Katie Teeters: Embracing Opportunities and Giving Back
Katie Teeters had an eventful summer. From studying abroad in Italy to pursuing research on Liberal Nationalism, Teeters took full advantage of the unique benefits afforded to her by the Tier One Scholars Program.
“Well, I think the two opportunities the program has that far exceed opportunities anywhere else is the money for undergraduate research and study abroad,” Teeters said. “You can have a full ride somewhere, but it doesn’t mean that you’re going to get involved and take full advantage of your undergraduate career.”
In order to embark with the Honors College in Italy for an enriching two weeks, the semester prior, students were required to take a class regarding the country’s diversity and culture. After returning from Italy, Teeters participated in the UH Summer of Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program where she studied the idea of nationalism working with liberalism, highlighting her political science and history majors. She decided to continue her research during the fall semester under the mentorship of Dr. Jeffrey Church.
As an advocate for involvement, Teeters became president of the Honors College Student Governing Board her sophomore year and an Honors Ambassador, to recruit new students to the University. She later founded the Fellowship of Tier One Scholars (FOTOS), a student organization that she created for Scholars to interact in with one another through social activities, professional development, and volunteering/recruiting. The organization allows older Scholars to be mentors, and members, as a whole, to develop deeper connections and friendships with fellow Tier One Scholars.
“One of my main things for FOTOS is to be able to give back to the University. You’re getting a full ride from the University then you should recruit students to the University and help volunteer on campus,” founding President of FOTOS, Teeters said. “You shouldn’t just take your scholarship and do nothing with it.” As a mentor, Teeters is eager to share her UH experience with new students, "I’m one of the first people to benefit from the Tier One experience and I also get to find out about different opportunities and then I get the chance to tell everyone." She has enjoyed building new friendships, "I love getting to know the freshmen...it has given me the chance to meet new people and expand my field of friends."
Teeters shares from first hand experience what it's like to live on campus, "I definitely think that living on campus is one of the best things. I’m a junior and I’ve chosen to live my third year and next year on campus. It just opens you up to so many opportunities – getting involved on campus, hanging out with friends at night, having study parties in the lounge at 2 a.m. because you all have something due the next day. You don’t get that when you’re a commuter."
“Overall, I think being a Tier One scholar, especially in the inaugural year, gave me so many opportunities I wouldn’t have had because my name got out there. I was on a billboard the summer after my freshman year, about Tier One Scholarships,” Teeters said. “Having a photo shoot, telling my friends ‘Hey, check out highway 59. There’s a billboard of me on there!’ It was all really cool. It has been wonderful. I don’t know if I would have been able to do study abroad had it not been for Tier One.”
Teeters is a Tier One role model and leader who has taken advantage of the opportunities to expand her knowledge in Houston and beyond while giving back to the university.