When Amahree Archie left her hometown of Duncanville, Texas to attend The University of Texas at Austin, she planned on graduating and returning home to find a job. Never would she have imagined studying abroad in Beijing or living and working on Capitol Hill on a competitive Archer Fellowship.
Archie wandered off her linear path the moment she connected with mentors and advisers in the Gateway Scholars program, an undergraduate support network within the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE).
“I almost started off as a theater and music major and now I’m going a whole new route,” says Archie, a senior majoring in government and African and African Diaspora Studies. “It was the people in the LCAE who helped me discover my passion.”
When Archie learned about the Archer Fellowship—a program that allows students to live, work and study in Washington DC for a semester —she knew it would be an opportunity of a lifetime. To prepare herself for this exciting new path, she participated in the LCAE’s Discover Law program (now called the Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars program), an intensive five-week summer course that prepares law school-bound undergraduates for the career world.
“Discover Law was very life changing,” Archie says. “It was intimidating, and a lot of times I found myself asking, ‘Can I do this?’ But in the end, it ensured me that I can indeed do this, and that I can go to law school—and that it’s not impossible to dream.”
Now more determined than ever to achieve her law school dreams, Archie wants to focus her efforts toward education reform.
“In a policy paper I wrote for the Archer program, I emphasized the need for more black and brown faculty so students could have teachers who look like them,” Archie says. “I would also like to see more multicultural education in schools.”
She discovered this particular area of interest during her first challenging semester away from home.
“It was difficult being a minority on campus because I grew up in a community where Blacks and Hispanics were the majority,” Archie says. “Some questions and statements that I heard in my classes really pushed my interest in government and education.”
She’s grateful for her friends and mentors in the LCAE’s Fearless Leadership Institute (FLI) who helped her find her community on such an overwhelmingly large campus. She later became a mentor for the institute to help more students come into their own—academically, emotionally and spiritually.
“My mentors through the LCAE, especially [FLI co-founders] Tiffany and Thais, who really helped me with transition into college,” says Archie, who is also a mentor in the Gateway Scholars program. “They really showed me that I am good enough and smart enough.”
After wrapping up her senior year in Washington DC this spring, Archie plans on pursuing duel degrees in law and public policy. As for the short-term future, she will be interning for U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, whose political stance on education aligns with her own.
The Archer Fellowship Program is offered by TEXAS Undergraduate Studies. Visit this website for more information.