Tag Archives: Adelia Humme

Former Student Spotlight – Keri Stephens

One of the most powerful forces on any campus is a group of focused, motivated students. This is, in part, because the university as a marketplace of ideas is intended to be a place where students have the opportunity to put learning into practice. Student passion for progress has contributed to all sorts of change throughout the history of higher education.

One person who was effected significant change for Honors at Texas A&M is Dr. Keri Stephens ’90 (née Keilberg), who graduated with a B.S. in biochemistry and received the Rudder Award. Dr. Stephens now serves as an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Texas, where she earned her M.A. And Ph.D. in organizational communication. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Stephens did technical sales, marketing, and corporate training for Hewlett Packard, Zymark Corporation, and EGI.

Dr. Stephens visited with University Honors Program staff on a recent campus visit and shared some of her experiences and contributions that have shaped the Honors experience at Texas A&M for over 25 years.

In 1989-90, as president of Honors Student Council, Stephens was part of the committee that established special housing for Honors students. Stephens recalled that she was concerned that an Honors residential community not become “isolated nerds.” This might have been a particular concern to Stephens, who was a role-model for involvement on campus, winning a Buck Weirus Spirit award her sophomore year.

Visiting with Honors staff, Stephens was glad to hear that the Honors Housing Community has built a strong reputation for being highly involved in campus traditions such as Silver Taps, Muster, and Midnight Yell, and regularly attends football games together.

Honors students at Midnight Yell in 2015
Honors students at Midnight Yell in 2015

Another way in which Stephens has bequeathed a legacy to Honors students is in providing graduation recognition. She recalls that up until her senior year there was strong opposition to any kind of special recognition at graduation. Stephens attended a national conference as president of the Mortar Board Society in December of 1989 at which she observed that Texas A&M was the only school represented that did not have some kind of regalia for exceptional graduates. Returning to campus, Stephens led the leadership of Mortar Board Society in drafting a proposal and creating a prototype stole to present to Dr. William Mobley, then president of the university. Stephens felt she could get an audience with President Mobley since she had made a positive impression on him while traveling together to recruit students to the university.

Gold Latin Honors stoles featuring patches for the Foundation Honors, University Honors, and University Undergraduate Research Fellows distinctions
Latin Honors stoles featuring patches for the Foundation Honors, University Honors, and University Undergraduate Research Fellows distinctions

Stephens recalls that President Mobley didn’t let her get far into her proposal before interrupting to confirm that Texas A&M was the only school represented at the national meeting that did not present special regalia to Honors graduates. When Stephens confirmed this, he asked if she could make the stoles available for May graduations. A process that the Mortar Board officers imagined might take years was accomplished in just a few months. Now, close to 10,000 students each year receive that gold satin stole at graduation, recognizing their accomplishment as cum laude, manga cum laude, summa cum laude graduates.

In gratitude for her significant contributions to the culture of Honors at Texas A&M, Dr. Jonathan Kotinek, Associate Director for the University Honors Program presented Dr. Stephens with a gold stole and patches signifying Foundation Honors, University Honors, and University Undergraduate Research Scholars as well as a certificate of appreciation.

Honors staff Adelia Humme '15 (left) and Jonathan Kotinek '99 present a stole and certificate of appreciation to Keri Stephens '90
Honors staff Adelia Humme ’15 (left) and Jonathan Kotinek ’99 (right) present a stole and certificate of appreciation to Keri Stephens ’90 (center)

Dr. Stephens closed her visit by sharing that her undergraduate research experience was so formative (especially in helping her decide against a career in biochemistry research), that she now makes a point to guide students in research and has mentored 22 undergraduate projects.

We love to share news and success stories from our Honors Former Students! If you have something to share with our current, former, and prospective students and their families, please contact honors@tamu.edu.

