Tag Archives: Alyson Miranda

Four Outstanding Students Nominated for the 2016 Udall Scholarship

By Macy Moore –

One of the most gratifying elements of being an undergraduate student at Texas A&M is the opportunity to be nominated for various scholarships and fellowships. Receiving a scholarship or fellowship is financially fulfilling and opens doors for professional networking, but even the simple nomination is rewarding in itself. The application process allows students to reflect on their career ambitions, skills, and dreams for the future and has been proven to be an illuminating experience for many.

The Udall Foundation recognizes studious undergraduate students who are pursuing a career related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care. Awarding scholarships, fellowships, and internships to exceptional students, the foundation was established in 1992 to honor Morris K. and Stuart L. Udall’s influence on America’s environment, public lands, and natural resources, as well as their support for the rights of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Students selected for the Udall Scholarship will obtain scholarships up to $5,000 and an invaluable connection with the community of other dedicated public policy scholars.

This year, we are proud to announce the four Texas A&M students nominated for the 2016 Udall Scholarship competition: Omar Elhassan, Phillip Hammond,  Jaclyn Guz, and Alyson Miranda, .

Omar Elhassan '17, 2016 Udall Nominee
Omar Elhassan ’17, 2016 Udall Nominee

Omar Elhassan ’17 is currently a junior environmental soil science major and bioenvironmental sciences minor in honors program of the Soil and Crop Sciences Department. Both a Cargill Global Scholar and Golden Opportunity Scholar, he has conducted undergraduate research in Dr. Gentry’s Soil and Aquatic Microbiology lab investigating the effects of urban wastewater treatment plants on increasing antibiotic resistance in the environment.  Aside from academics, Elhassan also works as the Sustainability Officer with the student run nonprofit Just4Water, which aims to provide self-sustainable water solutions to developing nations. He works to develop partnerships with NGOs, nonprofit, and businesses to assess the needs of rural communities to design site-specific water solutions such as drilling water wells, designing water distribution systems, and installing latrines for waste management. Following his undergraduate career, Elhassan plans to enlist in the Peace Corps to gain real world experience in the realm of international development, then intend to pursue a master’s degree in international development at Cornell University to become a driving force for sustainable development in emerging nations.

Jaclyn Guz '17, 2016 Udall Nominee
Jaclyn Guz ’17, 2016 Udall Nominee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jaclyn Guz ’17 is a junior environmental studies major with a minor in geographic information systems. Guz has previously conducted undergraduate research as part of the Michael E. DeBakey Undergraduate Research program in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She worked in the Cairns lab studying the tree line in Northern Sweden, which research formed the basis of her Undergraduate Research Scholars thesis. She also serves as a Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leader for the TAMU Academic Success Center. Guz completed a water quality analysis internship through a summer research program at the University of Vermont in Summer 2014, and served on the EPA Science Advisory Board as part of her participation in the Texas A&M Public Policy Internship Program (PPIP) in Fall 2014. She worked as a writing intern for Geography.com in Summer 2015, and is a 2015-16 Undergraduate Research Ambassador. Guz is currently completing a second capstone with the Undergraduate Leadership Scholars program working toward promoting undergraduate research opportunities in the College of Geosciences. After pursuing a dual master’s program in public policy and environmental studies in Washington, D.C., Guz plans a career using sound data analysis to craft economic and legal incentives to promote sustainable practices.

Phillip Hammond '17, 2016 Udall Nominee
Phillip Hammond ’17, 2016 Udall Nominee

Phillip Hammond ’17 is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture with minors in urban & regional planning and sustainable architecture & regional planning. He dedicates his spare time to the student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects as the active Vice President for the departmental organization. Phillip also serves as a University Scholar in the University Honors program after being inducted in 2014. His love of nature, architectural design, and philosophy has led him to aspire for a career designing sustainable communities following his certification as a registered Landscape Architect. After he receives his undergraduate degree, Phillip plans to complete a master’s degree in land and property development, then will follow his ambition of changing the way people live with designs that will improve transportation alternatives and provide better ecological infrastructure.

