Tag Archives: International Study

Meet Our 2013 National Fellowship Nominees!

By Hayley Cox

Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) has nominated nine students for National Fellowships including the George C. Marshall Scholarship, the George Mitchell Scholarship, and the American Rhodes Scholarship!

The Marshall Scholarship finances up to 40 young Americans of high ability to study for a graduate degree in any field of study in the United Kingdom. The selected scholars’ direct engagement with Britain through its best academic programs contributes to their ultimate personal success.

The Mitchell Scholarship is a nationally competitive award sponsored by the US-Ireland Alliance. It was named in honor of former U.S. Senator Mitchell’s contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process and designed to introduce upcoming future American leaders to Ireland, while fostering scholarship, leadership, and community commitment.

The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest international fellowship awards around the world. 32 young Americans are selected each year as Rhodes Scholars from 300 American colleges and universities. These scholars are chosen for outstanding scholarly achievements along with character, commitment to others, and for their potential leadership in their career aspirations. The Rhodes Trust, honoring Cecil J. Rhodes, provides full support for Rhodes Scholars to pursue a degree at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

HUR’s 2013 nominees for these prestigious fellowships include:

Chris Akers – Rhodes Scholarship Nominee, Marshall Scholarship Nominee
Dillon Amaya – Rhodes Scholarship Nominee, Marshall Scholarship Nominee
Shelby Bieritz – Marshall Scholarship Nominee
Emily Boster –Marshall Scholarship Nominee, Mitchell Scholarship Nominee
Daniel Miller – Marshall Scholarship Nominee
Stephen O’Shea – Rhodes Scholarship Nominee, Marshall Scholarship Nominee, Mitchell Scholarship Nominee
Andy Sanchez – Rhodes Scholarship Nominee, Marshall Scholarship Nominee
Kindall Stephens – Marshall Scholarship Nominee
Philip “Dane” Warren – Marshall Scholarship Nominee, Mitchell Scholarship Nominee

Chris Akers
Chris Akers
Chris Akers, a physics student pursuing minor degrees in both math and philosophy, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces at the Imperial College London or Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, along with his nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship. Akers is the co-founder and Vice President of the revamped Society of Physics Students at Texas A&M in which he invented Physics Phamilies groups and transformed the leadership structure. He was a Fish Camp Co-chairperson from November 2012 to September 2013, and he assists Dr. Tatiana Erukhimova in her presentations of her famous physics show to children in grade school. Akers has also made three research symposium presentations including his work “Assembly Database for the VIRUS Project” at the TAMU Astronomy Symposium. He is a President’s Endowed Scholar at Texas A&M and was awarded the “Mechanics Scholar” title for his excellent score on Texas A&M’s Mechanics Scholar test. Akers is a runner, plays chess, and trains in Crossfit.

Dillon Amaya
Dillon Amaya
Dillon Amaya, a meteorology student pursuing a minor degree in oceanography, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Ocean and Earth Sciences at the University of Southampton or Polar Studies at the University of Cambridge, along with his nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship. An advocate for exercise, Amaya is a member of the Texas A&M Club Racquetball Team and several intramural teams. He is heavily involved with the College of Geosciences Undergraduate Recruitment Team and has given tours to high school seniors interested in the program for the past three years. Amaya was also the Vice President of the Texas A&M Student Chapter of the American Meteorology Society. He aspires to be a professor of climate sciences or physical oceanography at a Tier 1 research university in either the US or the UK.

Shelby Bieritz
Shelby Bieritz
Shelby Bieritz, a biomedical engineering student pursuing a minor degree in mathematics, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Biomedical Engineering at Aston University or Biomedical Research at University College of London. Bieritz has widely spread interests, from engineering to musical performance. She was a member of MSC Town Hall at Texas A&M where she served as the Advertising Executive for the 2011-2012 academic year. Bieritz also organized a regional conference for the National Association of Engineering Student Councils while she was a member of the Texas A&M University Student Engineers’ Council. In the future, the senior hopes to complete a PhD in biomedical engineering with a focus on total artificial heart development in order to create a pediatric heart that can be specialized to a child’s needs and conditions. To accomplish this, Bieritz hopes to manage a laboratory and adapt a heart pump to a variety of congenital heart conditions.

