Applications Accepted for Rhodes, Marshall, and Mitchell Scholarships

Honors & Undergraduate Research invites applications for University nomination to the Rhodes, Marshall, and Mitchell Scholarships—three of the most prestigious academic scholarships in the world.  Although these awards are highly competitive, students from Texas A&M do routinely progress to the finalist stage, and many Aggies have received these awards.  In fact, since 2004, 13 Aggies have been selected as finalists for the Rhodes, Marshall, or Mitchell Scholarships, four Aggies have been selected as Rhodes or Marshall Scholars!

Why Apply?

These awards not only provide the opportunity to obtain a graduate degree in the UK or Ireland, they also provide the opportunity to join an elite cohort of colleagues and peers.  The Rhodes Scholarship provides one to three years of complete support for graduate study at Oxford University.  The Marshall Scholarship supports one to three years of graduate study at any university in the United Kingdom.  The Mitchell Scholarship is tenable for one year of graduate study at any university in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.  Awards include cost of tuition, fees, travel, books, and a monthly stipend.  [NB – in the UK/Ireland, a master’s degree may be easily completed in one calendar year.]

Who Should Apply?

Applications will be accepted from students who are entering their senior (i.e. graduating) year or who are recent graduates.  Competitive applicants must possess an excellent academic record (e.g. 3.7+ in a challenging curriculum), demonstrate significant leadership and service experience, have produced or be engaged in substantial scholarly or creative work, and show a high degree of motivation and clarity of personal vision.

For further information on the application process and to access additional resources, visit the National Fellowships website.

How Do I Apply?

To apply for these awards, students must first apply for University nomination through Honors & Undergraduate Research.  A preliminary application consists of the following:

  • A 1,000-word essay that addresses your academic interests and educational and long-term professional goals, with special emphasis on how study in the UK will benefit you.
  • A one to two-page resume that lists pertinent activities and accomplishments
  • A list of five to eight people who will write letters of recommendation (NB: at least four should be professors).  The list should include name, title, email address, and telephone number

Honors Grad Bianca Manago Receives Brown-Rudder Award

Bianca Manago '11Honors graduate Bianca Nicole Manago of Lansing, Kansas, has been selected as one of this year’s two recipients for the Brown Foundation-Earl Rudder Memorial Outstanding Student Award, the highest award given to undergraduates at Texas A&M University.

The award honors top students who exemplify the leadership and related traits of the late Gen. Earl Rudder, a World War II hero who served as president of Texas A&M from 1959 until his death in 1970.  It includes a cash gift of $5,00.

Manago graduated with a 3.9 grade point average while carrying a double major in Sociology and Philosophy. A University nominee to the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, she is a founding member and chair of One Love, a group of more than 70 students who participate in a number of social justice, sustainability and green initiatives at Texas A&M and in the local community.

She also volunteers her time to assist those at risk for suicide, for various local trash clean-up projects and other clean-up projects on Galveston Beach.  Manago is a founding member of One Aggieland, a group of social justice leaders, and was a member of the planning committee for Call Plus Response, an event that raised awareness of and provided practical ways to approach the issue of human trafficking.  She has served as a teaching assistant in the Sociology department for three years and has been conducting research on social cooperation under Dr. Jane Sell. In addition, she has completed internships with the Texas Transportation Institute and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Bianca impressed immediately – even the first day I met her,” one of her professors said in nominating her. “Later on, the students in the class were impressed, and began coming to my office asking me how they could be just like Bianca.” Another professor wrote “Bianca has stood out not only as the best student of her group, but also as one of the best students that I have had in my career.”

More information on the Brown-Rudder Award and other student recipients is available on the Texas A&M News & Information feed.

HSC Presents Faculty Mentor Awards to Bergbreiter, Caffey

The Texas A&M Honors Student Council will present Dr. David Bergbreiter and Dr. Stephen Caffey with the Wells Fargo Honors Faculty Mentor Award in recognition of their dedication and commitment to excellence in education at the annual Honors Recognition Ceremony, May 12, at the College Station Hilton and Convention Center.