Aly Miranda '17, 2016 Udall Nominee
Aly Miranda ’17, 2016 Udall Nominee

Alyson Miranda ‘17 is a bioenvironmental sciences major and business minor from Missouri City, TX. Her environmental interests were spurred by her first experiences as a restaurant employee and her first national park experience (as a trip leader for TAMU Alternative Spring Break). Then, as an A&M Conservation Scholar, Miranda engaged in marine species risk research for the marine biodiversity lab at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Her research focused on current literature on Gulf of Mexico bonyfishes, as well as assessment review for other regional projects in the Global Marine Species Assessment (https://sci.odu.edu/gmsa/). Last fall, Miranda completed a separate internship at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. where she explored the connection between public policy, federal agencies, and science. Upon returning this semester, she joined the Environmental Issues Committee where she is excited to work on programs to educate students about sustainability and marine environmental issues. Outside of being a current University Scholar, Miranda is a musician in the TAMU Symphonic Winds and at her church, and she loves volunteering at the sustainable Howdy Farm on campus. This summer, she will serve as a business consultant for disadvantaged entrepreneurs in Cape Town, South Africa. Ultimately, Aly would like to work as a marine/wetland researcher or consultant to help people use land and marine resources in an environmentally and responsible way.

As of 1996, seven Udall Scholars and two Honorable Mentions have emerged from Texas A&M University. Most recently, Victoria Easton was selected as a Udall Scholar, making her the first Texas A&M Udall Scholar selected in the Tribal Public Policy category.

For more information about the Udall Scholarship see http://udall.gov.

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://natlfellows.tamu.edu.

For Those Who Haven’t Messed Up…Yet

Honors Students away from campus for study abroad, co-ops, or internships are encouraged to write about their experiences to share them with the Honors community. Below is a reflection from Alyson Miranda ’17 on her experience as an intern in Washington, D.C.

– By Alyson Miranda

We all know those perfect people—in fact, I’m one of them! *insert dramatic hair flip*

Not quite.

I am four weeks into my internship at the Department of Energy. Although my bioenvironmental sciences major didn’t quite set me up for work in HR, I’m learning a lot. I hit the ground running on Day 1, and since then my weeks have flown by with countless emails, meetings, and reflections like, “Wait, so what do I tell people when they ask what I want to do with the rest of my life?” which are met by deep pondering. Living in D.C. has also been exciting (can you say “Papa Francis?”), and I’d recommend [the Public Policy Internship Program] to ANYONE remotely interested in policy—whether that’s in their respective field, related to federal or international policy, or just a curiosity. (Pssst, here’s a secret: you don’t have to know what you want to do with the rest of your life to be here!) Anywho, all in all, I’ve felt pretty successful throughout the adjustment.

Cue the mistakes.

This week, I felt the pressure of responsibility fall on my head. I’m thinking of two specific incidences (I say “specific” because I have a background project of working with Microsoft Access, which is a program that continually reminds me of my incompetencies… not always a bad thing).

First job: I was supposed to set up a meeting with a new contact within the Department of Energy. But I juggled emails in the wrong order—by the way, that means you should check the newest emails first—so we ended up rescheduling a previously planned meeting two or three times. I also accidentally hung up the phone on my supervisor. Woopsies.

Second job: After the meeting with the new contact, I was supposed to relay another list of contacts. Somewhere in our exchanges, I misunderstood and instead coordinated an effort to reach out and secure participants for an event. The new contact then corrected me, and I had to go back and email all of the people we reached out to.

Although they weren’t disastrous mistakes that caused harm, I know that I probably didn’t seem excessively competent. Being able to schedule a meeting, answer the phone, and take orders—these are easy enough tasks. In the end, I smoothed things out with the parties involved and hopefully retained a positive reputation. How did I do it?