Emily Boster
Emily Boster
Emily Boster, an aerospace engineering student, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Engineering Design at the University of Bath or Aerospace Engineering and Management at the University of Glasglow, along with her nomination for the Mitchell Scholarship. Boster interned at Lockheed Martin Space Systems for 12 weeks in summer 2013 and at Space X for 10 weeks in summer 2010. She also works in Texas A&M University’s Astronomical Instrumentation lab. Boster enjoys playing guitar and composing her own music and lyrics, and she recently started playing along with her church’s band in College Station. Throughout her high school and undergraduate education, Boster was awarded with the Astronaut Scholarship, the AIAA Foundation Scholarship, the President’s Endowed Scholarship, and the Aggieland Bound Scholarship. For the past year, the senior also started fostering retired racing greyhounds and has been working on extending the reach of this Austin-based organization to the Bryan/College Station area.

Daniel Miller
Daniel Miller
Daniel Miller, an electrical and computer engineering (ECEN) and applied mathematics (APMS) double major, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Advanced Computer Science at the University of Cambridge or Machine Learning at the University College of London. Miller holds a perfect 4.0 GPA at Texas A&M University and has done programming work for both Lincoln Laboratory and Silicon Laboratory. As an Undergraduate Research Scholar, Miller created an energy model for residential solar water heated in which he designed and implemented a data logging and system control board. He is continuing to work on implementing statistical forecasting and predictive control methods to his model. Miller also intends to build a plasma speaker, a Gauss gun and an automated laser flyswatter in his free time. The engineer has been a swimmer since age five and has recently picked up hobbies in running, hiking, and rock climbing. In the future, Miller intends to pursue a Master’s degree in Machine Learning and a Doctorate focusing on renewable energy systems. His overall goal is to improve the global environment, and to address the issues caused by an increasing energy demand.

Stephen O'Shea
Stephen O’Shea
Stephen O’Shea, an English student with a focus in creative writing, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study creative writing at either City University of Kingston University, along with his nomination for the Mitchell Scholarship and the Rhodes Scholarship. O’Shea has worked as a writing consultant with the Texas A&M University Writing Center. He also presented a research project on creative writers in the Writing Center at a conference in Corpus Christi and implemented a university-wide Creative Writing Workshop that began in spring 2013. O’Shea’s work has been published by both “Explorations: the Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal” and “The Eckleburg Project: the Literary Magazine of Texas A&M University.” The creative writing student was selected as an executive for Aggie Leaders of Tomorrow (A LOT) during his sophomore year. He participated in the Texas A&M Jazz Band as Lead Tenor Saxophone and played alto saxophone at Aggie home basketball games with the Hullabaloo Band. O’Shea hopes to be an author of research-based fiction, first by completing and publishing his “From the Land of Genesis” collection, and later he hopes to become a professor.

Andy Sanchez
Andy Sanchez
Andy Sanchez, a chemical engineering student pursuing minor degrees in chemistry and creative writing, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to obtain either a Masters in Advanced Chemical Engineering or a Masters in Catalysis at the Imperial College of London, along with his nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship. Sanchez is a screener and editor for the Callaloo Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters. He has also worked as a Catalyst Developer with ExxonMobil Process Research doing supplemental projects in catalyst synthesis and modeling. Sanchez is the Corporate Relations Chair of the Student Engineers’ Council (SEC), an organization which seeks to increase engineering awareness and promote professional development of students. He is also a member of the Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honors Fraternity, and he acted as a Sophomore Honors Advisor. The chemical engineering student has been recognized as a University Scholar, a 2013 Craig Brown Outstanding Senior English Engineer, and an American Chemical Society Scholar. In the future, he plans to pursue research with a focus in petrochemical catalysis, and to ultimately rise to a technical management position to coordinate this research.

Kindall Stephens
Kindall Stephens
Kindall Stephens, an environmental design student, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study Architecture at either the Architectural Association or London Metropolitan University. Stephens worked for LaMarr Womack & Associates Architects as an architectural intern in summer 2013 and has attended four national conferences for the American Institute of Architecture Students. Stephens was a Fish Camp counselor at Texas A&M University, and she has served as Career Fair Coordinator and President for the university’s chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students for the past two years. She is an active member of Habitat for Humanity at Texas A&M and is on the founding committee for a new campus wide service organization called BUILD. She was a member of the Best Overall Team at Design Workshop’s Design Week, a National Winner of AIAS and SAGEW Foundation Renewing Home Student Design Competition, and AIA Brazos Scholarship Recipient. In the future, the architecture student plans to obtain her architectural license and to work as both an architect and a professor.