Wells Fargo Faculty Mentors are nominated and then selected by open voting among students actively participating in the University Honors Program. Award recipients distinguish themselves by extending the mentoring relationship beyond the confines of the classroom, encouraging a spirit of inquiry in their students, being thoughtful teachers, and exhibiting the strongest desire to train a new generation of thinkers and creators. “Providing opportunities for students to develop academic and professional relationships with the very best faculty is a key principle in honors education,” says Jon Kotinek, Assistant Director for Honors and Undergraduate Research and co-advisor to Honors Student Council.

Dr. David Bergbreiter

Professor of Chemistry and holder of the Eppright University Professorship for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence, Dr. David Bergbreiter moved to Texas A&M after receiving his Ph.D. in 1974 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A Presidential Professor of Teaching Excellence, he has also previously received Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Research. In his 36 years at Texas A&M, he has directed the research of over 100 coauthors of his 240 peer-reviewed publications, has been selected as a Fish Camp namesake, and has “had the pleasure of introducing thousands of sophomores to the enchantment of OChem.”

Dr. Stephen Caffey

Dr. Stephen Caffey, Assistant Professor of Architecture, completed his dissertation research at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London and the Terra Foundation for American Art in Giverny, France. He earned the PhD in art and architectural history from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008, joining the TAMU faculty as Assistant Professor of Art and Architectural History the same year. His courses include surveys of the history of art and architecture from the Renaissance to the present day, History of Modern art, History of American Art and Visual Cultures of Islamic South Asia. Dr. Caffey is a faculty affiliate of the American Studies Program, Assistant Director of the Sustainability and Energy Laboratory and a faculty fellow of the Center for Heritage Conservation.Caffey’s research interests include visual and spatial literacies, the role of empire in identity formation and the integration of passive climate-responsive features from historic architecture into contemporary design practice.

Wells Fargo Honors Faculty Mentors receive a $1,000 award, made possible by a generous endowment from Wells Fargo. “But we know that good teachers aren’t simply motivated by monetary gain,” Kotinek adds. “The real prestige of this award is in that it is given by students in recognition of the countless hours that honors professors pour into developing and challenging the lives and minds of the student body.”

HUR Presents Faculty Awards

Honors and Undergraduate Research will recognize several outstanding faculty members at the upcoming Honors Recognition Ceremony, May 12 at the College Station Hilton.The honorees include Honors Teacher/Scholar award recipients Dr. Karen-Beth Scholthof and Dr. David Toback, Director’s Award winner Dr. Paul Parrish, and Betty M. Unterberger Award winner Dr. Elizabeth Tebeaux.

The Honors Teacher/Scholar Awards recognize Honors faculty members who demonstrate excellence in both teaching in Honors education and academic scholarship. Recipients of the award receive a grant of $4,000 to be used for any purpose that enhances the Teacher/Scholar’s research or teaching.

Dr. Karen-Beth Scholthof
Dr. Karen-Beth Scholthof

A Professor of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Dr. Karen-Beth Scholthof frequently teaches a number of Honors writing-intensive courses such as “Pathogens, the Environment and Society” (BESC 314), an Internship-Field Experience in the Bioenvironmental Sciences Program (BESC 484), and a communication-intensive senior seminar (BESC 481).In addition, she also developed and is the faculty director for the Bioenvironmental Sciences Honors track, the first such honors program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M.

Dr. Scholthof’s research focus is molecular plant virology. Currently, her lab is investigating the biology of Panicum mosaic virus (PMV) and its satellite virus, SPMV. Her secondary area of scholarly interest is the historiography of Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) in the early 20th century in the United States, which involves archival research on the early TMV workers in an attempt to understand how TMV was developed as a tool while defining the nature of a virus. Her research and writing on the history of plant virology has been incorporated into her graduate and undergraduate courses.

Dr. Scholthof’s teaching expertise has been recognized by the American Phytopathological Society for “Excellence in Teaching Award” (2004), and at Texas A&M by the Center for Teaching Excellence/University Writing Center “W-Course Teaching Award” (2008), and the Association of Former Students “Distinguished Teaching Award-University Level” (2009).

