The Archer Fellowship Program program gives students from any UT System school the opportunity to intern full-time in Washington, DC. Archer fellows get working experience in public service as they complete their studies. Out of nine students
selected from UTA for the program, two of them are Honors students, Jaycee Weber and Maranda Spencer.
As a public relations senior and president of University Democrats, Jaycee said living and working in DC is her career goal. She hopes the program will help her achieve that dream.
“Just having that opportunity to be there will prepare me for a job and my future in political communications,” she said.
Being part of the Honors College was key to her success. The rigorous academic courses gave her an edge in the competitive application process. Now she’ll take the lessons she learned from her Honors courses and apply them to her professional career.
“The Honors College definitely helped me to prepare for the real world and for the future where I’ll be working in a job where I have to use the skills I learned in the classroom,” said Jaycee.
Maranda, political science junior, hopes to one day work in litigation. She said the opportunity wouldn’t have been available to her if it weren’t for the community support and financial help from the Honors College.
“The main reason I’m able to do 99% of the things that I’m able to do is because the Honors College is what’s paying for me to do these things, “ she said. “The fact that I have so many scholarship opportunities from the Honors College is the main thing that I’ve gained.”
Honors College alumna Raegan Cardwell spent much of her childhood reading and watching the news. In high school, she worked on the yearbook and even anchored for her school district’s monthly newscast. She always knew she wanted to go into journalism.
Raegan graduated from the Honors College in 2015 with two bachelor’s degrees in journalism and broadcast communications. Now she works as a morning show producer for KPTV in Portland, Oregon. Each night she comes in to write stories and put together newscasts. She decides what stories are important for the day and assigns stories to reporters.
When she was in high school, Raegan didn’t have a whole lot of money saved up for college. She planned on going to a community college but when she applied for the Distinction Scholarship at the Honors College, she ended up getting her four years paid for.
“Instead of having to focus on working a job to put myself through college, I had all this time to really explore different interests and really learn things about the world,” she said.
Looking back, she recognizes the value in taking Honors courses and connecting with students, faculty, and staff in the Honors community. She said the opportunities presented to her by the Honors College fueled her academic path to where she is today.
“I got to really delve into different topics on a wide range of subjects and you know when you go into journalism that’s really important, having a base of knowledge that’s really wide,” she said. “Really getting a good background in history, economics, and just random subjects has been really valuable with the job that I have now.”
Raegan also made full use of her time at UTA by getting involved in a variety of extracurriculars, including UTA News, UTA Radio, The Big Event Committee and Alternative Spring Break.
Alumnus Tijani Osumah came to the Honors College for the financial opportunities but ended up with so much more by the time he graduated.
Tijani (or TJ, as his friends know him) graduated with a double bachelor’s in biochemistry and bioengineering in 2013. Now, he works as a research fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
TJ had always been interested in research. While at UTA, he worked as a researcher in the chemistry department and received numerous scholarships and accolades, including the University Scholar Award.
Back when he first arrived at UTA as an international student, TJ was motivated to join the Honors College for the scholarships to help pay for school, but along the way, he gained inspiration and long-lasting friendships from a small but driven community.
He said the challenge of Honors Courses and the professors that facilitated them gave him the diligence to work in his desired field. It was also the friendships he forged that gave him the resilience to reach his goals.
“I happened to meet probably the most motivated people on the entire campus,” he said. “Just when you think you are working hard and you’re doing all the things that you should then you meet these guys that are working even harder and going even further.”
TJ always felt like he needed to keep up with his fellow classmates even as he made big strides in his academic career.
“They all carry you along and you end up becoming great friends and awesome support system,” he said. “I still maintain many of those relationships.”
TJ earned his MD at Ross University School of Medicine in 2017.