Philip "Dane" Warren
Philip “Dane” Warren
Philip “Dane” Warren, an economics student pursuing a minor in art & architecture history, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either International Public Policy at the University College of London or Global Environment, Politics, and Society at the University of Edinburgh, along with his nomination for the Mitchell Scholarship. Warren has worked for Camp Invention during most summers, but spent this past summer interning with Clean Water Action. Warren was also a Teaching Assistant for the course Energy, Resources, and their Use and Importance to Society. Next semester he will be a Section Instructor, teaching students about the energy industry and writing skills. Warrens work with partner Mariah Lord “Cap and Trade and Global Compromise” was published in Explorations: The Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal. He is currently working on a project to evaluate the effectiveness of residential water utility pricing programs and is the Chair of the Aggie Green Fund Advisory Committee. He is also a Team Leader in Texas A&M’s The Big Event, a student-led volunteering project. Warren presented his research at an academic conference in Hiroshima, Japan and has been recognized as a Texas A&M University Honors Student and Undergraduate Research Scholar.

HUR would like to congratulate all of these outstanding nominees and wish them luck in the selection process for the Marshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes Scholarships! We are so proud of your hard work!


Julia Garcia takes on Canada!

By Hayley Cox

Julia Garcia, Class of 2014
Julia Garcia, Class of 2014
Senior English student Julia Garcia traveled to the Canadian Sociological Association Conference in Victoria, Canada in June 2013. She was a member of a team, along with students Devita Gunawan and Vennessa Jreij, studying the effects of education on economic development in primary, secondary, and university education systems.

Although her teammates were unable to make the summer trip, Garcia traveled to Victoria along with the team’s advisor, professor of sociology Dr. Samuel Cohn. Dr. Cohn had been working on a project in research towards eradicating poverty, and needed a team of research assistants. The previous summer, Garcia traveled to Austin, Texas to gather census data at the University Library at the University of Texas in correlation with Dr. Cohn’s research efforts. Her team would ultimately gather census data for over 40 countries, including The United States, Canada, and England. Garcia’s background as an English major influenced her role as writer and large concept framer for Dr. Cohn’s research.

After Garcia completed the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program with teammates Gunawan and Jreij, Dr. Cohn encouraged the team to apply for the Canadian Sociological Association Conference, and the team was accepted. Garcia applied for and was awarded with an Undergraduate Research Travel Award, giving her the privilege to spend nine days in Victoria, four of which she would spend at the conference.

Victoria, Canada
Victoria, Canada
Garcia expressed her appreciation for the beautiful sites she saw on her trip, beginning with a ferry ride from Seattle to Victoria. She was impressed by the progressive nature and awareness level at the University of Victoria. She said, “It’s interesting because at the University of Victoria, global warming IS a thing. It is not a debate, but instead an issue to which people are working to make a change.”

At the conference, Garcia heard presentations which were mostly political discussions dealing with poverty, sanitation, and water. She said it was a great learning experience to be in the same room with incredibly successful professors from all over the United States and Canada. Her favorite presentation was made by a man who purchased a golf membership in India in order to observe class differences between elite members, caddies, and staff. He lived in India for six months, attending the golf course each day, interviewing and observing these individuals.

Julia's presentation group. Dr. Cohn is pictured Row 1 far right and Julia Garcia right behind.
Julia’s presentation group. Dr. Cohn is pictured Row 1 far right and Julia Garcia right behind.
Also at the conference, Garcia presented the team’s thesis “The Influence of Education on Economic Development,” along with Dr. Cohn. She said this was her first opportunity to fully experience the research process. Garcia said the statistical analysis segment of the project was time consuming and somewhat frustrating, but overall she wouldn’t have changed much that the team did throughout their work. She encouraged students to take part in undergraduate research and to create relationships with professors. Garcia said, “Why wouldn’t you be a part of a great experience with the opportunity to take a fully paid trip to Canada?”

IMG_1375The senior will be graduating in May 2014, and hopes to travel as a part of her many post-graduate aspirations. She is considering law school or a graduate degree in public policy or comparative literature, but intends to take a year off of school to live in Washington, D.C. or Austin, or to travel the world. Through research, Garcia saw many inevitable problems in society which tied into her already present humanitarian interests. She said should would definitely consider living in another country where she would find a humbling experience.

