Tag Archives: Mays Business Shool


Today’s Honors Welcome recognized twelve new students joining the University Scholars program. University Scholars is a personal and professional development program for high-achieving students who serve as ambassadors for the University Honors program. Each spring, ten to twelve freshmen are selected for the Scholars program through an intensive application and interview process. The program seeks students who are intellectually curious and who demonstrate critical thinking, self-awareness, poise, and maturity. Scholars are able to engage in rigorous conversation and to defend their ideas. They’re also highly accomplished and motivated students who love learning for the sake of learning.

University Scholars Class of 2020: (left to right) Immanuel Ponminissery, Hannah Lehman, Loan Do, Seth Reine, Sydney Tejml, Caleb Allison, Tessa Williams, Alex Sharma, Sarah Swift, Jon Williamson, Katherine Miller

These new Scholars will join their twenty upperclassman peers in the Exploration Series, seminar courses offered to Scholars each semester. Previous Exploration Series have delved into transportation, education, television, comedy, and animal conservation; this coming fall will feature seminars on Aggie History and Food and the Sacred. Sophomores new to the program participate in a personal statement writing seminar, “Futuring Yourself,” together.

Throughout the program, University Scholars seek intellectual challenge and share their unique perspectives from an array of academic and cultural backgrounds. We are excited for twelve new University Scholars to grow in this program during the next three years and look forward to seeing their future accomplishments both at Texas A&M and in the world!

Caleb Allison ’20, University Scholar

Caleb Allison

Caleb Allison is a sophomore business major from Argyle, TX. Allison is an outdoorsman and adventurer, and he loves anything to do with mountains, snow, and conservation. He was a member of MSC ALOT as a freshman and will be on staff as a Group Leader for his sophomore year. He is also a member of the University Disciplinary Appeals Panel and Discovery Church. Allison went abroad to Italy the summer before his freshman year as part of the Champe Fitzhugh Honors Freshman International Leadership seminar.

Loan Do ’20, University Scholar

Loan Do

Loan Do is an allied health major from Houston, TX, who plans to go to Nursing School. Do is interested in studying either neonatal medicine or oncology for her specialization someday. She is a member of the Regents’ Scholars Orientation Planning Board and Texas A&M University’s Texas Emergency Care Team (TAMECT).

Hannah Lehman ’20, University Scholar

Hannah Lehman

Hannah Lehman is an aerospace engineering major and mathematics minor from Austin, Texas. Lehman is interested in one day combining air and spacecraft with more advanced artificial intelligence. She loves sculpture and martial arts and is a certified Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. She is involved in Vietnamese Student Association (VSA), Virtual Reality Club, and the Honors community.

Larry Liu ’20, University Scholar

Larry Liu

Larry Liu is an economics major from Alpharetta, Georgia. Liu has always been interested in history and human expression through the arts. He enjoys literature and films, and he is particularly interested in the story and the human struggle in these. Liu is an avid runner, and is often seen running with the Corps early in the morning. He has made Dean’s List, is a recipient of the Sul Ross Corps Scholarship, and serves as the Scholastics Sergeant for his outfit in the Corps.

Katherine Miller ’20, University Scholar

Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller is a biology major and Latin minor from Denver, Colorado. She is a recipient of the President’s Endowed Scholarship and National Merit Semi-Finalist. In her free time Miller enjoys reading fiction, studying languages, and communing with the great outdoors. When she is not studying, Miller is involved in Venture Crew, a co-ed organization of the Boy Scouts of America.

Immanuel Ponminissery ’20, University Scholar

Immanuel Ponminissery

Immanuel Ponminissery is a mechanical engineering major and economics minor from Thrissur, India. Technology and its benefits never fail to excite him, especially developments in his major. Ponminissery also enjoys reading the news, monitoring stock prices, and occasionally getting deeply philosophical. Another passion of his is immersing himself in different cultures. Ponminissery was briefly involved with Model United Nations at Texas A&M and currently serve as Treasurer of the Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honor Society.

Seth Reine ’20, University Scholar

Seth Reine

Seth Reine is a biomedical engineering major from Arlington, TX. Reine is interested in the applications of shape memory polymer biomaterials, increasing medical care across different cultures, and service as a disciple of God. Besides the University Honors program, he is involved with Engineering Honors, Class Councils, Residence Life, and research in the Biomedical Device Laboratory under Dr. Duncan Maitland. Reine is also a Plum Family Endowed Scholar and a President’s Endowed Scholar. He enjoys amateur weightlifting and learning to cook. While away from A&M, Seth works at Camp Thurman as a Christian youth outreach counselor.