Here’s a survival guide to mistake recovery:

  1. Be polite, always. Use your “thank you”s and your “have a great day”s. That includes email, in person, and over the phone. Manners are not antiquated, even in the hoppin’ town of Washington, D.C.
  2. Accept when you’re wrong, and be ready to act and fix the mistake. Similarly, if you don’t know an answer, go and find it.
  3. Be genuine in your efforts to do the best job you can. Don’t take short cuts or the lazy way out. Send individualized emails to the parties involved, if it isn’t burdensome to the recipients.

So, for all you perfect people (and the rest of the world): Failing is a chance to show that you can handle mistakes with grace. It builds character. Happy failing!

For more information about the Public Policy Internship Program, visit http://ppip.tamu.edu.

To read more about the importance of learning from failure, check out “In Praise of the F Word” and “Why Failure is Crucial for a Student’s Success.”

Aly Miranda - Internship
Aly Miranda ’17, surviving the sunrise and avoiding the monster mosquitos on Chincoteague Island

Honors Students Selected for Public Policy Internship Program

The Public Policy Internship Program (PPIP) provides students with real-world experience and hands-on learning through policy-related internships in Washington, D.C.; Austin, TX; and various European locations.  PPIP internships complement and reinforce students’ coursework, give students inside knowledge about their professional future, and provide hosting organizations with additional support.

The Texas A&M University Public Policy Internship Program (PPIP) was established in 1999 by Dr. Ray Bowen, then President of Texas A&M University, to respond to society’s increasing interest and participation in public policy issues and programs. Since then approximately 700 Aggies have interned in Washington, D.C.; Austin, TX and abroad.  PPIP is coordinated from the office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies.  This allows the program to be coordinated centrally through the colleges to provide an integrated academic and policy-related internship program for the campus and community. (From http://ppip.tamu.edu/about).

We are excited to announce that ten* students in the University Honors Program are among the 30 selected for PPIP internships in Washington, D.C. for Spring 2015 and Fall 2015:

David Cohen ’16 – International Studies & Economics

Julianna Ewell ’15 -Accounting

Elizabeth Freeman ‘17 – International Studies & Spanish

Jacob Arnett ‘17 – Economics & Philosophy

Andrew Baxter ’16 – Physics & Mathematics

Amanda Dick ’17 – Psychology

Alyson Miranda ‘17 – Bioenvironmental Sciences

Bridget O’Connell ’16 – History

Emily Parrish  ‘16– Economics

Kathryn Williams ‘16 – Economics & M.A. International Affairs


 

Emily Parrish '16
Emily Parrish ’16

Emily Parrish (EP), a junior economics major, and Andy Baxter (AB), a junior physics and mathematics double-degree student, took the time to share some insights about the PPIP program with us:

Where will you be interning?

EP: I am not placed in an internship yet but will be applying to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank on Capitol Hill, as well as to the Department of Commerce.

AB: This summer I will be working for the Information Technology Alliance for Public Sector (ITAPS) which is a division of the Information Technology Industry (ITI) Council in Washington D.C. As a part of this program I will be attending meetings with member companies as well as meetings on Capitol Hill.

What was the application and interview process like for PPIP?

EP: The application definitely took a good bit of time. It included finding recommendation letters as well as writing an essay concerning a specific policy interest. For those who are interested in policy, as I am, writing this essay is actually enjoyable. After the written application, I interviewed with a panel and then heard back about a week later.

Andy Baxter '16
Andy Baxter ’16

AB: The application process for PPIP was relatively simple. I filled out an application, wrote an essay on the importance of intelligence throughout the history of the United States, submitted a transcript, resume, and cover letter, and had three letters of recommendation sent to the office. My interview was essentially a normal interview. I was asked about my research and role as director of Freshmen Leaders in Christ (FLiC). Since my faith is the first priority of my life, I was asked why I did not preference Christian organizations as my first priority. I explained how Paul worked as a tentmaker while on mission so that he did not have to be a financial burden on the church. In the same way, I am seeking a secular career so that I can build up the financial stability to someday enter into full time ministry without having to be a financial burden on the church. The only unusual part of the interview was when the director or the program tried to grill me. She intentionally asked questions about my political views in order to challenge me. In particular, the series of questions led to my opinions on the Guantanamo Bay shutdown. To me, I found this part of the interview to be somewhat fun because I enjoyed the challenge and because I knew that the intention of the questions was to rattle me. Overall, the application process to PPIP was very simple.