Former student connects University Honors to graduate school plans

Adelia Humme ’15 is a graduate of the University Honors program and served LAUNCH as an Honors advisor in the 2015-2016 year. She is now pursuing a master’s in Publishing & Writing at Emerson College. She hopes to demonstrate to new Honors students how their involvement in University Honors can help them achieve their post-graduation goals.

One of the frequent questions that I hear from prospective students who are considering University Honors is What’s the benefit of joining Honors? Students facing the options of various academic programs, as well as more than 800 student organizations at Texas A&M, are right to wonder how their time commitments contribute to their end goals of pursuing further schooling or a career. One way I respond to this question is by emphasizing that any Honors program is what you make of it. LAUNCH provides opportunities and encourages students to reflect on them, but how much you engage is up to you. The second half of my response is more concrete because hearing examples of how I drew connections between my Honors experience and my graduate school plans may help students better visualize how they can benefit from University Honors too.

Firstly, Honors courses gave me the opportunity to focus on the subjects that interest me most and to tailor my coursework to my career plans. Projects in my Honors classes often allowed me to choose a topic to research throughout the semester. One such course was introductory marketing for business minors, which I course contracted for Honors credit. My professor and I designed an independent study project in which I assessed the impacts of digitalization on the book publishing industry, the field I planned to enter after graduation. When I applied for a master’s in Publishing and Writing at Emerson College a year later, I referenced the report and annotated bibliography I created in that marketing class in my application essay.

I was also able to link my mentorship involvement in Honors to my graduate school plans. In the application essay, I described how serving as a Sophomore Advisor (SA) taught me how to exercise judgement, to be patient, and to be open to new perspectives, all skills that will serve me well in my next degree. Since being an SA was so impactful to my college experience, I also learned that finding success in graduate school will greatly depend on how I invest my time outside of the classroom. I will have to intentionally seek opportunities for professional development and not rely only on my coursework.

My capstone, too, was instrumental in shaping my college learning. As an Undergraduate Teacher Scholar, I was surprised to discover how much behind-the-scenes effort goes into planning a class. My faculty mentor and I were responsible for creating a course webpage, selecting specific editions of texts for our class, arranging classroom space, and calculating grade averages, all work that I never saw as a student. I realized that every career involves much more than meets the eye and that I need firsthand experience in the publishing industry to understand the challenges of that field.

Another influential aspect of my Honors involvement was University Scholars, a personal development program with a rigorous selection process. The program developed my skills in interviewing, respectful debate, and public speaking to both small groups and large audiences. I anticipate using all of these qualities during my master’s degree and especially in my dream job as a book editor. The flexibility and creativity of University Scholars built my confidence in my career plans and in my ability to share those plans with professors, classmates, and potential employers.

As incoming freshmen, you may not yet be able to see how all the puzzle pieces of your college activities fit together – and that’s okay! One purpose of the first-year seminar for University Honors freshmen is to help you begin connecting those dots. Four years from now, when you prepare to graduate, you may be as surprised as I was to see how much each of your experiences contributed to “the big picture.”

Honors Reunion (A Letter to Honors Freshmen)

By Adelia Humme ’15

Dear Honors freshmen,

Right now, your biggest concern is probably How will I make friends? You may be wondering Why do I have to live in the Honors Housing Community? Or What if I don’t like my roommate?

Worry no more. Living in Honors Housing is one of the best experiences you can have at Texas A&M. It’s one thing for me, as an Honors Advisor, to tell you that you’ll make plenty of friends. It’s another thing for me, as a former Honors student who lived in Lechner Hall for two years, to tell you that my cohort of fellow Honors students is still in contact more than a year after graduation. For Memorial Day weekend, more than a dozen former students from the University Honors program, Class of 2015, reunited in Houston. Our weekend included volleyball, bowling, swimming, two-stepping at Wild West, a crawfish boil, a visit to the planetarium, and about eight rounds of the card game Werewolf. We also put our college educations to the test at Escape the Room Texas, where we solved puzzles and searched for clues to find keys and open combo locks in order to “escape.” You’ll be delighted to hear that Honors pays off: we got out with one minute to spare on the one-hour time limit!

escape room
Honors Former Students Conquered the room!
Sam & Edward patriotism
Sam & Edward are patriotic!

