Emily Fouts Shares Her #BecauseMyScholarship Story

Scholarships allow students opportunities they may not have otherwise. Hear from Emily Fouts, an agricultural communications major, about what her Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources scholarship has allowed her to do.


Dorm Living

Living in the dorm has definitely been an amazing experience! When I first decided to come to Texas Tech, I was very leery about which dorms to pick. I knew I wanted to live in a learning community dorm, which is a dorm floor separated by your major or field you are going to study in. However, that was the best decision about starting college. The atmosphere of the dorm life and all of the super nice people that you get to talk to and interact with is my favorite part about the whole dorm experience. Everyday there is something new going on around the different dorms for people to come out and interact with all types of people. I can honestly say that I have met some of my life long friends through the dorms this past year and I can’t wait to live with them again next year. I feel as if everyone needs to experience the dorm life their freshman year in college. This is an awesome way to go out and make those lifelong friendships and make those memories with so many different people that you would have never thought that you could have otherwise. To me, each hallway is like a family. Yes, there is going to be drama every now and then but we all stick together and laugh about all the fun that we have together each day.

Something that I would recommend before moving into your dorms is making a bond with your future roommate, if you don’t already know them. This makes the transition into coming to college a whole lot easier. Another thing I would recommend when moving in is going out right after you get situated in your room, and meeting all of the people on your floor. This helps to break the ice and gets those friendships started. When first moving into the dorms don’t be afraid to go to all of the fun activities that the different organizations have to offer. These activities are so much fun and not only do you get free food, but tons of free stuff as well.

One of the rooms in in the CASNR Learning Community
One of the rooms in in the CASNR Learning Community

I really have no complaints about the dorms. I have loved every second of living here in Stangle/Murdough dorms and I will always look back at those memories that I have made with all of my great friends that I have encountered during this year in the dorms. I remember, like it was yesterday, when I first moved into the dorms. I was so nervous to see what my roommate would be like and also to get all of my boxes full of stuff completely moved in. My parents were a nervous wreck, they were trying to help me move everything in and put stuff together but it just wasn’t happening. I will never forget though when I said bye to my family. It was in that moment I realized that I was on my own; I was no longer under my parent’s roof. Now to me this was a scary thing to picture, who was going to wake me up in the morning and have breakfast for me? Who was going to tell me to study or do my homework? However, this was the great part about living in the dorms; there was always someone in the dorms that was in the same class as me or has taken the class before so that we could help each other out to finish our homework or study for those test. Like I have said before, I am so glad that I chose to live in the dorms. I have met so many people that I will stay friends with for our lifetime. I would highly recommend that every freshman experience the dorm life. This helps you to calm your nerves about meeting new friends and just helps ease that transition into the college atmosphere.

Here are some helpful links when getting ready to move into the dorms.

Learn more about Landee Kieschnick here.

Going out-of-state for college

When I was growing up, there was a very common theme within my wardrobe. I could have worn an Oregon State T shirt, sweatshirt, or jacket every day for two weeks without wearing the same thing twice. With parents who had both attended Oregon State University, I was surrounded by OSU (Not Oklahoma State University) gear. My room was painted the OSU colors, I had OSU posters all over my room, and if we watched college sports it was because OSU was playing; to me, it was as if no other university existed. It wasn’t until the summer before my freshman year of high school, when my sister left for college at Cornell University, that my eyes were opened to the vast number of different universities around the country.

In High School, I was extremely active in FFA and spent many days on the Oregon State campus for various contests, leadership camps, and state convention. Although I had always been a huge Oregon State fan, when my senior year started to roll around, I chose to apply to many different universities, Oregon State included, in order to give myself options for schooling after high school. It was after I was accepted to various different universities that the decision of where to attend college became very difficult.

I recognized the many advantages to staying within the state and attending Oregon State University. I knew that if I stayed within Oregon I would be able to get home to my family’s cattle ranch within an hour, and that I would be able to see my high school friends fairly often. There were a vast number of benefits to staying in Oregon and going to school at Oregon State, however I ended up choosing a college with similar academics, similar success in sports, and cost me almost the same amount as Oregon State: I chose to attend Texas Tech University.

Although I have often missed my friends and family back home, I have never regretted my decision to attend Texas Tech. I recognized that the benefit of meeting some great and truly different people outweighed the benefits of staying home, where I may have ended up limiting my horizons.  By going to Texas Tech I have made many great friends, and have still kept all my friends from home. In Lubbock I have also become educated in different agriculture industries that I knew nothing about… such as the cotton industry! In my opinion, my studying at Texas Tech has almost been like a prolonged study abroad opportunity. Life in Lubbock is vastly different from the life I was used to at home in Oregon, however I look forward to returning to Lubbock each fall to start the new school year.

Nolan Smith

Read more about Nolan Smith here.



Study Abroad- Australia

Studying abroad has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made to date. I have met so many amazing people and have had so many first experiences. If you would have asked me a year ago what I expected to gain from studying abroad, my answer would not have done this reality justice.

There was a rocky start to my trip, with 15 total hours of layovers at the airport and 21 hours of total flight time, accompanied by air sickness for the majority of my flight across the world. Rocky start aside, this trip has given me the opportunity of a lifetime.

There is a small town off the southern coast of Australia called Lorne. It’s wedged between beautiful beaches and eucalyptus forests. This is the first Australian town I came to know. Here I got a first-hand look at the stereotypical Aussie lifestyle as I spent the days surfing, hiking and playing footy (Australian rules football). I visited the town with a large group of international students, meeting people from all over the world. I had the privilege of staying in a cozy hostel with all of my newfound friends.