After being accepted to PPIP, I met with the director of the program and determined a list of offices to apply for. I then proceeded to adapt my PPIP application materials to these offices and give them to PPIP. The director actually traveled to D.C. to meet with the employers, and within the next week I had three phone interviews. I was given offers at the end of the phone calls with BAE Systems and ITAPS. After a week of prayer and research, I decided to accept the offer with ITAPS. (I also applied to the CIA in the fall and received an offer as well. I went through this application process independently due to the early deadline although I could still apply this internship to PPIP.)

How will your internship fit into your long-term goals?

EP: I am a junior Economics major and have dabbled in business, international studies, and language courses during my time at Texas A&M.  In the future, I hope to have some part in policy-making for our country. I do not yet know what type of policy I would like to influence or how I want to go about this, but I am confident that the PPIP internship will give me valuable exposure to the opportunities that are available and best-suited to my interests.

AB: After graduation, my hope is to attend graduate school in the UK or Ireland on a national fellowship to study business and engineering while doing ministry on the side. After completion of my graduate degrees, I hope to work up to management level for developing technologies. Many of the companies that I will be interested in working for are member companies of ITAPS, so this experience will provide me with the ability to network with potential future employers.

For more information about the Public Policy Internship Program, visit http://ppip.tamu.edu.

To discover other enriching experiences available to undergraduates at Texas A&M, visit Undergraduate Studies at http://us.tamu.edu.

*Corrected: The previous version of this post incorrectly listed nine students, omitting Julianna Ewell.

TAMU Nominates Six for 2015 Udall Scholarship Competition

Nominating outstanding students for nationally-competitive scholarships and fellowships is one way to showcase the world-class undergraduate experience at Texas A&M. Not only do the winners in these competitions receive valuable support for their educational expenses, but they also join professional networks that will continue to open doors throughout their careers. But a student does not have to win a competition to realize the value of the national fellowships application process. The applications for these awards ask students to reflect on their ambitions and how they are building knowledge, skills, and experience related to following their dreams. Students report that the application is a truly clarifying experience.

One of the awards that Honors and Undergraduate Research serves as a nominating official for is the Udall Scholarship. This award, from the the Morris K. & Stuart L. Udall Foundation, recognizes top students planning careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care. Students who are selected will receive scholarships of up to $5000 and join a community of scholars whose dedication to sustainable public policy honors the legacy of the Arizona congressmen.

We are proud to announce the nomination of six TAMU students for the 2015 Udall Scholarship competition: Sean Castillo, Jaclyn Guz, Jessica Gwinn, Alyson Miranda, Alexandria Payne, and Jennifer Rangel.

Sean Castillo '16, Udall Nominee
Sean Castillo ’16, Udall Nominee

Sean Castillo ’16 is a junior bioenvironmental sciences major, minoring in geography. He served as a sophomore mentor for Aggies Selflessly Serving in Shaping Tomorrow (ASSIST). Castillo participates in undergraduate research in the Scholthof labs in the Texas A&M Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology where he studies the Panicum Mosaic Virus, Citrus Tatter Leaf Virus, Tobacco Mosaic Virus, and Tomato Bushy Stunt Virus. He plans a career studying the effects of environmental toxins with the hope that his work will inform lawmakers and educate citizens about the need to reduce pollution.