More important than anything we did was reminiscing about our time in the Honors Housing Community, where we met as freshmen. Most of us were Sophomore Advisors (SAs) in 2012-2013; a few were “spouses,” or partners chosen by Sophomore Advisors to help mentor Honors freshmen. Living in Lechner and McFadden Halls together bonded us. We pulled all-nighters in Hobofo, Lechner’s second-floor foyer. As freshmen, we designed the greatest shack ever for Habitat for Humanity’s annual fundraiser, Shack-a-thon. It featured an enormous and detailed Nazgul for our Lord of the Rings theme. As SAs, we painted ourselves blue for free food at Blue Baker and hosted our own Hunger Games for the freshmen, arming them with pool noodles and flour-filled socks. We opened the annual talent show with our own rendition of “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King. And even after we moved out of HHC, we volunteered for Big Event, attended Muster, celebrated Ring Day, and dressed up for Ring Dance together.

Nerd Shack 2012
Nerd Shack 2012
sports
Sports!

The Aggie spirit is still strong in our hearts, and we still hold to our identity as Honors students. So if you’re afraid that you’re going to be alone in college, I hope I can reassure you. Living in the Honors Housing Community, I felt that I had found people who spoke not only my language but my dialect. My fellow Honors students liked what I liked; we watched the same sci-fi TV shows and knew the same geek culture references. You’ll make connections, like we did. You’ll make memories, like we did. You might meet your future spouse (no pressure!). And you very well could have a one-year reunion of your own in 2021.

crawfish boil better
Honors Former Students enjoy a crawfish boil

Oh, and I haven’t forgotten your second worry, which is probably What’s my plan? What am I going to do after college? Not knowing the answer right now is okay! You have plenty of time (and plenty of guidance within Honors) to help you figure it out. We were there, too, and we made it. Here’s what we’re doing now:

  • Alyssa Bennett is pursuing a PhD in naval architecture at the University of Michigan. She majored in ocean engineering and graduated with Foundation Honors. Alyssa was a Sophomore Advisor and a Junior Advisor.
  • Sam Carey is pursuing a master’s degree in electrical engineering at Georgia Tech through the Critical Skills Master’s Program at Sandia National Laboratories. Sam spends his summers working for Sandia in Albuquerque, NM. He majored in electrical engineering and graduated with University Honors and an Honors Minor in mathematics. Sam was a Sophomore Advisor.
  • Mallory Carson is a PhD student studying medical physics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. She is working on methods to detect and correct errors in dose calculations to improve the quality of radiation therapy. Mallory majored in radiological health engineering and minored in mathematics. She was a Sophomore Advisor and an Undergraduate Research Scholar.
  • Danielle Cope is a planning/project engineer for ExxonMobil at the Baytown Olefins Plant. She majored in chemical engineering, minored in chemistry, and graduated with Engineering Honors and Foundation Honors. Danielle was Pj’s “spouse” in the Honors Housing Community.
  • Pj Downey is a systems engineer for Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He majored in aerospace engineering and was a Sophomore Advisor. Pj graduated with certificates in engineering project management and engineering business management.
  • Jacob Glenn is a healthcare consultant at Apogee Consulting Group in Houston. He majored in economics and was an Undergraduate Research Scholar and Sophomore Advisor.
  • April Holland is a business consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Houston. She double-majored in business honors and supply chain management. April was a Sophomore Advisor and graduated with Business Honors.
  • Edward Ji is in the Baylor College of Medicine Physician Assistant Program in Houston and continues performing as a violinist with the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra. He majored in biomedical sciences with a minor in psychology.
  • Taylor Peterson is an administrative assistant with Switched Over Consulting and plans a career with Texas Parks and Wildlife. She is majoring in wildlife & fisheries sciences and was a Sophomore Advisor.
  • Lauren Roverse is a second-year student at the University of Houston College of Optometry, where she is pursuing a Doctor of Optometry degree. Lauren majored in biology and was a Sophomore Advisor.
  • Eric Vavra is a chemical engineering PhD student at Rice University, where he is investigating foam flow dynamics in porous media. He majored in chemical engineering, minored in chemistry, and graduated with Engineering Honors. Eric was a Sophomore Advisor.
  • Trey Whitaker works as a developer for the Advance Technology Division of AmRisc, LLC. Trey majored in computer science and was April’s “spouse” in the Honors Housing Community.

