Tag Archives: Jamaica Pouncy

Jamaica Pouncy: On Travel, Personal & Professional Development, Part 2

Jamaica Pouncy was the National Fellowships Coordinator in LAUNCH and advisor for University Scholars from 2012-2016, and continued to work with our office on a part time basis through 2017. In the post below (part 2 of 2), she reflects on how travel and reflection on her professional goals led her to pursue a career abroad.

By Jamaica Pouncy –

I had been working as a fellowship advisor for three years when I began to feel the itch. After helping students to craft their applications and listen to their hopes and dreams I knew that I wanted to have a similar experience. I decided to apply for a fellowship. I sat down with Dr. Datta and Dr. Kotinek and we talked about my thoughts, what I hoped to accomplish, and how what I wanted to do could be beneficial both for myself and my position in the office.

It was a fascinating experience; first narrowing my plans from the nebulous idea of applying to a fellowship to and then figuring out how I would accomplish it. The shoe was on the other foot and I needed to understand the process from the inside out. I looked into fellowships that would fit with my goals and ultimately decided to apply for a few that seemed to match well. I drafted essay after essay; trying to be as harsh with my own writing as I am whenever I review someone else’s. I scoured the website, searching for all the little tips and guidelines that would help me make my application better. Then I submitted and crossed my fingers.

I was cautiously optimistic when I was invited for an interview and over the moon when I was selected for the Princeton in Asia program. My PiA supervisor suggested a post in northern China that I had never heard of and I said ‘sure.’ Throughout this process I had the support and encouragement of the LAUNCH office. They worried with me, celebrated with me and gave me the courage to go forward with this crazy plan. We even arranged for me to keep working for the university at a reduced capacity (talk to your supervisors about alternative work locations and flexible time schedules; you won’t regret it).

Jamaica Pouncy (left) with colleagues from Princeton in Asia

I arrived in China and, while overcoming culture shock, I learned how to juggle two different positions with different expectations and demands on my time. While I was in China I found that I loved the international life. There is something absolutely exhilarating about trying to figure out a new and different culture and understand your place in it. When I returned to A&M in July 2016 I talked to my supervisor about wanting to pursue a career abroad. Even as Dr. Datta and Dr. Kotinek acknowledged that my career path was moving further and further from our office, they supported my plans and told me they’d do whatever they could to help.

I began looking at positions abroad but I also started to think about ways that I could move forward in the field of fellowships advising. I wanted to be sure that I was exploring all my possibilities. I had submitted resumes for several positions at international schools abroad when I heard of a position in fellowships advising that was opening at Yale University. I debated applying; schools like Yale have such a reputation that sometimes they can seem almost “untouchable” but, ultimately, I submitted my application, interviewed, and was offered the position. I am so appreciative of my time at Yale as a reminder to never pigeonhole myself or decide that any opportunity is too good for me – no position or institution is out of my league. I moved to Connecticut and worked for Yale for six months but I simply could not shake my desire to be in an international position. When one of the openings I had applied for in China contacted me suddenly, I took it as a sign and decided to pack up my life once again, this time making a permanent move into an international career.

Realizing that I needed to make a major life move and that I only had two weeks within which to accomplish it was a scary thing. This was completely different from my Princeton in Asia experience – this was not temporary, no short-term jaunt of self-discovery and horizon-broadening; there was no safety net, no job to return to if things didn’t work out. I was walking out onto a limb and hoping with everything I had in me that it didn’t snap and send me falling to the ground. I’ll always be grateful to LAUNCH for providing the safety that they did during my Princeton in Asia experience but now I realize that I needed this – I needed to do something crazy and bold and different with no guarantee of success and no safety net. As much as I’ve preached the idea to my students, I needed to take the chance that I could try this out and seriously fail. Not the gentle failure of merely going back home to all things familiar, but the true sense of having to pick myself up, dust myself off, and deal with a failed career move. As I write this, I am still in the middle of that experiment, still standing out on that limb and looking at the ground. I don’t know if this will make me happy. I don’t know if this will be my life path. I just know that I would have regretted not taking the chance.

