New Honors Course on Adoption Narratives Offered

Many students may be interested in a new course being team-taught by Dr. Claudia Nelson and Dr. Liz Talafuse: ENGL 394-200: “The History and Development of Adoption Narratives.”

The course will survey representations of adoption primarily in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American, British, and Canadian fiction, children’s literature, memoir, drama, film, and social science writing to explore the development of the adoption narrative as a genre. Throughout the semester, the class will investigate what narratives of adoption suggest about the concept of “family.” Questions to be considered include: What does “family” mean if the biological component is absent? How are the concepts of “family” and “blood” connected? How does the adopted child understand his/her position in the adoptive family? How do authors and readers respond to adoptive parenthood? The literature included in this course will examine adoption from the perspectives of adoptive families, biological families, and adopted children. Furthermore, we will investigate how representations of adoption have/have not changed over time.

The course is MWF, 12:40 pm to 1:30 pm. It will count as an upper-level Humanities course towards both Foundation and University Honors.

For further information, contact Dr. Nelson – – or Dr. Talafuse –  Further course information may be found via the course listing at

Four Aggies Honored by Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program


Four Texas A&M University undergraduates have been honored by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program: Tyler Behm ’12 and Ashwathi “Abbee” Mohan ’12 were selected as scholars and Matthew Grunewald ’12 and Yen-Nan Lin ’12 were selected as Honorable Mentions. This is the first time since 2001 that all four University nominees were recognized in the Goldwater competition.

The Goldwater Scholarship is the United States’ premier undergraduate award for the fields of math, science, and engineering. In this year’s competition, 278 sophomores and juniors out of a pool of over 1,100 students were selected as Goldwater Scholars. To date, 37 Texas A&M University students have been honored as Goldwater Scholars.


Tyler Behm ’12 graduated from MacArthur High School in Lawton, Oklahoma. As a physics and math double-major, his primary research interests include dark energy and telescope construction. His research under Dr. Darren DePoy will contribute to the Dark Energy Camera in Chile, and his research with Dr. Peter McIntyre will debut on the Discover Channel show “Weird or What?” in the fall of 2010. This past semester, Tyler studied abroad at University College London, and in the future, he hopes to lead international astronomy research projects.


In reaction to his selection, Behm commented, “This is a total shock to my system. If a nuclear reactor ever experienced an emotion, this would be it.” When asked how his selection as a Goldwater Scholar will aid his progress towards his long-term goals, he remarked, “I want to be a leader in the field of astrophysics, and the Goldwater Scholarship has given me the resources and energy to make it happen.”


Ashwathi Mohan ‘12 is a Molecular and Cell Biology major, Classics minor who attended Health Careers High School in San Antonio. A University Scholar, she is currently working in Dr. Steve Lockless’ laboratory, studying evolutionarily conserved networks of amino acids in proteins and their role in intein function. She plans to pursue an M.D.Ph.D. and a career in biomedical research, focusing on the study and treatment of metabolic disorders.


“Aside from the initial surprise of being selected, it’s really rewarding to have my research experiences and interests recognized and commended at the national level,” Mohan commented. “It’s also a great feeling to be representing A&M at the national level.” When asked about the importance of the Goldwater Scholarship program, Mohan continued, “The Goldwater Scholarship stresses even more the need for advances in science and research. [It] has definitely strengthened my conviction to pursue a career in biomedical research and has made accomplishing this goal quite a bit easier.”

Honorable mention Matthew Grunewald ’12 is a Genetics and Biochemistry double-major from Madison, Mississippi. A University Scholar, his major research interests are genomic engineering, specifically as applied to treatment of genetic disorders. He will pursue a PhD in Biochemistry, and he was recently selected to participate in the German government’s DAAD-RISE program, through which he will conduct research on adult stem cells in the coming summer.


Also selected as an Honorable Mention is Yen-Nan Lin ’12, who attended the Texas Academy of Math and Science. A Regents Scholar, Lin is a Chemistry major whose  primary research interest is neural engineering. In the long-term, he will focus on neural cell regeneration and degeneration, with application towards neurological disorders such as dementia, spinocerebellar ataxia, and dystonia. He also volunteers with Brian’s House, a non-profit childcare program for children with AIDS and other illnesses, and has served as a camp counselor at Camp Summit, a summer camp for children with mental disorders.