As for me, I’m currently an Honors Advisor and the program coordinator for National Fellowships and University Scholars at Texas A&M, but I’ll soon be moving to Boston to begin graduate school at Emerson College. Leaving College Station after five years feels like the end of an era because Texas A&M, and particularly the Honors community, has been my second home. I hope you find that same sense of belonging, security, and no-holds-barred fun when you arrive.

Best of luck, and gig ’em!

 

HUR Staff Spotlight: Adelia Humme

Adelia Humme ’15 is the newest addition to Honors and Undergraduate Research, joining the office as the interim coordinator for University Scholars and National Fellowships. Humme was herself a University Scholar, as well as a student worker in the HUR office, during her undergraduate career at Texas A&M University.

Humme graduated summa cum laude with a major in English and a minor in business administration in May 2015. She spent two years on the team of The Eckleburg Project, Texas A&M’s undergraduate literary magazine, serving as Prose Editor in her final semester. Humme’s interest in editing was spurred by her undergraduate internship with Texas A&M University Press, and she will begin graduate study in the Publishing & Creative Writing program at Emerson College, in Boston, in the fall of 2016.

A woman with long blond hair in a bright pink blazer stands with her arms folded in front of a tree.
Adelia Humme ’15, interim coordinator for University Scholars and National Fellowships

While a student at A&M, Humme was involved in many Honors activities. Her favorite extracurricular activity was mentoring freshmen in her role as a Sophomore Advisor for the Honors Housing Community. She also had the opportunity to attend the Champe Fitzhugh International Honors Leadership Seminar in Italy twice, once as a freshman participant and once as a student leader. Humme chose to complete her capstone project in the Undergraduate Teacher Scholars program, researching Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series for her course, “Heroes, Heroines, and Their Animal Companions.” During a summer internship at Cushing Memorial Library & Archives in 2013, Humme was able to work with McCaffrey’s personal collection of science-fiction and fantasy novels. She hopes to pursue a career within those genres.

Humme credits her participation in several student organizations for developing her love of Texas A&M’s history and culture and her passion for guiding students through their academic and personal challenges. She has volunteered at New Student Conferences and led campus tours through the Aggie Orientation Leader Program, met with prospective students through National Aggie Scholar Ambassadors, and arranged catering and other services for performers in Rudder Auditorium as a manager in MSC OPAS. In 2013, Humme was awarded the Buck Weirus Spirit Award for her extracurricular involvement, and she received recognition as one of the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges in 2015.

Humme loves a good cup of coffee, misses having cats in her home, enjoys reading without interruptions, and sings frequently. Although raised in Sugar Land, she can proudly claim herself as a native Houstonian. She is also a third-generation Aggie, following her mother, Ava King Humme ’80, and her grandfather, H. Verne King ’44.

 

Art Connections: University Scholars broaden their understanding of what art is through STEM lectures, gallery visits

This guest post from Adelia Humme ’15 summarizes her experience with the University Scholars art exploration seminar this past fall. You can find more of Adelia’s writing on The English Aggie, the blog of A&M’s English department.  http://englishaggie.blogspot.com/.

