded you are.

“So the scholarship covers your tuition and then covers your living, room and board, books and technology and then it offers you an additional stipend for exploring your career,” Maynard said. “So that would be studying abroad, research projects, things like that. I’m really excited to be going to UT and be a part of that cohort but what I really like about this scholarship is that it really does aim at looking at how well rounded you are.”

The 40 Acres Scholarship is very difficult to receive with three interviews as part of the selection process. It’s an incredible achievement and only a select few people receive it. 

“It was crazy intense- I started crying when she got the scholarship,” junior Sophia Hill said. “She has been a huge inspiration to me. I can not explain it and I mean it was insane. She would work so hard for it and not only was that insane because she would also try to push others to do the same thing and that’s what makes her a 40 Acre Scholar, is that she would not only help herself but she would try to help others be the best person they can be. That’s what stands her apart from anyone else.”

Maynard has always been hard working and goal-driven.

“We met in middle school in 7th grade,” Hill said. “We were on the same soccer team and she was obviously a super hyper personality but super fun. She  kept the team going; she was the team manager as well as playing on the team and she was just a very organized person, almost intimidating but she was so well balanced.”

Maynard doesn’t do all of this just to make her resume look good, her heart is in it and everything she does is because she loves and enjoys giving her time to whatever it is that she’s doing. 

“I feel like she really isn’t faking it, which is insane,” Hill said. “All of her work and her community service, it’s real like she wants to help, she wants to be there; it’s that type of thing where she was doing things that others weren’t. She was taking her time when other kids weren’t. Like that’s what makes such a difference and she taught me, like you can go and have fun with her but at the same time she still keeps a good balance on Fridays and Saturdays and she’ll say “Hey tonight I’m gonna work on my scholarship,” or “Hey I’m working on [this] tonight.””

For those interested in being a 40 Acres Scholar like her, Maynard has some advice. 

“Something interesting or maybe just advice to offer the people that are interested in UT or are interested in doing the scholarship, I heard this a million times but it didn’t really hit me yet, was just to really be yourself and don’t try to fit the checklist that they have for you, just fit the person you want to be on your resume because at the end of the day they end up looking or exactly who you are, not what you think is the right fit,” Maynard said.

Those close to Maynard say that she is an inspiration to everyone around her and has a lot of advice for better managing your time under stress and being successful at it.

“She actually forced me into getting a planner,” Hill said. “We went and got school supplies together and she told me “your planner is your life saver” and kind of just like understanding how much time you have in a day. One thing she always told me was ‘the time that you get up, like those hours that everyone is still sleeping, that’s where you are growing’ and so that has always been really inspirational.”