Tag Archives: Mays Business Shool

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