Alex Sharma ’20, University Scholar

Eikagra “Alex” Sharma

Alex Sharma is a computer science major and mathematics minor from Bareilly, India. Sharma is currently working at the Energy Systems Laboratory, TEES to improve the software platform for engineering efficiency in buildings. He wants to work in the field of Sustainable Energy Production. Sharma is a member of the Christian Engineering Leaders organization, and is active in volunteering and community service. He is motivated to learn new cultures and skills, and is also passionate about mathematics. Sharma contributes Calculus problems for an e-book as part of the MYMathApps project and is also conducting research under Dr. Philip Yasskin on improving a parser that converts math input to Sage code.

Sarah Swift ’20, University Scholar

Sarah Swift

Sarah Swift is a biomedical engineering major and philosophy minor from Magnolia, TX, where she graduated from Magnolia High School as Valedictorian. She is a National Merit Scholar and Brown Foundation Scholar. Swift’s academic interests lie in medical technology innovation, medical care in underdeveloped countries, and the ethical implications of engineering research. Her personal interests include dance, writing, travel, and spending time outdoors. In the summer of 2016, Swift attended the MSC Champe Fitzhugh International Honors Leadership Seminar in Italy. She is a volunteer for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership seminar and is passionate about empowering the youth. During her freshman year at Texas A&M, Swift served as a staff member for The Big Event, as a member of the TEDxTAMU committee of MSC Aggie Leaders of Tomorrow, and a delegate for the Gilbert Leadership Conference. She is also an active member of Kappa Alpha Theta.

Sydeny Tejml ’20, University Scholar

Sydney Tejml

Sydney Tejml is a biomedical sciences and animal sciences double-major with a minor in psychology from Hutto, Texas. Academically, Tejml is interested in veterinary medicine and disease pathology and epidemiology. Her personal interests include travel, camping, and hunting. She loves backpacking, canoeing, snorkeling, and scuba diving! She is involved in ASPIRE, the Terry Foundation, and Pre-Vet Society on campus. Her achievements at Texas A&M include becoming a member of Phi Eta Sigma and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and making the Dean’s List for both semesters of her freshman year.

Tessa Williams ’20, University Scholar

Tessa Williams

Tessa Williams is a business major and psychology minor from Friendswood, TX. She is interested in psychology, especially neuroscience and abnormal and forensic psychology, as well as literature and political science. Outside of school, Williams enjoys reading, hiking, and exploring new places, whether foreign or local. This past year, she was a member of Memorial Student Center Freshman Leadership International, in which she was able to develop leadership and communication skills while putting on educational programs and developing relationships with an amazing group of peers.

Jon Williamson ’20, University Scholar

Jon Williamson

Jon Williamson is a mechanical engineering major from Centennial, CO, he also plans on adding a computer science major and mathematics minor. Throughout his childhood, he was fascinated with math, science, and space exploration. Williamson is a President’s Endowed Scholaras well as a Craig and Galen Brown Foundation Scholar. Outside of academics, he is extremely involved in MSC Aggie Leaders of Tomorrow and is the TEDxTAMU Executive for the 2018 conference. Williamson is an avid sports fan, especially for the Denver Broncos. In his free time, he enjoys reading, working out, and playing basketball.

Freshmen interested in applying for the University Scholars program can learn more by attending information sessions in November or the recruitment mixer in December. The application will open in January 2018. See our website at http://launch.tamu.edu/Honors/University-Scholars.


Former Student Spotlight: Omar El-Halwagi

By Macy Moore

Omar El-Halwagi ’11, Texas A&M’s most recent Truman Scholar, is  pursuing a dual degree at The University of Michigan Law School, where he is working toward becoming an employment discrimination lawyer. El-Halwagi ultimately decided to attend Texas A&M University because of the enrichment opportunities offered by Honors.

“I was admitted to the Business Honors program and loved the idea that I could attend an institution with as many resources that only a large school like A&M could have, while receiving the personalized attention one could attain through the honors program,” El-Halwagi says. “My dad is a professor at A&M, and he was rooting for me to go to A&M the whole time. It was one of the best decisions of my life. There’s no way I would have had all the current success in my life without A&M.”

Omar El-Halwagi '11
Omar El-Halwagi ’11

Some of his favorite memories at Texas A&M are from his involvement on the Speech and Debate team.

“I served as President for three years of the team, and we traveled across the country giving speeches on issues we cared about. Plus, the road trips with my fellow Aggies never disappointed!”

Aside from the team, he also enjoyed participating in the Public Policy Internship Program. It was through PPIP that El-Halwagi interned at FEMA in 2010 and in love with Washington D.C. and government.