Honors and Undergraduate Research is very proud of Julia Garcia, along with her research teammates Devita Gunawan and Vennessa Jreij. Congratulations to the team and Dr. Cohn in all of their research accomplishments and their acceptance to travel to the Canadian Sociological Association Conference in Victoria!

My Narrative Arc

Matt McMahon in Belize, 2012
Matt McMahon in Belize, 2012

By Matt McMahon

Through my career in high school and now in college at Texas A&M University, writing has been a skill that I have always treasured and appreciated. The power of writing is simply amazing when used effectively, in processes such as applications, publications, or simply getting a grade. In the two years that I have been at A&M, research composition has truly shown me the significance of writing, which I could not have fully appreciated at any time before.

My official push into the field of research composition began during spring 2012 when I was given the assignment of writing a research proposal to prepare for my internship in Belize that summer. The proposal was a way for me to begin developing my research project, which was a survey of the invasive lionfish population in the Port Honduras Marine Reserve. As this proposal was my first composition of its kind, I was naturally proud of it, and as it grew to become 46 pages in length by the end of the summer I felt like I was the lead author of a small book. Little did I know that, in my naivety from lack of experience, I had overlooked a crucial aspect of research communication: no conjecture is allowed. Before I could end my internship, my last assignment was to rebuild my high 46-level temple of research results into a small, secure hut of a mere ten levels. Similar to the story that the Son of God once told, I had three days to do so. The result was a report that, I felt, was stripped to the bare minimum, but in reality that minimum was the crucial line through the flow of the project. The revised report finally had a forward direction through which a progressive point could be made, and since it was shorter people may have actually had the desire to read it all the way through. Overall, the experience was a difficult one to bear, as criticism pointing at an underlying mistake that had gone on for two months is not easy to handle. I learned many valuable lessons about the process of research composition and peer review, however, which gave me the grounds to launch forward towards new opportunities.

After returning from Belize, I applied for and was accepted onto the editorial board for the Explorations Undergraduate Research Journal. With my newfound writing skills taken from my Belize internship, I have already been able to make full use of my position as a journal editor in my critiquing of applicants and in revision of their work. When the university nominated me for the Udall scholarship, I saw another opportunity to apply those same skills, but this time I would be writing about myself and working to highlight why I should be chosen for such an award. The skill that came in most handy for this application process was definitely my experience with peer review, since I could view the application from my own eyes as well as consider what opinions my readers might have as I wrote it. The editorial process to prepare the Udall application took about a month and a half, since eight essays of varying lengths were required. With such scrupulous review and revision, I not only learned a great deal about where I want to head with my future semesters of schooling, but I also realized how much more I have yet to learn about the fields that I had believed I was familiar with. In the final week, the application was presented to a faculty review board, which was given the task of editing for technical errors and making minor adjustments. The results from this final editing step gave me one last, meaningful lesson to remember: no matter how hard you work, there will likely always be critics looking to depreciate your work. For that reason, a writer should believe in what has been written, and, just as in a debate, have solid reasons for the points that have been made.

Keeping these fresh new lessons in mind, I disembarked into the research arena while my Udall application lay in line to face its final judgment. My culmination of acquired writing experiences aided me in writing my first research grant proposal, and another will likely be sent out the door in a similar fashion soon. The method through which grant proposals are written, as professors will confirm, is vital in the long run with regards to keeping one’s academic position as well as funding research. Although I don’t have to count on research funds for my job just yet, the results of my grant proposals will be an accurate critique of how effective my writing skills have become. Now I look to add the finishing touches to the lesson that came from my Belize internship, which will be accomplished in a publication in a professional research journal. Using the experiences that I have from my high school Expository Writing class, writing and rebuilding my Belize report, meticulously constructing the Udall application, and sending off my first grant proposal, I have already begun to build three research reports derived from the findings obtained in my lionfish study, with the goal of getting them all officially published in the near future. Needless to say, the power of effective writing is an impressive and increasingly useful one, and only through practice and experience can students of all kinds harness that ability. When such a level of comprehension is reached, only good things can come from continuing to strive forward.

The Future is Looking Ful-Bright!

