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 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.