Dr. David Toback
Dr. David Toback

A Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dr. David Toback is the Thaman Professor for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence. He received his B.S. in physics from M.I.T. in 1991, his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1997, and joined the faculty at Texas A&M in 2000. His research has focused on the search for new fundamental particles at the world’s highest energy particle accelerators, the Fermilab Tevatron (outside Chicago, IL) and the Large Hadron Collider (in Geneva, Switzerland). The search for new particles is in part motivated by the tantalizing possibilities offered by the theory of Supersymmetry (SUSY), which helps explain many of the mysteries of particle physics, including the earliest moments in the Universe after the Big Bang, and the existence of the Dark Matter that pervades the Universe today.

Dr. Toback has received numerous awards for his teaching and research, including the Student Led Award for Teaching Excellence: SLATE (Fall 2008 and Spring 2010), the Arthur J. and Wilhelmina D. Thaman Professor for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence (2008), The Association of Former Students Distinguished Teaching Award, University Level (2007), The Association of Former Students Distinguished Teaching Award, College Level (2004), and the Montague Scholarship Award from the Center for Teaching Excellence (2002).

The Director’s Award for Outstanding Service to Honors Education recognizes faculty members who devote many years of service and make a significant contribution to the growth and development of honors education at Texas A&M University. Director’s Award recipients have made major contributions to the ongoing success of the University Honors Program.

Dr. Paul Parrish
Dr. Paul Parrish

This year’s recipient, Dr. Paul A. Parrish, is Regents Professor of English and has taught at Texas A&M since 1974. His research and teaching interests focus on British literature and culture in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with particular attention to Shakespeare, John Donne, and John Milton. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of five books and has published some fifty articles in a variety of scholarly venues. In addition to his teaching and research, he has served in several administrative capacities, including Executive Director of the South Central Modern Language Association, Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts, Head of the English Department, and Interim Dean of Faculties. He has taught a number of honors courses and honors tutorials during his 37 years at Texas A&M and has mentored several students as Honors Research Fellows. He received the TAMU Diversity Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in 1995, the first International Service Award in 1997, the Teacher-Scholar Award in 1997, the Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching in 2000, and Faculty Mentor Recognition in 2001. He is retiring after 40 years of university-level teaching in August, 2011.

The Betty M. Unterberger Award for Outstanding Service to Honors Education was created in 2004 and presented to Dr. Unterberger in recognition of her many years or service. The award is presented to faculty who contribute broadly to the advancement of Honors education and undergraduate research at Texas A&M University. Previous recipients include Ms. Cindy Raisor and Dr. Edward A. Funkhouser.

Dr. Elizabeth Tebeaux, Professor of English, has been a member of the Texas A&M faculty for more than three decades. She holds four degrees, including one in math, and has focused her entire career on the teaching of writing, particularly technical writing. Tebeaux has for many years worked with students in the Honors section of technical writing who are preparing undergraduate research proposals.

Tebeaux is the recognized expert in technical writing in the English Renaissance, and in the past three years, she has launched research on safety communication with the goal of improving user manuals of agricultural equipment. She also embeds much of her research on procedures into her technical writing classes. This year she has developed a new technical writing course for the Department of Chemical Engineering that includes cases on engineering ethics and development of routine reports that require students to research current and future issues in chemical engineering.

Furthermore, she has been a tireless advocate for Explorations, the Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal so that students learn how to prepare articles that reflect best practices in organization and clarity for a broad audience. “We want Explorations to be interesting to a wide range of readers,” she comments. “We also want to showcase high-quality student research that will likely have an impact on the people of Texas.”

A division of Undergraduate Studies, Honors and Undergraduate Research provides high-impact educational experiences and challenges motivated students in all academic disciplines to graduate from an enriched, demanding curriculum. Opportunities for Honors study at Texas A&M University were initiated in the mid-1960s in what was then the College of Arts and Sciences. Subsequently, the Colleges of Liberal Arts, Science, and Geosciences co-sponsored an Honors Program, and by 1968 all of the academic colleges had joined in the endeavor.