By Hayley Cox

fulbrightThe Fulbright Scholar Program, proposed to the U.S. Congress in 1945 by Senator J. William Fulbright, is a U.S. government program in international educational exchange. Senator Fulbright proposed the program as a means of promoting “mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries of the world.”

Since its beginning, the Fulbright Program has provided almost 310,000 participants the opportunity to study, teach, research, and exchange ideas in finding solutions to shared international concerns. The program is administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State and is primarily funded by an annual appropriation made by the United States Congress.

Typical “Fulbrighters” must represent the diversity of their home countries, according to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website eca.state.gov/Fulbright. There are no set criteria for a “Fulbrighter,” as they have included students from a large range of cities, universities, fields of study, and personal backgrounds. “All Fulbrighters share a strong academic background, leadership potential, a passion for increasing mutual understanding among nations and cultures, and the adaptability and flexibility to pursue their proposed Fulbright project successfully.”

Four Texas A&M University students have been recognized by the Fulbright Scholar Program for 2013:

Undergraduate applicant, Audrey (Caroline) Barrow, was named as an English Teaching Assistantship Fulbright winner and will be moving to Kazakhstan in August.

Graduate applicant, Alicia Krzton, was named as an Anthropology Research Fulbright winner and will be moving to China in August.

Graduate applicant, Amber Hall, and undergraduate applicant, Maria Lopez-Salazar, were named as English Teaching Assistantship Fulbright Alternates.

Caroline Barrow - Fulbright Scholar - Kazakhkstan
Caroline Barrow – Fulbright Scholar – Kazakhkstan
Fulbright winner Caroline Barrow graduated in May with degrees in International Studies and Russian. She will move to Kazakhstan in August and be placed in a school in Kostanay where she will teach English.

Barrow applied for the Fulbright Scholars Program in September of 2012. The application process has many stages including an on campus interview and application review by Texas A&M, the Fulbright Scholars board in the U.S., and a Fulbright board in the applicant’s specific country of interest. Barrow was notified in May that she had been selected!

Barrow said she wanted to go to a Russian-speaking country. She said, “I’ve been able to see a few countries in Eastern Europe. Kazakhstan interested me because it’s a very different part of the Former Soviet Union. It is quite a mix of cultures.” The Fulbright winner said she is very excited to represent Texas A&M abroad!

Alicia Krzton - Fulbright Scholar - China
Alicia Krzton – Fulbright Scholar – China
Fulbright winner Alicia Krzton is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology, completing her fifth year in graduate school at Texas A&M. She has done research on a species of Chinese golden snub-nosed monkeys called Rhinopithecus roxellana since 2010.

Krzton also applied for the Fulbright Scholars Program in fall of 2012. This year, 60 scholarships were available for China and Krzton was notified in May that she had been selected! Krzton will be moving to China in August to do a semester of intensive language study before she continues on to her main research project in 2014. Her language study is funded by the Critical Language Enhancement Award, an award available as an adjunct to the Fulbright Program.

Krzton is going to China because it is the only country in which the golden snub-nosed monkey is present. She has had a longstanding interest in the people and culture of China as well. Krzton said she was ecstatic upon her notification of selection as a Fulbright winner!

The Fulbright winner encouraged any undergraduates interested in research to pursue outside funding, especially national grants. Krzton said, “I had to hear ‘no’ quite often before I ever got a ‘yes’.” She said this was all part of a great learning process which helped her to grow as a professional.

The Department of Honors and Undergraduate Research congratulates Fulbright winners, Caroline Barrow and Alicia Krzton, and Fulbright alternates, Amber Hall and Maria Lopez-Salazar on their outstanding achievements!

Undergraduate Research Spotlight, Holland Kaplan

Kaplan (right) in Canberra, Australia preforming research on platypus sex chromosomes.
Kaplan (right) in Canberra, Australia preforming research on platypus sex chromosomes.

Undergraduate Researcher doesn’t even begin to credit the work of Holland Kaplan ’13, biology and philosophy major. Since before setting foot on the A&M campus Kaplan has been expanding her mind through research. Her passion for education has taken her from Australia to Portugal to New Zealand and across the United States. I recently interviewed Kaplan to learn more about her, her work, and her future.

What is your major/class year?
I am double majoring in philosophy and biology and will be graduating in May.