“The opportunity to be able to do that would not have been possible had I not been a student at A&M. That office was truly incredible in facilitating that experience for me.”

In 2011, El-Halwagi and a friend had the opportunity to design and teach their own upper-level business course, entitled “Hot Topics in Business,” under the supervision of a professor.

“It was an amazing professional opportunity to fill a gap I saw in the curriculum and grow as a communicator,” he says. “While at the business school, I also served as one of the coordinators of the Freshman Business Initiative, where I helped three classes of freshmen acclimate to Texas A&M and find a space for themselves where they could be supported.”

In 2009, he was granted the opportunity to travel to Beijing as a student ambassador to the China-US Relations Conference. George Bush founded the conference, and 20 of the 26 selected student ambassadors were from Texas A&M. He deems the experience “by far one of the best” of his life.

He personally considers the fellowship office the most helpful aspect of the Honors Program. He credits Kyle Mox, the former national fellowships coordinator, for helping him attain his Truman Scholarship, and says that without his assistance, his life would be completely different.

El-Halwagi refers to the Truman Scholarship as “the gift that keeps on giving” as he was hired by a former Truman scholar at the City of Houston following graduation. Along with the scholarship’s positive affects, he attributes his other academic involvement to his professional success.

“PPIP gave me experience working in a large governmental body that I was able to apply at the City of Houston,” he says. “My capstone strategic management course helped me as an internal consultant at the City of Houston on how to approach large problems and create efficient solutions. My desire to become an employment discrimination lawyer is founded in the courses I took at Mays from Professor Paetzold and Professor Hailey.”

Needless to say, his undergraduate experience at Texas A&M gave him the essential foundations for his career aspirations. El-Hawagi advises Texas A&M current students to take every opportunity that presents itself.

“So much of my success was just the fact that I kept building on the opportunities I was given,” he says. “Form relationships with professors. Find the classes you think will be engaging and take them. I took maybe five or six theatre classes while at A&M, and avoided accounting like the plague! Befriend people who inspire you. My friends at A&M are deserving of so much credit for my success. I’ll never forget when I sent out my Truman application to a few friends at A&M, and how within one hour, three of them told me how bad it was and gave me constructive criticism on how to improve it. I crafted an entirely new application within three days because of their support. And finally, believe in yourself. There is a huge world out there, and A&M has provided you with the tools to own it; do so.”

El-Halwagi was recently invited to present at TEDxACU. His talk, titled, “When Faced with Islamophobia, Will You Be an Ally?” can be found online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw5zCYYSvGQ.

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

HUR Staff Spotlight: Adelia Humme

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

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

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

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

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

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


Taking a Chance – Haylee Matecko

An integral part of our Honors Housing Community experience has become the learning community course (LCSE 002) developed to support and extend our freshman “families.” The overarching course goal of this learning community is to help Honors freshmen identify their values and how those values are informing their long-term goals and then to articulate those goals in a personal statement at the end of the year.

University Honors Program students revisit these goals each year in their ePortfolios to reflect on what they have experienced, what they’ve learned from those experiences, and how these experiences have either reinforced or modified their goals. The process of tying together personal interests and talents with academic growth and professional aspirations often results in our students making stronger connections between what they are doing in the classroom and their co-curricular activities.

The following personal statement from Haylee Matecko ’18, demonstrates how taking a chance resulted in tremendous personal growth:

By Haylee Matecko – “Sometimes it is the smallest thing that saves us.” The words of Jonathan Carroll define my life – from my experience, it seems that the simplest of actions tend to produce the greatest results. As a freshman surrounded by sophomores in my first accounting class, I was pretty nervous to begin with. The idea of signing up for a tax case competition run by PWC, one of the big four accounting firms, was nerve-wracking but I decided to try. At least it would be a good learning experience.

I had done a business case competition in high school, but I didn’t know much about tax laws. As my new teammates Marisa and Morgan began to talk about what they found in the case, I realized how far behind them I was. They were grad students, but I was still worried. My other teammates, Josh and Christina, both seemed to know what was going on too. After that meeting, I decided I wasn’t going to be the weak link on the team. I went to the library and researched about everything I could possibly find a way to relate to our case. Each time we met after that, I seemed to be able to say and do more – I was finding confidence in myself, and I was able to bring much more to the team than I thought I could.