Goldwater Scholars are selected on the basis of academic merit, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. and pursue research careers. 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. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 73 Rhodes Scholarships, 102 Marshall Awards (7 of the 40 awarded in the United States in 2009), and numerous other distinguished fellowships. Recent Aggie Goldwater Scholars of note include Joel Turtle ’11, Robert E. Rogers ‘11 Rhodes Scholarship finalist Andrew Matteson ’08, Hertz Foundation Fellow Luke Hunter ’08, and Rhodes Scholar Nick Anthis ’05.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields. In its twenty-four-year history, the Foundation has awarded 6,079 scholarships worth approximately fifty-eight million dollars. The Trustees plan to award about three hundred scholarships for the 2011–2012 academic year.

To apply, students must first be nominated by the University. For further information on the nomination procedure, contact Kyle Mox, National Scholarships Coordinator, at 845-1957.




University Scholar Katy Ralston Wins Major Journalism Prize

Katy Ralston , a sophomore communication major at Texas A&M University from Rogers, Texas, has been awarded a 10-day journalism study trip to Japan by the Scripps Howard Foundation. Ralston is one of nine winners chosen out of hundreds of applicants for the annual Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Competition.

Ralston has worked at Texas A&M’s student newspaper, The Battalion, as a news and enterprise reporter since her freshman year. She also writes for “The Invisible Jungle,” a student-operated program produced by KAMU, Texas A&M’s National Public Radio affiliate.

The competition, established in 1984 in cooperation with the Indiana University School of Journalism, honors the memory of the journalist who led Scripps Howard Newspapers from 1922-1953 and United Press International from 1912-1920.

Mike Philipps, president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation, said the prize responds to the need for today’s student journalists to better understand international affairs, adding that of the nearly 250,000 American students who study abroad each year, only about 10 percent select a country in Asia.

The expenses-paid trip will be led by Bradley J. Hamm, dean of the journalism school at Indiana University and a Roy W. Howard scholar, who has extensive travel experience throughout Asia. Travel begins June 11 and includes excursions in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima, the site of the first atomic bomb dropped on any city, where events to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II are planned for the students.

“We are honoring the legacy of Roy Howard with this reporting award because he lived a global life as a reporter and editor long before most journalism schools taught about international reporting,” said Hamm. “These young journalists will have the opportunity of a lifetime to learn about the media and culture of Japan.”

The winners, whose entries represent print, broadcast and online media, were chosen for the high quality of their work, essays about their interest in international affairs and letters of recommendations.

The Battalion, the student newspaper at Texas A&M since 1893, is a 2008 ACP Newspaper Pacemaker winner. It is a forum for student expression, which serves the university community by reporting the news of the day and by developing opinions regarding issues of interest to readers, say advisers. The Battalion trains students in news journalism by setting high standards and by providing the resources and guidance to reach those standards, organizers say.

Dedicated to excellence in journalism, the Scripps Howard Foundation is a leader in industry efforts in journalism education, scholarships, internships, literacy, minority recruitment/development and First Amendment causes. It is the corporate foundation of The E.W. Scripps Company, a diverse, 131-year-old media enterprise with interests in television stations, newspapers, local news and information Web sites, and licensing and syndication.

Contact: Tura King, News & Information Services, (979) 845-4670 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (979) 845-4670 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or Sue Porter, The E. W. Scripps Company, (513) 977-3030 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (513) 977-3030 end_of_the_skype_highlighting; or Cheri Shipman, The Battalion news advisor, (979) 458-1207 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (979) 458-1207

Students Asked to Nominate Faculty for Mentoring Award

Former Wells Fargo Award Recipient Prof. Rodney Hill (ARCH)
Former Wells Fargo Award Recipient Prof. Rodney Hill (ARCH)

Students in the Honors community have the opportunity to nominate their best professors for the 2010 Wells Fargo Honors Faculty Mentor Award. The award, which carries a cash stipend and public recognition, is given annually to an outstanding Honors Faculty. Students must nominate faculty for this award.

Nomination forms are available at and are due by Wednesday, March 24, 2010.

