In 2004, the Betty M. Unterberger Award for Outstanding Service to Honors Education was created and presented to Dr. Unterberger in recognition of her many years of service and significant contribution to the growth and development of honors education at Texas A&M. The 2018 recipient of the Unterberger Award is Dr. Marian Eide.
Marian Eide is an Associate Professor of English and Women’s & Gender Studies with areas of specialty in ethics, violence, and transnational literature. In addition to enjoying undergraduate honors teaching at all of levels, in recent years she has worked closely with a dozen undergraduates pursuing individual research projects that range from archival research on James Joyce’s revision practices to narratives from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Invested in this project-based approach, she finds that, pursuing individual research, students are inspired by big questions of academic significance and personal import to stretch their training and work energetically to tackle issues of great social and cultural significance. Eide is the author of over a dozen academic articles as well as the book Ethical Joyce (Cambridge, 2002) and a forthcoming volume Terrible Beauty: The Violent Aesthetic in Twentieth-Century Literature (University of Virginia Press). With retired Colonel Michael Gibler, she edited an oral narrative collection titled After Combat: True War Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan (University of Nebraska, Potomac Books, June 2018).
Dr. Eide’s work in creating a lab-like experience for undergraduate research in humanities and her mentorship of students in using their research skills to engage important questions is breaking new ground and creating new opportunities for students in liberal arts and is also reinforcing the value of liberal arts education for engaged citizenship.
The Director’s Award for Outstanding Service to Honors Programs was created in 2010 to recognize significant contribution to and support of the efforts of the University Honors Program on campus. The 2018 recipient of the Director’s Award is Dr. Sarah LeMire.
Sarah LeMire is the First Year Programs Coordinator at the Texas A&M University Libraries. Her work focuses on teaching first-year students about the variety of resources available to them in the Libraries and how to find, evaluate, and use information effectively. She was recognized as a member of the American Library Association’s 2015 class of Emerging Leaders and was a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2017.
Dr. LeMire’s collaboration with the Honors Housing Community to coordinate lessons from library faculty on information literacy and the in-depth feedback provided to freshman Honors students is helping to build important research and study skills that will be valuable throughout our students’ undergraduate careers and beyond.
The Wells Fargo Honors Faculty Mentor Award recognizes and rewards Honors faculty members whose dedication and commitment to excellence in education is truly outstanding. These faculty members encourage a spirit of inquiry in their students, are thoughtful teachers, and exhibit the strongest desire to train a new generation of thinkers and creators. This award is of special significance because recipients are nominated and selected by Honors Students. The 2018 Wells Fargo Faculty Mentor Award goes to Dr. Britt Mize.
Dr. Britt Mize graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in the University Scholars Program at Baylor University and completed his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He serves as an Associate Professor of English and has taught at Texas A&M since 2006; he previously taught at California State University – Long Beach. Dr. Mize’s research interests focus on the concept of tradition in the literature and language of the Old and Middle English periods. His courses include “Old English” and “History of the English Language.” He has previously been recognized with the Office of the Vice President for Research Scholarly and Creative Activities Award, The Student-Led Award for Teaching Excellence, the Glasscock Center for Humanities Research Stipendiary Fellowship, the College of Liberal Arts Faculty Research Enhancement Award, and the College of Liberal Arts Ray A. Rothrock Fellowship.
Texas A&M undergraduates Oscar Gonzalez ‘20, Ashley Hayden ‘19, Ashley Holt ‘20, and Quinton Lawton ’19 have been nominated for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s 2018 Astronaut Scholarship.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) seeks to support the brightest scholars in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) while commemorating the legacy of America’s pioneering astronauts. The ASF has supported undergraduate students across the nation in pursuing their education for more than 30 years. The Astronaut Scholarship is one of the most significant merit-based scholarships in STEM fields that can be awarded to an undergraduate. Students must be nominated by faculty based on achievements in their chosen field. Out of a pool of 42 Universities, ASF typically chooses one recipient from each school. However, Texas A&M undergraduate students have proved themselves to be incredibly strong candidates and ASF has awarded multiple of our students in the past.
Texas A&M University has had 30 honorees since the scholarship was established in 1984 by the surviving Mercury 7 astronauts. More than 100 astronauts have contributed to the cause, resulting in over $4 million in scholarships.
The LAUNCH office wishes all four of the 2018 nominees all the best while final selections are being made.
Ashley Holt ‘20
Ashley Holt, a biomedical engineering major from Kingswood, Texas, researches bacteriophages, the viruses of bacteria, and how new antibiotic strategies can help build defense against bacterial disease. Ms. Holt says “[her] short-term professional goal is to pursue a MD/PhD after [her] undergraduate degree. In the long-term, [she] want[s] to use clinical research to confront a global threat: antibiotic resistance.” She hopes to pursue a MD/Ph.D. and further develop her career in clinical research. She is a Beckman Scholar, a University Scholar, and was most recently awarded the 2018 Goldwater Scholarship.