When we left Lorne, we embarked on our bus tour of the Great Ocean Road. This was an amazing experience in which each turn on the narrow, windy road brought to light something spectacular; whether it be a breathtaking ocean view or magnificent rainforest scenery. Along the Great Ocean Road we stopped at beautiful formations such as the 12 Apostles and the (now fallen) London Bridge rock formation. We stopped at multiple beaches and had the whole day to take everything in as we made our way back to Melbourne.

Life in the city has been an eye-opening experience. I live in a tiny room and I share two bathrooms with 11 other people, but this isn’t a problem because I spend very little time in my room. Melbourne is full of diversity and there is so much to explore downtown. I have been lucky enough to go to White Night, a light show that happens yearly at Federation Square, the Color Run Grand Prix Edition (The run was located on a Formula 1 racetrack) and I’ve spent many days lounging at St. Kilda Beach and next to the Yarra River in Downtown Melbourne. This trip has drastically broadened my horizons as I’ve begun to realize that there is so much more to life than I could have ever imagined. This trip has put things into perspective and I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff because there are much greater things to focus on.

The Color Run- Grand Priz Edition- Melbourne
The Color Run- Grand Priz Edition- Melbourne

If I had to choose, out of all of the decisions that I have made throughout college, which has made the biggest positive impact, the choice would be studying abroad in Australia without a doubt. I have made connections with people from Scotland, Ireland, England, Sweden, Germany, France, Azerbaijan, Japan, Australia and so many other places that I can’t count with two hands. I have seen some of the most beautiful places in the world and I have had the time of my life. If you’re reading this and you’re undecided as to whether or not you truly want to study abroad, make the decision to go for it. You won’t regret it!

CASNR Congressional Internship

“Distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.”

– Jonah Lehrer, author

It is unfathomable to think that three years ago, I “hated politics” and at one point, even considered not voting. I am now incredibly embarrassed by this.

Nothing got under my skin more than my father telling me, “but you’re a politician” when I expressed my hatred for politics. Despite the fact that my life’s timeline was one leadership position after another, I refused to believe it. I did not want to be associated with politics, at all.

The idea of politics overwhelmed me. Not being able to fully understand the political process, the politicians, and the issues moved me to give up on caring, altogether. I thought it was someone else’s job—someone who cared.

During my sophomore year of college, I got a late-night phone call asking me to serve as the Public Relations Director for a Texas Tech University Student Government Association campaign. I accepted the request for several reasons: first, I had no idea what I was getting in to. Second, I looked at it as a favor for the friend who called. Third, I was an agricultural communications major who never says no to an opportunity, and lastly, I had heard a few negative comments about SGA, and I wanted to learn firsthand what the organization was about before I ever made judgment.

Despite everything I had previously said about politics, I got hooked on student government. The candidates in my campaign asked me to stay on their team after they won, offering me a position on the executive cabinet as the Director of Political Affairs. I fell in love with the way the branches of government worked and the processes that took place. I felt socially responsible.

If you are wondering what crow tastes like, I did receive a message from a former student who,  my freshman year of college, told me that I would love SGA and should move to Washington, D.C. Eating crow tastes like, “I told you so.”

Moving to Washington, D.C. to serve as a congressional intern was my new, burning desire. I feel that it is every American’s duty to understand and care about our government and leaders. I, like most, learn best through immersion and could not pass up the irreplaceable opportunity that Texas Tech offers for students like me through the congressional internship program.

My first semester of my senior year, I served as an intern in the U.S. House of Representatives. I lived in the Texas Tech House on Capitol Hill. I got to eat dinner in restaurants with Members of Congress at the tables across from me. I saw Members walking down hallways only minutes before I saw them on the news, live. I made great friends with one of President Obama’s speech writers, who is an intern just like I was. I watched a prime minister walk into a meeting with President Obama. I watched Air Force One lift out of the gates of the White House and fly towards Las Vegas to work on immigration issues. I witnessed marches around the Capitol after the death of Michael Brown. I escorted the Secretary of Agriculture in a hearing on food stamps, and every warm day, I sat on my office balcony and ate lunch while admiring Independence Avenue and the U.S. Capitol. The list goes on. I did things and witnessed things that cannot be captured by pictures, and that is the definition of a true, irreplaceable adventure.

Living in Washington, D.C. never got old. I eventually accepted the fact that I would never fully understand every issue or memorize every member of Congress. Finally appreciating our government and its leaders changed my life. Never before did I feel both so small and so powerful at the same time. The experience was both humbling and empowering. Living and working on Capitol Hill affirmed how I already felt about the government. I have complete confidence that some people are doing the best they can for our country in regards to some issues, and I firmly believe that there is still much to be done. Even this lack of complete assurance gives me hope because I now know, after serving as an intern, that students like me can and will make a difference in our future, just as interns make a huge impact on the Hill.

Jonah Lehrer’s quote keeps me sane, now that I have moved back to Texas. My family and friends ask about my experience, but it is difficult to explain. I am learning to transition from walking through security every morning in my suit to walking to campus in jeans and tennis shoes. However, Washington, D.C. has left stains on me. I will likely always share the live-feed news updates I receive on my phone with everyone in earshot, and I will probably continue to be one of the few who shows concern. “Someone just tried to jump the White House fence, AGAIN!” I will forever be addicted to watching the news, reading newspapers, and buying boring, business magazines. And, I will likely forever annoy all of my future roommates by watching CSPAN.

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to serve as a congressional intern on Capitol Hill, where the evening news is tomorrow’s world news headlines. Thank you CASNR and my internship sponsors, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.; Texas Corn Producers; Mr. and Mrs. Dan Taylor; Texas Farm Bureau; Texas Peanut Producers Board; South Texas Cotton and Grain; Landmark Nurseries; Farm Credit Bank of Texas; Mr. Dan Smith; and Grain Sorghum Producers for exposing me to a whole new world. I will never be the same.

Read more about Kelli Neuman here.