PKP to Provide FREE Princeton Review Strategy Session

As part of the upcoming Phi Kappa Phi “Blitz Week,” The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi will be providing a FREE strategy session with the Princeton Review on Thursday, February 25, to the first 50 students who RSVP.

During the FREE session, representatives from the Princeton Review will provide some valuable strategies for tests such as the GRE, LSAT, MCAT, or GMAT.

When: 4 pm to 6 pm

Where: Architecture Building C – Room 207

Why: Because you want to succeed! And because it’s FREE.

To RSVP to this FREE strategy session, send an email to Kyle Mox ( with the subject line “RSVP Princeton Review.” The RSVP must contain the following information:

1) Full name

2) Current major

3) Current classification and date of expected graduation

4) Post-baccalaureate plans (e.g. med school, grad school, don’t know)

5) Test in which you are most interested (e.g. GRE, LSAT, don’t know)

“History of Medicine” Study Abroad Program in Germany Seeks Students

The “Germany History of Medicine Program” offers students in life science majors an opportunity to travel to Europe for a 5-week program during second summer session (in 2010 from July 3 through August 7).  The program is well suited for pre-medical, pre-veterinary medical and pre-graduate school students interested in any aspect of biomedicine.

The program is designed to expose students to the historical developments in human and veterinary medicine in Europe and the current state of medicine, medical practice, and health care in European countries.  Students will receive 4 hours of credit for VTPP 401 (History of Medicine) and 2-4 additional hours of Directed Studies credit (VTPP 485).  In addition, the VTPP 401 course counts as 4 hours of International Cultural and Diversity credit (6 needed for graduation from TAMU).

Students live with English-speaking host families in Bonn, Germany, and along with a specialized series of lectures by A&M faculty, get to hear guest lecturers in history, history of medicine, homeopathy, and health care in Europe as well as participate in special guided tours of hospitals (human and veterinary), medical and veterinary medical schools, research institutes, zoos, and museums throughout Germany and in Vienna, Austria.  Among our excursions is a day-long visit to the Heart and Diabetes Center of North-Rhine Westfalen, one of the largest heart and kidney transplant hospitals in Germany and where students get to gown and observe cardiac surgeries and meet with the physicians and engineers responsible for their cardiac device unit (ventricular assist devices and total artificial hearts).

For Summer II, there are still about 6 slots left.  The estimated program fee for 2010 is $6,300, which does not include airfare to and from Bonn (about $1,000).  There is financial aid available, and students who hold a four-year Honors Programs scholarship are eligible for a $1,000 study abroad stipend.

In terms of prerequisites, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better and 55 hours of academic coursework completed, both as of December 2009.  Students from a wide array of majors are eligible for the program, although typical majors include BIMS, BIOL, BMEN, and ANSC. Students who are unsure whether their major qualifies for the program should contact Dr. Jeremy Wasser (

Further program information is available on the Study Abroad Program Office (SAPO) website:

Further questions about the program should be directed to Dr. Jeremy Wasser at

Phi Kappa Phi Holds Blitz Week on Texas A&M Campus

Representatives from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi will host Blitz Week on the campus of Texas A&M University with informational sessions, social gatherings and special events from February 22-26, 2010. During

this week, students will have the opportunity to meet with local chapter officers as well as representatives from the Society’s national headquarters. They will be treated to a Resource Expo, Honors Recognition Social, Princeton Review Graduate and Professional School session, free raffles and much more.

Texas A&M University’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1949 and has inducted 11,267 members, including United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective all-discipline honor society. Phi Kappa Phi inducts annually approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni. The Society has chapters on more than 300 select colleges and universities in North America and the Philippines. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify.

Since its founding, more than 1 million members have been initiated. Some of the organization’s more notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, NASA Astronaut Wendy Lawrence, writer John Grisham, opera singer Renee Fleming, journalist and broadcaster Deborah Norville and Netscape founder James Barksdale.

The Society has awarded approximately $13 million since the inception of its awards program in 1932. Today, more than $800,000 is awarded annually to qualifying members and non-members through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad scholarships, member and chapter awards and grants for local and national literacy initiatives. The Society’s mission is “To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.”

For more information on Phi Kappa Phi, please call 1-800-804-9880 or visit

From Promise to Achievement