How did you get started in Undergraduate Research?
My first experience in undergraduate research was in biology on platypus genomics and genetics. The cover of Nature in May 2008 had a huge platypus on it, and it announced that the platypus genome had been sequenced. I read this article and some others about platypus genetics and was hooked. Platypuses have ten sex chromosomes, which changes all kinds of things about the way they express genetic information. I emailed the lead author of the paper and was invited to spend a summer at Australian National University conducting research under Dr. Jennifer Graves, a prominent platypus researcher. The following summer I continued my platypus research at the University of Connecticut with one of Dr. Graves’ previous post-docs, Dr. Rachel O’Neill. When I got to Texas A&M, I became more interested in interdisciplinary research regarding medical ethics. I had previously taken a class with Dr. Mike LeBuffe, and he agreed to be my advisor for my thesis applying Kantian ethics to end-of-life situations in children.

What is your project about?
My most recent research culminated in an undergraduate research scholars thesis entitled “Pediatric Euthanasia: The End of Life as an End in Itself?” In my thesis, I present background on pediatric euthanasia, expand on some key ideas in Kantian philosophy, develop a model for decision making in pediatric end-of-life situations, and systemically apply ideas of Kantian ethics to my model. It is my hope that a model similar to the one I developed can be used to articulate and prioritize relevant concerns during these types of decision-making processes.

How has this project changed or solidified your views of the importance of undergraduate research?
I certainly want to be involved in research in medical school and in my career, so I think my research experience as an undergraduate will prove to be valuable. It gave me an opportunity to engage with the material I was learning in my classes instead of just passively absorbing it. I was also lucky to be able to compare and contrast my research experiences in science and in the humanities, both of which I enjoyed and will probably engage in in the future.

How was your experience presenting in another country? What did you take away from that experience?
Presenting my work at a global, interdisciplinary conference in Lisbon, Portugal was a great experience. I met many other people with similar interests and received valuable input on my work. Presenting my work in Portugal and studying abroad previously in New Zealand have been some of the most impactful experiences I’ve had while at Texas A&M. Both of these experiences exposed me to different types of cultures and people, which I think is useful for any profession.

What work will be published in Explorations?
I have published my previous research in Explorations in the article “The Platypus: Duck-Billed Outcast or Crucial Evolutionary Link?” My current research will be published by the conference at which I presented it.

What are your future plans?
I have been accepted to Baylor College of Medicine and will pursue my M.D. with a concentration in medical ethics. I hope to become an academic physician with a dual appointment in a subspecialty of internal medicine and a center for medical ethics, allowing me to see patients, conduct ethics research, and teach medical students.

Students share benefits of the Academy for Future International Leaders


The Academy for Future International Leaders (AFIL) is a year-long undergraduate program in which students learn about leadership in global issues. Open to all majors, it is best suited for those with little or no international experience.

The AFIL program includes a mentoring program and an international leadership challenge program, both of which begin in the fall semester. In the spring, AFIL holds a 3-credit hour seminar based on international focus, which meets on Thursday evenings. AFIL students are encouraged to participate in optional international experiences at any time throughout the year, such as study abroad. The idea behind the program is that students will benefit from learning about global issues, as an international view is becoming more and more important in the 21st Century.

AFIL senior in the college of geosciences, Matt McMahon, became a part of AFIL after beginning a diversity certificate program. McMahon says AFIL has shown him “the importance of striving for success as a student leader.” He said, “Every international mentor and speaker who we’ve had the privilege to speak with did just that to launch into their prosperous careers.”

McMahon hopes to work in the environmental geology field, travel extensively, and work with nuclear waste containment or environmental contamination. McMahon advises students interested to apply as soon as possible and to make sure that their spring class and extracurricular schedule isn’t too busy. He said, “With hard work the international challenge project has a lot of potential.”

Junior, and AFIL Class of 2013 member, Ming Liu is working on a project with his partner and fellow AFIL member, Grace Davis, that “brings domestic and international students together to reduce social stereotypes and increase cultural comfort.” Through AFIL, Liu has also participated in Aggies for Global Education which traveled to Costa Rica over spring break to teach local students, and an internationally-focused book club started by AFIL’s Maggie Beecher and Gus Blessings.