In recent years, the growth of Honors study opportunities has been dramatic – for the 2010-2011 academic year, over 300 sections of Honors courses are offered, and in the fall 2010 semester alone, approximately 3,000 students engaged in Honors study at Texas A&M.

Students participating in the University Honors Program may also take advantage of optional structured honors courses and study sequences offered in several academic colleges: the Mays Business School Honors Program, the Engineering Scholars Program (ESP) in the Dwight Look College of Engineering, and the Honors Plan in the College of Liberal Arts. Additionally, there are departmental Honors Study Sequences available for majors in Aerospace Engineering, Agricultural Economics, Bioenvironmental Sciences, Communication, English, History, Mathematics, Political Science, and Psychology.

For further information on the Honors faculty awards and the Honors Recognition Ceremony, contact Honors and Undergraduate Research, (979) 845-1957 or

POLS Major Ana Monzón Receives Fulbright Grant to Brazil

POLS Major Ana Monzón Receives Fulbright Grant to Brazil
TAMU Fulbright Scholar Ana Monzón

Honors & Undergraduate Research has announced that political science major Ana Monzón has been awarded a grant by the Fulbright Program for U.S. Students to study in Brazil for the 2011-2012 academic year.Monzón completed her degree requirements in December, 2010, and is currently interning in Washington D.C. with Meyers & Associates through the Texas A&M Public Policy Internship Program.

Sponsored by the Department of State, The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards scholarships to U.S. graduating seniors, graduate students, young professionals, and artists selected through a national, merit-based competition for study and research abroad. Academic fields include the social sciences, humanities and the sciences. The Program emphasizes leadership development. Approximately 1,500 scholarships are awarded each year for study in over 150 countries.Notable Fulbright alumni include novelist Jonathan Franzen, US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, poet Sylvia Plath, actor John Lithgow, and entrepreneur Amar Bose, chairman and founder of the Bose Corporation.

While at Texas A&M, Monzón co-founded the Guatemalan Student Association and was president for two years. As a member of the Academy for Future International Leaders, she conceived and completed an international service project through which she traveled to Guatemala to help orphanages set up and maintain subsistence farms to help feed under-nourished children. While a student, she was also an active member of Sigma Alpha Lambda, a national leadership and honors organization, Aggies for International Development, and ONE Aggieland.After working as Project Assistant for the Latin American and African Programs at the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, she developed an interest in international agriculture, and now intends to pursue a master’s degree in agricultural economics, along with a law degree. In the future, she hopes for a career in international human rights and conflict resolution.

With the support of the Fulbright grant, Monzón will spend the 2011-2012 academic year studying Brazil’s unique domestic advances and approaches in the global agro-food sector. She study and conduct research alongside professors and researchers from Universidade Rural Federal De Pernambuco, where she will take introductory courses on agricultural mechanics, buildings, and mechanization, and/or technology of food under the Rural Technology Department. In the second half of the year, she will take introductory courses in animal science and food engineering under the Department of Basic Sciences at Universidade de Sao Paulo, the largest education and research institution of Brazil.

Monzón is the second Texas A&M undergraduate to be awarded a Fulbright grant in the last two years, with Nuclear Engineering major Kristna Yancey securing a grant to study reactor design at CERN in Switzerland for the 2010-2011 academic year.In the past ten years, 22 Texas A&M students have received Fulbright Grants, studying such diverse fields as archaeology, engineering, and journalism in countries ranging from Chile to Japan to Poland.

The application cycle for Fulbright Grants for the 2012-2013 cycle is currently underway, and application workshops will be held on April 28 and 29 at 12:30 pm in Henderson Hall, Room 103. For more information, please contact Mr. Kyle Mox, National Fellowships Coordinator at (979) 845-1957 or

Brown Foundation Gives $15 Million to Draw Future Honors Students to Texas

A $15 million gift from the Craig and Galen Brown Foundation of Houston aims to make Texas A&M University even more attractive to incoming freshmen of the highest academic caliber.

This most recent gift — annual donations made through the Texas A&M Foundation over a 50-year period — significantly expands the Brown Foundation Scholars program. Since 1992 the Brown Foundation has offered four-year scholarships to more than 125 high-achieving freshmen in coordination with the university’s Honors and Undergraduate Research office to recruit stellar high school graduates, predominantly National Merit Scholars.

