By Hayley Cox
At the conclusion of the 2013 academic year, a new class of University Scholars was selected at Texas A&M University. The University Scholars Program (UScholars) celebrates students who exemplify academic leadership, and develops these students both personally and professionally. It seeks not only to find the most motivated and curious Honors students, but to challenge them further.
To be eligible for UScholar invitation, students must be in the second semester of their first year at Texas A&M University holding a GPR of 3.5 or better, or have a cumulative GPR of 3.2 or better and be in the University Honors program. Each spring semester, over 2,000 eligible students are invited to apply, and 40 are selected as semi-finalists. These 40 semi-finals continue through an interview process resulting in 10-12 students being chosen as members of the UScholars program.
UScholars embody traits including high esteem for scholarship and learning, commitment to community, excellent communication skills, and an overall poise and maturity. Scholars are announced once final grades are posted for the spring semester.
Once chosen for the program, UScholars are required to enroll in a faculty mentor group, led by Honors faculty and centered on specific discussion topics for each semester. UScholars also assist the Prospective Student Center with recruiting and publicity events, constructing a network between current and prospective honors students at the university.
Ryan Trantham, a biomedical sciences major and member of the Class of 2015, was invited to the UScholars program in May of 2012. Trantham said he applied to the program because it offered “an opportunity to network with other honors students and faculty to facilitate [his] growth as a student and individual.”
He said, “My favorite parts of the program are those where I have the opportunity to interact with prospective honors students. Being able to share how the Honors Program and my time here at Texas A&M have benefitted me is one of the best parts of being a UScholar.” Trantham said he also enjoys faculty mentor groups, discussions through which scholars have the opportunity to get to know one another along with professors and faculty members.
Alexandria Payne, studying bioenvironmental sciences, was selected as a UScholar this spring. Payne said she was interested in challenging herself against what she heard was a very rigorous application process. She said, “I feel that now I will not only get the opportunity to compete for scholarships previously unavailable to me, but I will also have a chance to work on my debating and communication skills.”
The new UScholar said she is most excited about being a part of a faculty mentor group. This spring, a mentor group headed by Dr. Scholthof, a plant pathology and microbiology professor, discussed the mention of zombies in different cultures around the world. Payne said, “I am really looking forward to working on debate and communication skills over a fun topic like this!”
As is the case with all of our programs, the University Scholars program and the enriching experiences these students have through their interactions with faculty and one another are made possible through the generosity of the Association of Former Students. The Honors and Undergraduate Research Department would like to congratulate the newest University Scholars on this excellent achievement!
Amy Arndt – Psychology and English
Brenton Cooper – Economics
Trace Dressen – Mechanical Engineering
Adri Galvan – Molecular and Cell Biology
Garrett Goble – Computer Engineering
Aaron Griffin – Biochemistry, Genetics, Pure Mathematics
Hunter Hampton – International Studies
Judith Melton – Anthropology
Kyle Mitchell – Chemical Engineering
Bridget O’Connell – History
Alexandria Payne – Bioenvironmental Sciences
Kyle Sarradet – Biomedical Engineering
Kathryn Williams – Political Science
Brian Wrobel – Chemical Engineering