TILF Success Stories: Meet Jacob Troublefield
Posted by Admin on 02/20/2013
Like any “new kid,” Jacob Troublefield moved to Blanco High School his junior year looking to make new friends. UIL, he thought, would be great way to meet more people.
As an upperclassman, Jacob competed in Cross Examination Debate, Current Events, Social Studies, and One-Act Play.
“Many memories were created during those years,” he said, “but the most memorable moment would be the time spent practicing our play, Into the Woods, twice a week for four months my senior year.”
Before graduating high school in 2009, Jacob rounded out his senior year by placing in the Social Studies academic event and winning a TILF scholarship. Today, he’s a 22-year-old History major, studying in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. In the spring of 2012, Jacob began the Frank Denius Normandy Scholar Program (NSP), which allows students the opportunity to learn about WWII in a challenging and engaging way.
“I can honestly say that applying to this program was the best decision I have made thus far as an undergraduate,” he said. “I loved spending the semester studying the Second World War from its different vantage points.”
Though he admits the workload was demanding, Jacob is certain that the skills and friendships he’s gained will continue to be invaluable. He was one of 20 students selected to participate in the program, and spent part of his summer visiting WWII sites in London, Normandy, Paris, and Berlin.
“Of course, my favorite part of the program was traveling around Europe with the other Normandy Scholars and our five professors,” Jacob said.
His fondest memory was trekking through three miles of the “breathtaking” Omaha Beach and ending up the American Cemetery in Normandy.
“Our professors gave each of us a yellow rose, the name of the a Texan buried at the cemetery, and the location of the burial plot.” Jacob’s given soldier, Fred Gonzales, died a month after the invasion of Normandy.
“I stood at his grave for what felt like an hour, trying to imagine the life he gave up,” he said. “Many emotions poured over me during my meditation, but I specifically remember feeling grateful for Mr. Gonzales’ selfless sacrifice.”
Jacob’s experiences seeing other war sites and remnants of the Holocaust proved to be just as illuminating.
“In retrospect, I look at my trip as a much needed eye-opening experience,” he says. “It’s easy to become trapped by the day-to-day routine of being a student.”
Jacob came back to reality in the fall of 2012, taking on two Liberal Arts Honors (LAH) courses: British History, Literature, and Politics and Germany in the 20th Century.
“NSP taught me the importance of diplomacy between nations,” he said, “and I certainly see the importance of diplomacy and foreign policy in both LAH courses.”
Jacob has been involved with the Liberal Arts Council since his freshman year at UT, and currently serves as the Vice President of Activities for the History Honors Fraternity, Phi Alpha Theta.
“Receiving a TILF scholarship means being closer to financial security, which has been very helpful in allowing me to focus on my studies,” he said.
Throughout his time as a scholar of the Mike A. Myers Foundation, Jacob has also been happy to receive moral support.
“I always look forward to writing a letter to Mr. Myers at the end of each semester,” Jacob shares. “I really hope he has enjoyed reading them.”
He believes that their correspondence over the years has taught him to better express himself through the written word.
“This past summer I looked through the many letters I have sent him in the last three years,” Jacob recalls, “and I noticed that each semester the letter grows in length and contains more goals and accomplishments than the previous one.”
In fall 2012, Jacob began to pen the first chapter of his senior thesis.
“After thinking it over, I have decided to write about the Congo reform movement of the early 20th century,” he said. “I am hoping this thesis will become the magnus opus of my undergraduate career.”
To build up the background of his work, Jacob is intent on reading through numerous secondary sources and traveling.
“I am collecting newspaper articles from dozens of newspapers between 1898 and 1908,” he said, “and I plan on visiting archives in London, specifically the Morel Papers located at the British Library of Political and Economic Science.”
In just three years, Jacob’s already set a few life objectives for himself, including obtaining a Ph.D. in history, teaching at the collegiate level, conducting research, and writing books.
“Ultimately, I hope to use my degree and experiences to further my studies in history in graduate school,” he said. “However, I plan on taking time off before applying to focus on foreign languages. I am hoping to teach English in any Francophone country in Africa.”
Written by Jan Ross Piedad