These past six years I’ve learned a lot about who I am; particularly how much, for me, my career impacts my sense of self and how important it is to me to see my personality reflected in my career choices. I’ve also learned to live in a completely “foreign” culture and that taught me a lot about life, expectations, and the different facets of my own personality. After traveling to see a bit of the world and growing and experiencing so many new things one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned is the importance of establishing a solid, trusting relationship with your supervisors and coworkers and of finding an employer that is willing to invest in you. I’ve come to believe that it is the truest and most trustworthy sign of belief in your potential and ability.

When I look back on my time with Princeton in Asia I find it fascinating that my job was willing to offer me the chance to take that opportunity; knowing full well that it could (and eventually did) lead me out the door and away from A&M. I didn’t have to resign to go after my dream and I didn’t have to worry that I needed to hide my plans from the people in my office; people I cared for and spent as much time with as I did with my family. I know that there are many places that would not have allowed me to go after that opportunity; that would have required that I pick, either ‘them’ or the fellowship.

My job at Texas A&M was my first fulltime position. I really didn’t know what to expect going into it. I had, after all, taken the job, sight unseen. My entire interview process had been carried out via telephone and Skype while I lived in Alabama. At that point I had a very general, vague notion of what it meant to have a fulltime job; a career. I would wear business casual, show up to work on time, and complete the tasks I was assigned. I would do these things and I would receive a paycheck. Simple enough.  But I had never thought about the idea of professional development: my office’s obligation to provide me with opportunities for growth and development.

I had never considered professional development or what it meant to invest in an employee. That’s why I was so fortunate to end up in our office. I couldn’t have asked for a better launching pad for my career.  I was surrounded by people who wanted to see me succeed. Who were interested in my ideas and saw my ability as more than something they could use but rather something that could be cultivated both for their and my benefit. So, I think that after all my adventures and travels, the most important lesson that I’ve learned is that, no matter what city, state, or country you find yourself in, it’s always going to be the people you surround yourself with that make all the difference.

Thank you, Dr. Kotinek and Dr. Datta. Thank you, LAUNCH. Thank you, Texas A&M University. Thank you all for being amazing people to be surrounded by and for helping me to have amazing, transformative experiences. Wherever life takes me, please know that you made this possible.


Jamaica Pouncy: On Travel, Personal & Professional Development, Part 1

Jamaica Pouncy was the National Fellowships Coordinator in LAUNCH and advisor for University Scholars from 2012-2016, and continued to work with our office on a part time basis through 2017. In the post below (part 1 of 2), she reflects on how travel and reflection on her professional goals led her to pursue a career abroad.

By Jamaica Pouncy –

My intention in writing this piece is twofold: first, I want to tell my story because I hope that it can inspire and help others and because it is immensely gratifying to work with those who believe my experiences are worth hearing about (thank you, Dr. Kotinek!).

My first international trip was technically as a baby. My parents were leaving a military base in Germany and they brought me on the plane where my mother tells me I slept…. well, like a baby, for the entire journey. Hardly worth mentioning except that I really like the story my parents tell about my birth and trip to the U.S.  And since it fit with my theme of international travel I thought, ‘why not?’ However, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that this trip doesn’t really count, at least in my opinion, as international travel. I wasn’t required to navigate the complicated bureaucracy and paperwork related to visas and passports; repack my suitcase three or four times; or figure out how to ask for the bathroom when the person I’m talking to doesn’t speak English and I don’t know the word for bathroom in any other language. So I think my story of international travel and what it has taught me should really begin with my time at A&M.

Jamaica Pouncy (right) with students on the MSC Champe Fitzhugh Honors International Leadership trip.