Jackie Guz '17, Udall Nominee
Jackie Guz ’17, Udall Nominee

Jaclyn Guz ’17 is a sophomore environmental studies major with a minor in geographic information systems. Guz has previously conducted undergraduate research as part of the Michael E. DeBakey Undergraduate Research program in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and is currently working in the Cairns lab studying the tree line in Northern Sweden, She also serves as a Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leader for the TAMU Academic Success Center. Guz completed a water quality analysis internship through a summer research program at the University of Vermont in Summer 2014, and served on the EPA Science Advisory Board as part of her participation in the Texas A&M Public Policy Internship Program (PPIP) in Fall 2014. Guz plans a career using sound data analysis to craft economic and legal incentives to promote sustainable practices.

Jesse Gwinn '16, Udall Nominee
Jesse Gwinn ’16, Udall Nominee

Jessica Gwinn ’16 is a junior bioenvironmental sciences and wildlife & fisheries sciences double degree student. She served as secretary and webmaster for the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) and is a staff member for Aggie RePlant. Gwinn is an undergraduate researcher in the Roelke Lab studying the  toxic effects of Prymnesium parvum, an algae with potentially useful biofuel applications that is known to cause massive fish kills. Gwinn is also employed as a student worker in Dr. Ong’s plant pathology lab studying Rose Rosette Virus and writing Extension publications about rose diseases. She plans a career researching the ecological relationships between micro- and macro-organisms and the importance of these relationships to humans.

Aly Miranda '17, Udall Nominee
Aly Miranda ’17, Udall Nominee

Alyson Miranda ’17 is a sophomore University Scholar, majoring in bioenvironmental sciences with a minor in business administration. She has served as a site leader and local service executive for Alternative Spring Break, volunteers with the Texas A&M Howdy Farm and Brazos County Senior Citizens’ Association, and is a sophomore advisor (SA) in the Honors Housing Community. She was also recently selected as a 2015 Public Policy Intern with PPIP. Miranda is conducting undergraduate research in the Lacher lab, performing regional extinction risk assessments for the Gulf of Mexico. She plans a career bridging the gap between science and policy in making food production chains more sustainable.

Alex Payne '16, Udall Nominee
Alex Payne ’16, Udall Nominee

Alexandria Payne ’16 is a junior University Scholar, double-majoring in bioenvironmental sciences and wildlife & fisheries sciences. She is the president of the Human Environmental Animal Team (HEAT) and is the Department of Bioenvironmental Sciences representative to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (COALS) Student Council. Payne has conducted undergraduate research related to plant virology in the Scholthof labs, on the invasive Tawny crazy ant as part of an NSF-REU at the University of Texas with Dr. Edward LeBrun, and most recently in the Honey Bee Lab at TAMU with Dr. Juliana Rangel. She plans a career researching the mystery of honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in order to create a healthy bee population and stable food supply.

Jennifer Rangel '16, Udall Nominee
Jennifer Rangel ’16, Udall Nominee

Jennifer Rangel ’16 is a junior recreation, park & tourism sciences major with minors in sociology and urban & regional planning. She is the coordinator of registration for the Student Conference on Latino Affairs, an officer for Going Out and Leading from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a member of Future Former Students from the Association of Former Students, and the I Lead Maroon program. Rangel serves as an intern with the Family and Consumer Sciences Program as part of the TAMU AgriLife Extension. She is particularly interested in the intersection of a community’s space and infrastructure design, and the implications of this intersection for human behavior. Rangel plans a career educating people about the positive impacts of green space in a community, especially for low-income and high-risk families.

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.

For more information about the Udall Scholarship see http://udall.gov.

To read more about how Honors and Undergraduate Research 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://hur.tamu.edu/National-Fellowships.

Introducing the Class of 2017 University Scholars

University Scholars are an amazing group of students from all across the campus who not only excel academically but embody the philosophy of our program by being willing to embrace challenge and take full advantage of the vast resources that our campus and community has to offer.