Presentation day rolled around, and by that time our team had become really close. We met to work on our presentation every day, and we worked extremely hard, while also taking some time to goof around, get to know each other, and have fun. We focused a lot on our speaking skills and presentation content as well as our visual presentation, making sure that our suits looked good and our PowerPoint slides were crisp. As we walked in to the presentation room, the confidence was almost deafening. We were so prepared it was unbelievable, and we blew the judges away. Our cohesiveness and perfectly flowing teamwork was very evident, and we left the presentation room feeling great. We decided that no matter what happened, we were proud of what we had done.

Fast forward three months, and our team was in Washington, DC with some of PWC’s top professionals, as well as four other competition teams from around the country. Our team did so well that we were chosen as National Finalists out of 550 teams across America! We were amazed, shocked, and most of all excited. Not only did the Finals come with a cash prize, but it also came with a trip to DC.

Morgan Smith, Marisa Parish, Haylee Matecko, Joshua Kim and Christina Chan
The TAMU PWC Challenge Team at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C. (left to right): Mari Parrish, Joshua Kim, Morgan Jaresh, Christina Chan, and Haylee Matecko.

It was my first time in DC, and I was amazed. The energy of the city mixed with all the history created such a unique culture. When we arrived in DC, we had a wonderful dinner and a chance to network with some of the top partners and associates. The next morning we presented our case again, while also attending various seminars to enhance our professionalism. But by the end of it all, it didn’t matter whether or not we won in DC, the fact that we made it there was huge for A&M history, as well as for us. The entire experience was amazing, because not only were we able to see all of the sights in DC, but we were given a chance to increase our professionalism and present to a board of some of the top professionals in one of the biggest accounting firms in the country. Not many people can say they’ve done all that as a freshman in college. And on top of all that, the competition concluded with an even greater prize than I ever could have imagined: an internship.

I never thought that signing my name on that simple sheet of paper would ever amount to anything as amazing as it did. My teammates mentored me while I was at the beginning of my college career by challenging me to rise to the standards that were already set for our team. They helped me to grow as a person by teaching me what was expected in the real world while we were in DC, as well as teaching me how to balance classwork with extracurricular activities. They helped me come out of my shell, and I will be forever grateful for that. My teammates helped me to understand that college was actually about the hands you shake, not the grades you make. That lesson will stay with me throughout the rest of my life.

To learn more about the Honors Housing Community, please visit http://hur.tamu.edu/Honors/Honors-Housing-Community.

With HUR support, Mays students take first

12m Advertising, a team of students from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, received first place in the District No. 10 American Advertising Association’s National Student Advertising Competition (NASC) in April. 

12m PresentationTeam, left to right: Caleb Robinson, Macie Becker, Jason Syptak, Katie Hall, Rafik Massoud

With the support of Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR), 12m Advertising was able to travel to Shreveport, La., where the competition was held.  Four members of the presentation team were awarded $500 grants for travel expenses by HUR.

For the last three years, 12m Advertising has competed in the NSAC – hosted by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) – where teams are presented with a case

study and challenge for a real-world company.

To develop the campaign, students from the fall 2011 Marketing 489 class, taught by Dr. Lisa Troy, Clinical Associate Professor in Marketing and 12m Advertising Faculty Advisor, conducted research into the target market, industry, product, and competition. Using the research from the fall class, students in Dr. Troy’s Spring 2012 Marketing 447 class developed objectives and strategy, created a fully integrated multi-media campaign including creative executions in traditional, digital, alternative, and social media, and then developed a $100 million, one-year media plan and schedule for this year’s client sponsor, Nissan North America.  

To market Nissan to the 25 million multicultural 18-29 year olds in the US, the advertising team created a campaign designed to promote Nissan’s core message of “innovation,” integrating digital and social media tactics, sponsorships and events, and guerilla marketing activities,  as well as designing promotional materials and strategies for the 1100 US Nissan dealerships.  The ideas were presented in a 32-page professional quality campaign plan book.  A group of five students was then selected to represent the team at the district level competition and give a 20-minute presentation outlining the campaign to the industry-leader judges.

Each of the 15 districts in the nation holds a competition in April with district winners presenting at the AAF National Conference in June. This year’s national conference was in Austin, where 12m Advertising competed, placing 9th in the nation.

“The team really had chemistry this year and I think the judges could see it,” said Macie Becker, a senior Marketing major and one of the five presenters of 12m Advertising. “We were genuinely passionate about our campaign.”

 “I am very proud of our students,” said Troy. “Winning at this level requires a significant amount of dedication and commitment, and the entire team rose to the challenge … working over winter and spring break to perfect the plan and prepare for the event.”

For more information – Click here for Mays Business Online story.

Contact: Chrystina Rago, chrysrago@honors.tamu.edu