I had been in the LAUNCH office (Honors and Undergraduate Research at the time) for about 6 months when Dr. Datta and Dr. Kotinek approached me about co-leading the Champe Fitzhugh trip in Italy. I jumped at the opportunity to have my first “real” international trip. I learned a lot in that initial experience; much of it before I even left Texas. I had never been through the passport process or attempted to convert currency or had to decide what to pack when you couldn’t be guaranteed a quick trip to the corner store to pick up anything you forgot.  In some weird way I didn’t really believe I was going to go. And that feeling persisted until the plane actually left the runway. Honestly, even while I was in the air it didn’t feel real. But several hours later we touched down in Germany for our layover and I was walking through customs (where I had a fascinating conversation about my inability to speak German despite having Germany listed as my place of birth on my passport).

The Champe Fitzhugh trip was everything you could want for your first international trip; Italy was beautiful, my traveling companions were delightful, and we had few mishaps. I think, for many people and certainly for me, international travel holds equal parts fascination and fear. There is the desire to see other parts of the world combined with the idea that, somehow, something might go wrong and you will simply be out of your element and incapable of functioning. That trip taught me not to be fearful of the international landscape and I left Italy hooked on international travel and thinking about where I might go next. As it turns out, my next international trip was also related to my work in the LAUNCH office.

It was during my first year as fellowships coordinator that I was able to recognize a large gap in my professional understanding. I was working with students as they applied to awards that would fund graduate study in the UK and Ireland. Naturally we would talk about the British and Irish educational systems; the best programs; and the appropriate fit for each student. Except I really had no experience with either educational system. The information I was providing could really have been found online and I felt superfluous. I spoke to Dr. Datta and she suggested that I submit a proposal detailing my ideas for changing that situation.

The proposal, which asked the university to fund a trip to the UK and Ireland, was my first experience with grant writing. And that experience was transformative. I didn’t really expect the proposal to be successful. I was there to do a job for the university, why would any of the upper administration be interested in my inability to do that job except as it relates to my employability? But, they were interested. Not only were they interested in what was best for the students but they were interested in helping me cultivate and refine my skillset. They agreed, Dr. Datta said, because they saw something worthwhile in me; something that was worth investing in. So I packed my bags and headed off to the UK and Ireland.

My mother was much more worried about my trip to the UK and Ireland than I was. It was after all my first international trip completely alone. I would be responsible for myself and there would be no one to lean on if something went wrong. But it was Great Britain. An English-speaking, first world country. I assured her I’d be fine and the worst thing that would happen would be spending Thanksgiving in a hotel instead of at home with family. I boarded my flight with no problems and relaxed into my seat where I slept for the majority of the 6 hours. I landed in Heathrow and sailed through customs. I strolled through the airport to pick up my luggage and approached the carousel to grab my bag. Only to discover that my luggage had been damaged on the trip. And not just a few bumps and scrapes, it was absolutely, completely, destroyed and clearly couldn’t fly anymore. Heck it couldn’t even roll anymore. I couldn’t lug that thing around a foreign country for 4 weeks!

Oh well. It was getting late and dark and I decided to tackle the problem in the morning. I figured there was nothing to be done about it then so I went to the information desk to ask about a shuttle to my hotel. I walked up, asked about the shuttle, and the desk attendant smiled and started to speak…. And I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. Was that really English? It was so fast and…. different. Cue my first (of many) international freak-outs. I’m proud to say that, after several opportunities to practice and hone the ability over the years, I’ve now mastered the art of the internal freak-out. No need to disturb (and terrify) everyone around you when the entire episode can happen in your head! I asked him to repeat the information (twice!) and finally figured out that I needed to buy a shuttle ticket. I went to the ATM to pull out money and discovered that all of my cards were frozen for international use. A word to the wise: always remember to tell your banks when you plan to travel out of the country, my friends. So, there I was, in the airport as night descended with a busted suitcase and no money.

Luckily the shuttle agent took pity on me and let me ride to my hotel for free where, after a night of sleep, I was able to straighten things out. I like to think that by frontloading all of my issues into the first day at the airport I managed to avoid having constant mishaps throughout my journey. Apart from getting lost and wandering the oddly deserted streets of Edinburgh for a few hours, the rest of my trip went off without a hitch. I think I will always feel that my time in the UK and Ireland struck a perfect balance between the acquisition of professional knowledge and personal confidence. I learned a lot about the UK and Irish education systems (which, of course, was the goal after all). But I also learned that when things do go wrong (as they often do) I am capable of finding solutions and pushing forward. It’s a lesson I have been able to take and apply to all parts of my life.