Liu, a business major, hopes to go into the management consulting field after graduation, and eventually start his own company. He advised students interested in AFIL to “come into this program with a genuine interest for international affairs.” Liu said to be sure to “spend time on your application and be yourself during the interview.”
For more information on The Academy for Future International Leaders (AFIL), please visit http://afil.tamu.edu/ . Applications are due April 26 and finalists selected for interviews will be notified in July.


Contact: Hayley Cox, hayleyccox@exchange.tamu.edu

Guest Blog: Writing and Copyrighting: A Student’s View on its Necessity at a College Level

The following post is contributed by freshman Honors Student Karina Rambeau ’16. Karina’s personal blog can be found at http://thelifeinprogress.wordpress.com/

Writing and Copyrighting – a Student’s View on its Necessity at a Collegiate Level

The ability to write is something that many people overlook. Writing does not apply simply to English majors, it is a skill that all members of the professional world need. Writing, blogging, and social media are a few of the ways that people communicate today. At many universities, writing is valued, but still not as much as it should be. Simple email etiquette is the perfect example: forgetting to address the recipient, failing to use proper grammar, and neglecting a closing remark are all egregious errors that should be taught to students so that when they email their professors they are paying them proper respect.  I have often thought to myself, instead of two kinesiology classes, why not require one kinesiology class, and one required “writer’s prep” class? While there are classes like that offered here, I think that their importance is undervalued. I am often frustrated when students think that they will not use writing again after high school because they undoubtedly will.Writing Textbooks

I am a science major and often times I find myself missing the allegorical and introspective English pieces that I used to write in high school. I miss that writer’s “fluff,” or pizazz when I write Chemistry papers. However, my strong foundation in writing allows me to write concise and intelligent science papers. In science the prepositional phrases go away and extraneous words become unimportant, despite their stylistic value. No matter what kind of writing is necessary for a given class, there is a basic foundation that should be emphasized to prepare college students for the professional world. Whether they are an English major preparing to write a book or a science major preparing a periodical for a medical journal, writing is a necessity for success in the real world. Literacy alone is a respectable skill for all professionals.

Creativity is an intrinsic part of the writing process. Expressing oneself creatively entails publishing one’s intellectual material. After attending a seminar given by Associate Professor Gail Clements, I learned a great deal about the importance of intellectual property.  There are many rules about plagiarism and copyright, especially in today’s world where the increase in self-publishing options has become more apparent.

I have a WordPress blog where I post much of my more creative ideas, especially when I am in need of a creative rampage after writing a perfectly stagnant and statistical science paper. Interestingly, the blog served as the perfect example for Professor Clements. Professor Clements made the point that anything that I post on my blog is mine. My blog was not created to generate profit; it was merely a fun creative exercise. Let’s pretend for a minute that I am using my writings to earn some money. Let’s say another blogger copies my piece, and posts it on their blog and starts to profit from my writings. This is not allowed. In other words, unless I permit others to share this material on their websites, I have the right to sue them for using my information inappropriately.

I went to Paris this summer and I took a lot of pictures at the Louvre museum. One of my blog entries had several pictures of my trip, but I was careful to avoid putting any works of art on there. I decided to opt out of posting anything that I had taken pictures of in the museums.  Fair Use is essentially the permission to use certain copyrighted material without obtaining that permission from the artist. Fair Use protects people heavily in regards to social media and the Internet but art is a completely different story. If I were to post a picture of a copyrighted work of art on my blog I would be violating the ordinances of Fair Use. The only way I would avoid this violation would be to get permission from the owner, or, if it is an old piece of artwork like the Mona Lisa the age of the painting supersedes the copyright. The discussion of Fair Use was probably the most complex part of our discourse.  There are a lot of details that surround Fair Use but the best advice I learned is that it is better to err on the side of caution when publishing other material that is not your own.

The conversation covered a range of topics: The time limit on copyrights, privacy as an interwoven part of copyright and basic right, and the fact that you cannot copyright or own an idea. Ideas need to be “set in stone” or written down before a person can claim it as their own. Overall, the seminar proved to be highly educational and was the perfect example of the kind of class and information that needs to be taught to college kids. I feel that this is exactly why we students need reinforcement and education about writing in today’s world. Many people think that the basic high school English class is preparation enough for the real world. This is not true and this seminar is just one example. The creative world around us has broadened with the presence of the Internet and social media. It is important that students understand the intricacies of issues like copyright and privacy in writing and beyond, in order to avoid issues in the future. Only then will students be able to access their true scholarly potential.