This semester, the University Scholars program underwent a change in the structure of its weekly seminar courses.  The seminars introduced the “Exploration” lecture series, inviting A&M professors to each present one lesson to the groups of Scholars.  The Art class, composed of Adelia Humme ’15, Ryan Trantham ’15, Adri Galvan ’16, and Aaron Griffin ’16, benefitted from the visits of Dr. Karen-Beth Scholthof, a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Mircrobiology; Dr. Jill Zarestky, who teaches in both the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development; and Dr. Vatche Tchakerian, a professor of Geography and Geology & Geophysics.  From Dr. Scholthof, the class learned that Beatrice Potter, beloved children’s author best known for creating the character of Peter Rabbit, was an expert botanist skilled in highly accurate illustrations of flora.  Dr. Zarestky, who in previous years has led a freshman seminar course about using math in arts and crafts, provided supplies for a brief lesson in knitting, which the Scholars agreed was an addicting yet soothing activity.  Demonstrating how to examine the depictions of geology in landscape painting, Dr. Tchakerian explained his fascination with identifying specific rock types and structures in art.

Dr. Jill Zaretsky discusses fiber arts and math with University Scholars. http://www.math.tamu.edu/~zarestky/arts--crafts--math/
Dr. Jill Zaretsky discusses fiber arts and math with University Scholars.
http://www.math.tamu.edu/~zarestky/arts–crafts–math/

In between professor-led sessions, the Scholars investigated other topics, such as Caldecott Award winners, and engaged our persistence and creativity to carve pumpkins for a Halloween celebration.  Over the course of the semester, the class visited two on-campus art galleries, beginning with the Wright Gallery in Langford Architecture Center.  Here we viewed the mandalas – circular religious symbols – created out of brightly colored plastic bags by Virginia Fleck as a commentary on consumerism and our society’s obsession with Hollywood culture.  A later visit to the Forsyth Galleries introduced us to the MSC’s portraiture collection.

During our discussions, we debated what art is.  While some Scholars felt that art required an emotional response in the viewer, others thought that art was a piece intentionally created for the purpose of conveying the artist’s message.  One idea proposed was that art is the process through which media are transformed.  For the first week’s written reflection, a weekly assignment that allowed the Scholars to respond to the topics presented in class, each of us had to compose a personal definition of art.  Confronted with controversial examples, such as Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain,” a urinal turned on its side, we had to consider whether art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, a concept that led us to conclude that art often has a social component, a public “approval rating” that increases the value of certain works.

Arguably the best outcome of this course is that, thanks to the array of perspectives provided by professors from STEM fields and our own diverse areas of study, we have learned that art is not limited to the humanities.  Discovering how to apply this subject in new ways allows us to imagine how else we might cross the normally intimidating boundaries between academic fields and become more willing to dabble outside of our areas of expertise.

University Scholar Adelia Humme '15 displays a pumpkins she carved as part of the Art Exploration series.
University Scholar Adelia Humme ’15 displays a pumpkin she carved as part of the Art Exploration series.

Enriching programs like University Scholars would not be possible without the guidance of Program Coordinator Jamaica Pouncy, the tireless support of our faculty, and the generous contributions the Association of Former Students.

Kaye and Steve Horn Host Honors Recruiting Reception

In the spirit of the season, Honors and Undergraduate Research would like to express our appreciation to Kaye and Steve Horn (Class of ’79) for graciously hosting a reception for prospective Texas A&M University Honors students at their home in River Oaks on November 2.

Left to Right: Steve Horn '79, Adelia Humme '15, Ryan Trantham '15, and Kaye Horn.
Left to Right: Steve Horn ’79, Adelia Humme ’15, Ryan Trantham ’15, and Kaye Horn.