Continue to Part 2

HUR Staff Spotlight: Jamaica Pouncy

Jamaica Afiya Pouncy (she does prefer you use her middle name) is the University Scholars program coordinator for Honors and Undergraduate Research and the National Fellowships Coordinator for Texas A&M University.

Jamaica Pouncy
Jamaica Pouncy, Program Coordinator

Jamaica grew up in the college town of Oberlin, Ohio and the neighboring town of Elyria where she participated in school orchestras, Academic Challenge and Drama Club. She attended Spelman College where her initial plan was to major in English and become a children’s book author. After changing her major several times she eventually found herself in the mathematics department and discovered that she enjoyed the beauty of a well-constructed proof. Aside from studying mathematics she was a resident assistant for three years including one year as Senior Resident Assistant. However, Jamaica never lost her love of children’s books and decided to revisit that field in a different way. She attended graduate school at the University of Alabama (before they became an Aggie rival) and earned her master’s degree in Library and Information Studies while specializing in Children’s librarianship.

Drawing on her experience as a resident assistant, Jamaica applied and was selected to serve as coordinator of the Honors Housing Community at A&M. She started this role whilst finishing her graduate degree. When a position opened in the office as the coordinator of National Fellowships and University Scholars she threw her hat in the ring and the rest, as they say, is history. She feels this position is a particularly strong fit for her because she enjoys learning about so many different topics (hence the uncertainty when it came to selecting a college major) and loves long philosophical, ethical, and hypothetical discussions. Jamaica finds her role particularly enjoyable because the students she works with are so interesting. While selecting University Scholars and assisting students in their fellowship applications she has learned about everything from engineering ”total artificial hearts” to stemming the sale of archaeological artifacts on the black market. She enjoys helping students apply for national fellowships because of the opportunities they provide for new and exciting adventures. To Jamaica, her fellowships candidates are those people who truly take “the path less traveled” and she describes them as the “person at the cocktail party that everyone wants to talk to.”

In her spare time, Jamaica enjoys solving jigsaw puzzles, hanging out with her parents and three siblings (who have all managed to end up in the same region of Texas), playing with her dog, Vinnie, and watching Korean and Taiwanese dramas.

Jamaica’s dog, Vinnie

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.

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.

Comedy: Work, Play, or Both?

This guest post from Brenton Cooper ’15 highlights his experience in the University Scholars comedy exploration group. Brenton, an economics and philosophy double-major, is on Twitter @brentonhcooper. You can learn more about Brenton’s experience as an Honors Student at Texas A&M by visiting his ePortfolio.

– by Brenton Cooper ’15

University Scholar Brenton Cooper '16
University Scholar Brenton Cooper ’16

We often view humor as somewhat of a toy and perceive it as being on par with kids’ video games or Cartoon Network: cheap, silly sources of quick entertainment. Maybe this is evidenced by the fact that many of our comedy shows are late at night. Whether it’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon or The Late Show with David Letterman (please note here that definitions of what constitutes “comedy” vary), our most popular comedians seem to be scheduled at a ridiculously late hour of the night. We take care of our work, come home and take care of dinner and chores, and watch our primetime dramas and sports events. Finally, when our brain is fried and we can no longer take part in anything of importance, we revel in comedy.

Comedy can, however, be quite serious and deeply important. In some senses, it might in fact be the most serious and most important thing in the world. This past semester, some of my fellow University Scholars and I took part in a seminar on comedy led by Jamaica Pouncy. We got to hear from a professor from the business school who explored comedy’s applications in marketing. We heard from a scholar on Jewish, female comedians who made social statements through their comedy about their lives and times in the 1950s. And we heard from a graduate student who studies how cultures and nations appropriate and reflect on themselves through the use of internet memes.