Ashley Hayden ‘19
Ashley Hayden, a biology major and bioinformatics and psychology minor from Friendswood, Texas, researches the monarch butterfly’s ability to sense magnetic fields. Her work could become the model system for identifying the yet unknown magnetoreceptor molecule(s). Along with participating in multiple Honors programs within the University, Ms. Hayden is also a University Scholar, a Biology Honors Program Ambassador, and was most recently accepted as a LAUNCH Undergraduate Research Ambassador. Ms. Hayden’s long-term goals include to one day “teach in academia, lead a research lab, and if given the opportunity, even lead an honors program.”
Oscar Gonzalez ‘20
Oscar Gonzalez, a chemistry major and physics and mathematics minor from San Juan, Texas, focuses on solving technological problems and hopes to one day become a professor. Mr. Gonzales works in two research projects, both done at Dr. Sarbajit Banerjee’s lab. He synthesizes hematite films for photoelectrochemical water splitting and creates ways to push the deposition process towards higher film quality and higher water splitting efficiency. He is a Century Scholars Program mentor, facilitating the transition of high school seniors into their freshman year at Texas A&M. Mr. Gonzalez is also a Science Leadership Scholar and an active member of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Quinton Lawton ‘19
Quinton Lawton, a meteorology major and oceanography minor from Houston, Texas, researches the relation between tropical cyclone behavior and global climate change and is a LAUNCH Undergraduate Research Ambassador. “This position [as an Undergraduate Research Ambassador] lets me share my passion with others and encourage them to deepen their involvement in research. […] I don’t just participate but lead, while inspiring others to do the same”, says Mr. Lawton. Undergraduate Research Ambassadors strive to expand and enrich student engagement in undergraduate research. In long-term, Mr. Lawton “[hopes] to carve a new path forward and serve as an example for others long into the future.”
The recipient of the Astronaut Scholarship will be announced at the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Award Ceremony on September 20, 2018 at the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.
To read more about how LAUNCH: National Fellowships helps prepare outstanding students to compete for nationally-competitive awards such as the Astronaut Scholarship with the generous support of the Association of Former Students, please visit http://natlfellows.tamu.edu.
The LAUNCH office at Texas A&M University congratulates Ashley Holt ’19 and Oscar Gonzalez ’20 in being recognized for their outstanding academic achievements by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Ms. Holt, a biomedical engineering major from Kingwood, Texas, was selected as the 2018 Goldwater Scholarship recipient, and Mr. Gonzalez, a chemistry major from San Juan, Texas, has been named a Goldwater Honorable Mention.
Goldwater Scholarships are awarded to exceptional sophomore or junior undergraduates who intend to pursue a research careers in mathematics, natural sciences, or engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.
The Goldwater Foundation gave its first award in 1989 and has bestowed more than $40 million worth of scholarships. Hundreds of scholarships are awarded each academic year to students who have impressive academic qualifications and merit, as the average awardee has a 3.9 GPA. The one- and two-year scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Texas A&M University has produced 36 Goldwater Scholars since 1991.
Ms. Ashley Holt was nominated by Texas A&M University as part of a pool of thousands of applicants from colleges and universities nationwide. In 2016, Ms. Holt began working with Dr. Ry Young, named Distinguished Professor in March 2018, to discover the mechanism by which a specific virus destroys the outer membrane of its host cell. Ms. Holt’s research focused on how a phage, or virus, that infects E. coli releases harmful toxins and destroys bacterial cells during an outbreak. The results of her research will shine new light into treatment options for bacterial infections through her identification of a novel antibiotic mechanism. Ms. Holt has already published two papers based on her work in the Young Lab, directly reflecting the success of her research. She says that “[her] foundation in phage biology has impacted the evolution of [her] own career and guided [her] toward achieving a long-term goal: building defenses against bacterial disease by creating new antibiotic strategies.”
Among many of her other achievements, Ms. Holt was selected as a Beckman Scholar and a University Scholar in 2016. She is currently completing her Undergraduate Research Scholars thesis as part of her Capstone experience for the University Honors Program.
Ms. Holt is also the treasurer of Texas A&M’s chapter of Engineering World Health (EWH), where engineers are encouraged to solve health challenges occurring in the developing world. “I study ways to bring together science, mathematics, and engineering to improve human health,” says Ms. Holt. While her short-term goal is to pursue a MD/PhD after graduation, she plans to continue to do research on antibiotic resistance and hopes “to stand at the intersection of medicine, engineering, and scientific innovation.”
Mr. Oscar Gonzalez ‘20, a chemistry major, began working with Dr. Sarbajit Banerjee in 2017 investigating ways to control the dimensions of magnesium nanowires through the development of a coating that inhibits corrosion of the material. These studies are critical for the development of magnesium batteries which have the potential to be more shelf-stable and storage-efficient than current lithium batteries. He hopes to continue his research and complete graduate school so that he may teach his own research students about problems that inhibit further technological advancements.