Texas A&M ranks among the country’s top 10 institutions in enrollment of new National Merit Scholars and is tops in Texas and second nationally among all public universities, according to a January report by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

“The Brown Foundation’s goal is to attract those students who are academically gifted and very involved in school organizations as well as community and volunteer activities. These students are individuals who will make a significant difference now and in the future,” said Craig C. Brown, the Foundation’s President and Chairman of the Board.

“With their excellent people skills, Brown Scholars are role models and leaders for A&M and their community,” said Brown, a 1975 graduate of Texas A&M. “They understand and practice the philosophy of the Brown Foundation: ‘In life, it is not what you take with you, but what you leave behind that counts.'”

The Brown Foundation’s gift is expected to benefit up to 70 students annually across the Dwight Look College of Engineering, College of Science and College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. The Honors and Undergraduate Research office will nominate incoming freshmen on the basis of academic excellence, extracurricular activities and demonstrated leadership. The selected students will receive a four-year scholarship from the Brown Foundation as well as scholarships provided by Honors and Undergraduate Research and their respective colleges.

For the full story, visit the Dwight Look College of Engineering news page.

Junior El-Halwagi Selected as Truman Scholar, First Aggie in 17 Years

Omar El-Halwagi
Omar El-Halwagi

The Harry S. Truman Foundation has announced that Texas A&M University junior Omar El-Halwagi has been selected as a recipient of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which provides up to $30,000 for students who are pursuing careers in public service. El-Halwagi is the first Texas A&M student to receive this honor since 1994.

El-Halwagi is one of 60 Scholars selected from among 602 candidates nominated by 264 colleges and universities. Each selection panel interviewed Finalists from a 3 – 4 state region and generally elected one Scholar from each state. Each panel typically included a university president, a federal judge, a distinguished public servant, and a past Truman Scholarship winner. Truman Scholars are selected on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability, and likelihood of ‘making a difference.’

Each Scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be US citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be in the top quarter of their class, and be committed to careers in government or the not-for-profit sector.

A graduate of A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, Omar El-Halwagi is a Management and Business Honors major with a minor in Communications. He is the co-founder and president of the Texas A&M Speech and Debate Team and was the 2009 Pi Kappa Delta national champion in extemporaneous speaking. He has been the Administrative Coordinator the Freshman Business Initiative and has proposed and led his own special topics course for the Mays Business School. A participant in the 2009 China-US Relations Conference, El-Halwagi has also interned with the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the Public Policy Internship Program. He is also involved in undergraduate research on employment discrimination and identity performance. After graduation, he will pursue a joint degree in law and social policy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. In the long term, he hopes to build a career as an employment discrimination lawyer and, later, a public official.

El-Halwagi is the first Texas A&M student selected as a Truman Scholar in over 15 years. The most recent Texas A&M student to be selected as a Truman Scholar was Kellie (Sims) Butler, in 1994. In the last ten years, nine Aggies have progressed to finalist, the most recent being International Studies major Karthik Venkatraj ’10.

Established by Congress in 1975, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation is the official federal memorial to the nation’s 33rd president. The foundation awards $30,000 scholarships to undergraduates who wish to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or public service. Truman Scholars are recognized as “change agents” and have the “passion, intellect, and leadership potential that in time should enable them to improve the ways that public entities…serve the public good.” Notable Truman Scholars include Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, broadcaster and political advisor George Stephanopoulos, US Ambassador to the UN Susan E. Rice, and Ford Foundation President Luis Ubiñas.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to our thirty-third President. The Foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The activities of the Foundation are supported by a special trust fund in the US Treasury. There have been 2790 Truman Scholars elected since the first awards were made in 1977.

The 2011 Truman Scholars will assemble May 17 for a leadership development program at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, and receive their awards in a special ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, on May 22, 2011. For a listing of the 2011 Scholars and more information on the Foundation, see

For more information, please contact Kyle Mox, National Fellowships Coordinator, Honors & Undergraduate Research, at 845-1957 or

From Promise to Achievement