This experience showed us that comedy has tremendous applications of a serious nature. “Humor is a rubber sword,” says comedian Mary Hirsh. “It allows you to make a point without drawing blood.” Because of its ability to spread messages without offending people, humor plays an immensely important role in politics. For better or worse, people are more likely to share and pay attention to clips of John Oliver or satire from The Onion than whatever publications the Congressional Budget Office puts out. Comedy also has a huge impact on our purchasing habits. Last year, companies paid $4 million for a thirty-second opportunity to make Super Bowl viewers laugh. And it has an immense role in the way in which we understand our cultures and communities. Sometimes it is only by laughing at ourselves that we are able to be honest with ourselves about who we are as people and as a broader community.

The philosopher Michael Oakeshott once made a helpful distinction between work and play. Work, he argues, is what we do when we use the materials the world provides for the sake of something else. Play, on the other hand, is that in which we participate for its own sake. This dichotomy presents a helpful lens for viewing the role of comedy. To be sure, comedy is play—something which can be wholly and thoroughly enjoyed for its own sake alone. To deny this would be to deprive comedy of its most important function: enriching our lives by making us laugh. But we would be remiss not to recognize that in some ways it constitutes work. As a society, we wield comedy as a potent weapon for a number of serious endeavors. In that way humor, which appears silly and childish on the surface can, in fact–for better or worse–be one of the most serious forces in the world.

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.

The Many Functions of Music

Carli Domenico ’15 is a junior University Studies-Honors major with a focus on neuroscience. She is also completing minors in psychology and philosophy. This guest post from Carli highlights her experience in the University Scholars music exploration group. To learn more about Carli’s experience as an Honors Student at Texas A&M, please visit her ePortfolio.

– by Carli Domenico ’15

University Scholar Carli Domenico '15
University Scholar Carli Domenico ’15

Music is everywhere. It is an industry, an art, and a science. Our emotions are enhanced and our memories are evoked by it. Overlooking the role of music in our lives is easy, but after deliberation, one can see how prominent it really is. It brings drama to a movie. It gives energy to a restaurant. It makes car drives more interesting, and it makes exercise an adventure.

In a seminar on music this past semester with University Scholars, we discussed many facets of music from its structure to its role in culture. Ethnomusicologists came to discuss their research. One explained the influence of music genres in forming an identity for certain groups. The power of music is so strong that people will dress a certain way to associate themselves with the music and to find others that have the same tastes and beliefs as them.   Another musicologist discussed issues in Brazil. With the banning of loud bars in residential areas, the youth have rebelled by gathering in varying places and by playing loud music in speaker systems in their cars. He also discussed the pairing of abstract images to enhance the sensory experience attained in a musical performance. A professional conductor visited, and he explained how complex a music performance can be. He gave us examples of famous musical pieces and how they were similar and different in regard to their structure. He discussed their importance as they marked major shifts in music composition over time. The Honors Program’s very own Antoine Jefferson explained the structure of music and how it is read. Finally, a philosophy professor came to discuss how hip hop artists communicate certain messages that shape society and our perception of individuals in it.

We gained a very comprehensive understanding of music as a result of this seminar, and we learned its importance to the human experience. Victor Hugo once said: “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”. Music is an impressive creation unique to humans. It is therapeutic, and in many ways, it defines us. In a TED talk, Robert Gupta explained the medicinal nature of music and how it provided sanity for the famous violinist, Nathaniel Ayers, who struggled with schizophrenia. The playing of musical numbers pacified Nathaniel, grounded him, and elicited his brilliance. The function of music is beyond its ability to make humans dance.

A church program would not deliver such deep spiritual connection without its hymnals. A movie would seem incomplete if silence replaced the dramatic crescendos of the climax. Performance might decline in exercise and in academia without the motivational stir inside one’s ear buds. Music is fundamental to the human experience. It is an art constituted through the media of sound. The seminar this semester showed the many applications of music and its importance. Cultures may differ in the value and creation of music, yet it is a universal language that connects us all.

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.

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.