Mr. Gonzalez serves as a peer mentor for the Century Scholars learning community. Mr. Gonzalez says that “being a mentor has helped [him] improve [his] presentation, leadership, and time management skills while at the same time helping freshmen make the transition from high-school to Texas A&M University.” As a result of those strong communication skills, Mr. Gonzalez has been recently selected as a 2018-2019 Undergraduate Research Ambassador. Ambassadors work to inspire broader engagement in undergraduate research by educating and serving the Texas A&M University community. They Represent LAUNCH at research, recruiting, and outreach events, give presentations to student organizations and meet with administrators, faculty, and prospective students. “I want to share and use everything I have learned with the rest of the world,” said Mr. Gonzalez. With an extensive research resume along with co-curricular and community activities, Mr. Gonzales personifies the expectations held by the Goldwater Foundation as a nominee.
To read more about how LAUNCH: National Fellowships helps prepare outstanding students to compete for nationally-competitive awards such as the Goldwater Scholarship with the generous support of the Association of Former Students, please visithttp://natlfellows.tamu.edu.
Students in LAUNCH programs are encouraged to stretch themselves and appreciate a broader context for the knowledge of their chosen disciplines. For students in the College of Liberal Arts or Mays Business School, this might mean digging into the intersection of their interests with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). For students in STEM fields, this might mean seeking to understand the social, artistic, and philosophical impacts of the work they are doing.In the post below, sophomore chemical engineering and microbiology double-major, Engineering Honors student and Undergraduate Research Ambassador Morgan Chapman ’20 discusses how he makes these kinds of connections through literature that digs into scientific themes.
– by Morgan Chapman
My favorite field of science is genetics. I love the intricate patterns, the delicate balance of products, the ballet of enzymes, proteins, and chemicals flowing and interlocking like the gears of a watch. If I am to be completely honest, I am hopelessly in love with all science, even when I hate learning about SN2 reactions or selective factors. I adore science because it creates a puzzle that is the universe with each piece being a puzzle in itself, each piece having a story.
These stories are no ordinary stories, they are the greatest of all time, deciphering the human genome, discovering radiation, creating ammonia. These stories are about us and what we have accomplished as a human race across the centuries. These tales of insight and creativity put me in the shoes of the original trailblazers: Marie Curie, Gregor Mendel, Pierre Pastuer, Ernst Haber. I get to think what they thought and make discoveries by their sides. Although entertaining and insightful, these stories gave me more than just an appreciation and a history of the fields, I gained the mentality needed to succeed in the fields.
The Violinist’s Thumb opened the doors for me to the world of evolution and genetics, I Contain Multitudes to microbiology, and The Disappearing Spoon to my love-hate relationship with chemistry.
The more I read, the more I connect with science, finding tidbits and enjoying the theories. What is more interesting is that I am able to connect with the knowledge I learn in these books to excel in my classes, helping me study indirectly, guiding me to think differently and predict answers before I am taught them in class.
These stories have provided me a new education, working in synergy with the one I get with my professors, in the end granting me with a fundamental understanding and enjoyment of the subjects I spend so much time studying. Although they may not be as enticing as a new episode of The Office these books do have something: they offer the greatest murders ever witnessed, the most daring rescues ever performed, even a few love stories sprinkled in the mix—in some cases, even a few study tips. For those seeking the truth, or those seeking a B on this next exam, I dare you to look no farther than scientific literature.
Chapman also provided a list of recommended reading for those who want to explore this genre further:
On May 4, 2018, the Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Foundation will announce the selection of 50 sophomore- and junior-level scholars dedicated to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care. Students who are selected will receive scholarships of up to $7000 and join a community of scholars whose dedication to sustainable public policy honors the legacy of the Arizona congressmen.
LAUNCH: National Fellowships is pleased to announce that Emma Watson ’20 has been nominated for this prestigious national award in the Tribal Public Policy category.
Watson is a junior public health major from Highland Village, Texas. She discovered a love of public policy and the power it holds during her senior year of high school at the American Legion Auxiliary’s Texas Girls State, a program she has continued to contribute to as a staff member. After arriving in Aggieland, Watson continued to pursue politically and service-oriented opportunities through membership in the MSC Student Conference on National Affairs (SCONA), participation in Elect Her: Aggie Women Lead!, acting as a Campus and Community Outreach Lead for College Station March For Our Lives, and interning with AT&T’s External and Legislative Affairs department. Watson is also involved with Youth Impact, a faith based ministry to connect with the youth of Bryan, the School of Public Health’s honors community known as The Broad Street Society, the Aggie Honor Council, International Student Mentor Association, RISE (Race, Identity, and Social Equity) fellowship, and she studied abroad in Singapore during the fall 2017 term.
This summer, Watson will intern with AT&T in the Chief Compliance Office, working specifically with the Chief of Staff Team of an officer. After she graduates, she plans to pursue a Master’s in public policy to ultimately work with legislation dealing with the intersection of social justice issues and health care.
Since 1996, Texas A&M has had seven Udall Scholars and two Honorable Mentions. The most recent Udall Scholar was Victoria Easton ‘15, who was the first TAMU Udall Scholar selected in the Tribal Public Policy category.
To read more about how LAUNCH: National Fellowships helps prepare outstanding students to compete for nationally-competitive awards such as the Udall Scholarship with the generous support of the Association of Former Students, please visit http://tx.ag/NatlFellows.