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Honors College, Top Scholar student transforms challenges into lasting change

October 27, 2021
Honors College, Top Scholar student transforms challenges into lasting change

Mufaro Chitakure is not afraid of a challenge. It’s why the Honors College and Top Scholar student chose actuarial science as his major, and it’s what inspired him to join several organizations on campus that address important issues for students of color. Through his impressive service, he hopes to provide future Roadrunners with more opportunities, better resources, and bolder futures.

Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, Chitakure immigrated to San Antonio with his family as a child. He was familiar with UTSA because his older brother attended, but he hadn’t heard about the Top Scholar program. However, he was invited to apply to the prestigious merit scholar program because of his high academic achievement and record of service, which included ranking second in his graduating class at East Central High School, being named an AP Scholar, and serving as president of the school’s Future Business Leaders of America chapter. Chitakure was initially drawn to the Top Scholar program because of the last-dollar scholarship it provides. When he attended Top Scholar orientation events on campus and met the talented and passionate community of Roadrunners, his interest in attending UTSA deepened.

“I knew that as a freshman, being surrounded by upper classmen who are doing all these great things would just kind of inspire me to want to do more,” said Chitakure. “Through the program and through my peers, I’ve managed to solidify what I care about and what I’m involved in.”

When Chitakure joined UTSA in 2018, he was inspired by the Top Scholar community to volunteer for several organizations, including Good Samaritan, Adopt-A-Spot, the San Antonio Food Bank, Pride SA, the San Antonio Children’s Hospital and RAICES. Being part of the Honors College community of high-achieving and invested students, coupled with the experiential curriculum, helped him fine-tune his service.

Chitakure became a member of the President’s Student Advisory Council, an elite group of undergraduate thought leaders who provide the university president with diverse insights into the student experience at UTSA. He used this opportunity to advocate for the concerns of students of color. Through this membership, he was able to strengthen the Multicultural Advisory Council, an organization he helped found which provides funds for identity-based student organizations. He also helped facilitate implicit bias training to three major student organizations on campus. In Spring 2021, Chitakure joined the UTSA Public Safety Committee to improve student and police relations on campus.

For his outstanding service to the Roadrunner community, Chitakure won the 2021 University Life Golden Feather Award. Reflecting on how close he was able to work with President Taylor Eighmy during his time on the President’s Student Advisory Council and how his concerns were not only heard but acted upon, Chitakure realized that his efforts to make the university a more welcoming, inclusive, and safe space for students will make UTSA a better place for all future Roadrunners.

“Seeing that UTSA is not stuck in its ways, that there’s room for listening and reacting and being proactive about what students want… I think that’s what makes me really proud about being a Roadrunner,” he said. “I feel like I can be a part of that forward movement, and once I become an alumni, I can look back and be proud of what the university has added for future generations.”

The Honors College not only encouraged Chitakure to make lasting changes for future students, but also made a huge impact on his future career. Through the opportunities provided by the Honors College, Chitakure was able to feel confident in his choice of major and position himself as a competitive candidate after graduation.

“Thanks to my involvement in the Honors College, I was able to meet actuaries that helped me learn more about the career and that has further solidified my decision to major in actuarial science,” he said. “This is a major that offers challenging analytical work with practical applications for complex calculus and statistics skills.”

This past summer, Chitakure interned with USAA as an Actuarial Analyst Intern. Upon his graduation in May 2022, Chitakure will begin a full-time position at USAA as an Actuarial Analyst III. Though he admits this position won’t have as obvious of an impact on the community, he aspires to hold a managerial position. As a manager, he’ll be able to address challenges in the workplace, making it better for his employees.

“It’s easy to want to have an impact as a student because you’re surrounded by other people who are trying to have an impact. It takes someone who’s bold to carry that all on past college when you’re alone and within an industry,” said Chitakure. “If you’re able to maintain the ideology of wanting to have some social impact and make the work you do positively affect society… I think that’s a bold future.”

The UTSA Honors College focuses on student development through one of the most experiential honors curricula in the nation. Its non-traditional, project-based approach provides students with unique opportunities outside of their major, empowering them to become leaders, develop as professionals, and reach intellectual achievement beyond coursework. As the only residential college at UTSA, the Honors College community is made up of roughly 1,700 high-achieving, academically driven students from across all majors and disciplines, including UTSA Top Scholars, Terry Scholars, and many of the university's nationally award-winning students. Visit the Honors College to learn more.

- Kelly Holguín