University Scholars are incredibly diverse; in their academic and personal interests, in their career goals, and in their beliefs. What they share is a dedication to their individual goals, a thirst for knowledge, willingness to go outside of their comfort zone, and the perseverance and determination to achieve anything they set their mind to. We have the highest of expectations for you, our new Honors students, and we will continue to expect great things from you.

Not only do the students selected for this program meet those expectations, but they continue to astound and amaze us with their ambition, their passion, their talent and their creativity. This is the community into which we welcome our newest University Scholars. These are the expectations that we have of them. We do not doubt that in their lives they will change not only our university, not only our country, but the entire world.

(Adapted from the introduction given by Jamaica Pouncy at the 2014 Honors Welcome)

Top left to right: James Felderhoff, Farid Saemi, Chloe Dixon, Augustus Ellis, Kimberly Lennox, Phillip Hammond. Bottom left to right: Rachel Rosenberg, Alyson Miranda, Katherine Elston, Barbara Tsao.
Top left to right: James Felderhoff, Farid Saemi, Chloe Dixon, Augustus Ellis, Kimberly Lennox, Phillip Hammond. Bottom left to right: Rachel Rosenberg, Alyson Miranda, Katherine Elston, Barbara Tsao.

Chloe Paige Dixon
Chloe is from Austin, Texas and is majoring in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. In addition to being an active volunteer through the Society of Women Engineers, she is a Sophomore Advisor in our honors residence halls, a research assistant at the Cyclotron Institute, and a recipient of the BBVA Compass scholarship.

Augustus John Ellis
Augustus is a Mechanical Engineering major with a minor in Math and Material Sciences from Pearland, Texas. He is a President’s endowed scholar who is already actively involved in research. He plans to pursue advanced degrees in Materials Science and Engineering and Applied Physics in order to develop state-of-the-art novel materials for application.

Katherine Marie Elston
Kate is from Allen, Texas and pursuing a degree in Molecular and Cell Biology. She is a sophomore advisor in our honors residence halls, a member of DEEP – Discover, Explore and Enjoy Physics and Engineering, and will be joining Dr. Golding Biomedical Science lab as a research assistant.

James Albert Felderhoff
James is an Aerospace Engineering major and the treasurer of the A&M chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In addition to his research with the Aggie Sat Lab, James is open water scuba diving certified, a member of the society of flight test engineers, and a licensed pilot.

Phillip Reagan Hammond
Phillip is studying Landscape Architecture with a minor in Urban Planning. He is from Leander, Texas and was valedictorian of his high school, is an active member of Aggie Guide Dogs and Service Dogs and in addition to his hobbies of sketching and painting has published two articles in Axiom, the official publication of the A&M chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students.

Kimberly Lennox
Kim is a biomedical engineering major with a minor in Business from Plano, TX. She is a president’s endowed scholar and a member of the bioethics forum, the Yacht club and a volunteer at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Alyson Micole Miranda
Aly is from Missouri City, Texas and majoring in Bioenvironmental Sciences with a minor in Business Administration. She plays the alto saxophone in the TAMU Symphonic Winds, is a sophomore advisor in the Honors residence halls, and the Service and Social Executive for the student volunteer association, Alternative Spring Break

Rachel Anne Rosenberg
Rachel is majoring in chemical engineering and is a clarinet player in the TAMU Wind Symphony. She is an Assistant Director for MSC FISH, winner of the MSC First year Experience award and conducts research on biofuels in Dr. Mark Holtzapple’s lab.

Farid Saemi
Farid is an Aerospace Engineering major with minors in mathematics and computer science from Urmia, Iran via Houston, Texas. He is the guest speaker chair of the A&M chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics who designed motion capture software during his summer internship at the Johnson space center and is currently a research assistant for the Shape Memory alloy research team.

Barbara Tsao
Barbara is a biomedical sciences major from Mountain View, California. She speaks fluent Mandarin, was student body president and salutatorian of her high school, is a member of the Inkling Society and is currently conducting research in Dr. Maren’s lab studying anxiety reducing properties of progesterone.