Former Texas Governor John Connally’s historic mansion provided a stunning backdrop for the mingling of 16 National Merit Finalists and their parents and representatives of Texas A&M University. The many reminders of Steve’s success at Texas A&M, where he earned his degree in Petroleum Engineering before moving to Harvard to pursue an MBA, ranged from the jackets on the Horns’ pet dogs to photos of the President’s Endowed Scholars the Horns have supported over the years. Kaye’s passion for her adopted institution and in particular our history as a military college and the contribution of Aggies to the “greatest generation” was evident in her remarks to the assembled group. In a beautiful synergy, current Honors student Adelia Humme ’15 told the prospective students about her grandfather Hubert V. King, who left Texas A&M to fight in World War II and was presented with an Aggie ring upon his return at the end of the war engraved with the year that he would have graduated had he stayed in college (1944).

The prospective students were welcomed by Kaye and Steve Horn personally, as well as by staff from TAMU Admissions, Scholarships & Financial Aid, and Honors and Undergraduate Research. The prospective students also had a chance to meet Ryan Trantham ’15, the current Memorial Student Center President, and Adelia Humme, both members of the selective University Scholars Program. Ryan, Adelia, and the staff answered questions from the students and their parents about coursework, applications, scholarships, program requirements, the Honors dorms and study abroad opportunities in Italy, among other topics.

We at Honors and Undergraduate Research are thrilled that Kaye and Steve were willing to open their hearts and home to help us recruit top academic achievers to Texas A&M University and to the University Honors program in particular. We were proud to be able to introduce the Horns to Ryan and Adelia, outstanding student ambassadors who exemplify how the programs we run help develop promising high school students into accomplished young people. And we hope the prospective Aggies who attended the reception could see in Kaye and Steve, and in Adelia and Ryan, where they might be at the height of a successful career or as college seniors after a start in University Honors at Texas A&M!

2012 Honors Student Leadership Retreat

On Thursday, December 13, while most Honors Students were enjoying the first day of winter break, and our 29 University Honors Program graduates were preparing to bid Aggieland goodbye, a group of 15 student leaders from Honors Student Council, the Honors Housing Community Student Leaders, and University Scholars gathered in the chilly morning air to kick off the second-annual Honors Student Leader Retreat. This retreat provided an opportunity for students from our various Honors communities to make and reinforce connections, share experiences, and consider goals for all Honors Students.

What comfort zone?
What comfort zone?

The day started at the Aggie ChallengeWorks course. Fueled by donuts, milk and juice, students worked their way through a series of activities designed to stimulate creative problem-solving and break down barriers. In the process they endured planetary annihilation, time travel, and the extreme physical challenge of the “meat grinder.”

Planning the attack
Planning the attack
Honors Students work together to best the TAMU ChallengeWorks "Meat Grinder"
Honors Students work together to best the TAMU ChallengeWorks “Meat Grinder”

One of the most salient lessons the students learned was that communication takes work, especially when ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to give input and contribute their strengths. At the end of the morning, the word that summarized the experience was “trust.”

Working together
Working together

Next the group headed off to Rudder Tower for lunch while thinking through the various expectations we have for the Honors community. The object of this session, facilitated by Dr. Craig Rotter, was to help identify what an ideal Honors experience would look like.

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Adelia Humme ’15 noted that “having Dr. Rotter as our discussion leader was fantastic. He is a great motivator and gets students to generate ideas without even recognizing that they are working.” A primary objective of the retreat was to develop a project priority list that Honors Student Council can address in the coming year. Some of the ideas generated include:

• Strengthen upperclassman Honors Student community
• Develop structured international Honors opportunities
• Find a common space for Honors Students to meet and share ideas
• Create small peer-taught Honors courses like University Scholar Faculty Mentor Groups
• Introduce more students to research opportunities across disciplines

Dr. Craig Rotter facilitates discussion about Honors Student development
Dr. Craig Rotter facilitates discussion about Honors Student development

Honors Student Council will continue to work with the ideas generated and seeks Honors Student input and participation as they work to make the Honors experience at Texas A&M the best it can be.

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To view all the photos from the retreat, check out our photo album.