Great Graduates: Grace Johnson, UTSA

Grace Johnson is a first-generation graduate

SAN ANTONIOGrace Johnson, 22, is officially a UTSA graduate.

On May 17, she walked the stage twice as a double major. She got a Bachelor of Art in Art, as well as a Bachelor of Art in Psychology.

Getting these two degrees was a special experience for Johnson as she is a first-generation college graduate in her family.

“I’ll be the first person and first woman in my family to get a degree. It means a lot of pressure but also a lot of reward,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s college experience didn’t start the way she imagined. Instead of going to a big university after high school, she made the decision to attend community college to support her mom and younger brother.

“At one point, I was the only one working in the house. I was kind of helping fund paying for bills, and food and making we could stay in the house we were renting,” said Johnson.

Originally from Sealy, Texas, Johnson was ready to move out of her small town and go to a bigger school. She made the decision in her sophomore year to attend UTSA.

Not only did she have family in San Antonio, she loved their Art and Psychology programs and she also loved how the university offered support for first-generation students.

While at UTSA, Johnson worked as a peer mentor in the university’s First Gen and Transfer Students Program. Johnson also was a part of the Student Psychology Program during her junior and senior years. She held multiple leadership roles in the program including event coordinator and vice president. In her senior year, she became president.

Johnson says she is forever grateful for the opportunity UTSA gave her to help her fellow peers.

“It’s [UTSA] just very open to having a diverse set of students and being able to really connect to one another. And coming from a small town where that wasn’t as common, it really helped me grow as a person and helped me meet people I never would have met in my tiny little town,” Johnson said.

Looking to the future, Johnson will move to New York to attend Syracuse University in the fall. She will be going to get a Master of Science in Art Therapy.

While attending Syracuse, she hopes to become a Graduate Research Assistant and eventually wants to bring more art therapy programs back to Texas.

“There’s not a whole ton of art therapy research in general happening down here in Texas, so I’m hoping I can get that experience in New York and come back one day,” said Johnson.

About the Author

Halee Powers is a KSAT producer primarily focused on digital newscasts and events.

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