Tag Archives: Research

Undergraduate Research Scholar Spotlight: Daniel Revier

By Hayley Cox

Former Undergraduate Research Scholar, Daniel Revier ‘12, participated in the Undergraduate Research Scholars (UGRS) Program during his senior year under Dr. Gregory Huff. At the time, Revier, a native of Katy, Texas, was studying to obtain his undergraduate degree in electrical and computer engineering (ECE). During his final semester at Texas A&M University, Revier worked for Dr. Duncan Mackenzie, writing the LaTex thesis template for the thesis submission process. His name is currently on the example template provided to the UGRS LaTex writers.

During his undergraduate career, the ECE student was also a member of the Student Engineers’ Council (SEC), President of Mosher Hall during his freshman year, a Visitor Center Tour Guide, and performed undergraduate research prior to and after being under the UGRS program.

 Image

Daniel Revier took some time to respond to our questions about his experience as an Undergraduate Research Scholar at Texas A&M, and how his experience has contributed to his transition to graduate school at the Georgia Tech Research Institute.


 

How did you become an Undergraduate Research Scholar (UGRS)? Did anyone mentor you in the process?

I had already been performing research aiding a PhD candidate with his dissertation work when I approached my advisor about performing my own work. Dr. Huff had several ideas and we narrowed one down that I could pitch and work on throughout my senior year instead of the standard capstone project.

What was your favorite part of the UGRS program?

My favorite part of the UGRS program was learning about everyone else’s research. There were many different ideas floating around and it was interesting to hear about all of them.

The best experience?

I would say that the best experience though was that it opened my eyes to how difficult research can be. Maddeningly, you may hit a wall and not know where to go next. Many nights I sat at my computer dumbfounded as to what to do. It is at those points, if you persevere, that you begin to understand how to use your education to approach problems. In that case, I would have to say the best experience was also the most challenging.

How did experience as an UGRS help you prepare for your current graduate program?

UGRS helped prepare me for my current program by exposing me to LaTeX and providing an avenue for me to use some of the computational tools that are standard in my field. Being surrounded by people who were genuinely curious about the world was energizing and inspiring.

Could you tell me a little about the program you are in now?

Currently, I work full time for the Georgia Tech Research Institute (think the MIT Lincoln Labs of Georgia Tech) while simultaneously pursuing my PhD in electrical engineering. My current setup allows me to attend Georgia Tech for free while also maintaining a very nice salary, far beyond what I could have hoped for solely as a graduate student. I would like to stress this is not a TA or GRA [teaching assistant or graduate research assistant] position, I am a full-fledged employee for Georgia Tech while attending school on the side. A very unconventional route but nonetheless it has offered me a great experience. Simultaneously working as an engineer and attending engineering school offers a few benefits:

1) I make contacts in both realms, academic and industry. My connections in industry allow me to procure materials and supplies that would normally be unavailable to me if I were just a student. Furthermore, my connections in the academic world allow me to collaborate more freely with researchers across the world without worrying too much about IP or business matters.

2) My practical knowledge has increased 10x since working in the industry. University will give you the guidelines but the actual application in the real world is a completely different method. In turn, my practical knowledge influences how I think about theoretical work in a very useful way. When you can actually see and make something that works it takes it from being abstract into a reality and allows your intuition to kick in.

What are your future goals/plans?

My goal is to obtain my PhD from the ECE department at Georgia Tech, specifically researching 3D printed antennas and passive devices. Currently, my work has been focused on inkjet printing of the same; however, with 3D printers becoming cheaper and printing many different materials, there is an avenue to look into this type of additive manufacturing. Eventually, I would like to work in industry full-time to gather some more experience and then begin my own start up manufacturing inkjet and 3D printed antennas, etc.

Is there anything you would have done differently before moving on to graduate school?

I would have started performing undergraduate research much, much earlier. As a sophomore I knew I wanted to do research; however, I thought that I would wait until my junior year when I would “know more.” As it turned out I never really learned enough and still don’t know enough, but that is the point. Don’t let your ego get in the way of starting your research. I also would have taken harder classes as an undergraduate. It’s the hard classes are where you learn the most. The very best class I ever took was Dr. Steven Wright’s Magnetic Resonance Engineering course. Easily the most time consuming class I ever had; however, I also learned the very most from that class. It is setup in a way where you don’t just learn about MRE but you learn about systems engineering as well. This ties back to what I said in question 5 about the practical knowledge influencing the theoretical. I also maybe would have double majored in physics to expand on the theoretical side of everything as well.

Do you have any advice for other research scholars or those pursuing graduate degrees in the future?

UGRS was useful for me in the sense that it helped me understand the research process in a structured environment. Research requires a mentality of curiosity that is not learned overnight. It is just now where I feel as if I am coming up with original ideas and UGRS is already 2 years behind me. Stick with it and always ask questions. Be the kind of person that ALWAYS goes up to your professor after class to ask for more details about a topic. And as your professors lecture, ask questions. Too often lectures become a force-feeding of information that students have no time to think in class and can only react by taking down notes. I would challenge you to take less notes (or record the lectures on your phone at least) and ask questions to yourself as your professor speaks. Also, I would recommend finding a few advisers and/or other mentors (Professors, TAs, GRAs) who will let bother them incessantly. There are many people for me at work and at school that I can approach to ask a question whether it is theoretical or practical. Developing this team is CRITICAL to your success. Finally, accept the fact that you don’t know anything (probably) and that is OK. Tying back to finding a good mentor team, if they are good they will help you build the tools to then question and determine things on your own without them.

 

Congratulations to the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Nominees!

By Hayley Cox

Four Texas A&M University students have been nominated for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program were established in 1986 in honor of US Senator and republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater of Arizona. The Goldwater Scholarship recognizes college students nationwide in the science, mathematics, and engineering fields, selecting approximately 300 junior and senior students each year. Scholarship recipients are selected based on a criteria composed of reference letters, personal essays, and research experience. Universities can nominate up to four students for the Goldwater Scholarship per academic year.

Jack Reid
Jack Reid

2014 Goldwater nominee, Jack Reid ’15, is a junior mechanical engineering and philosophy student from Austin, Texas. Reid was recommended by Honors and Undergraduate Research’s (HUR) Jamaica Pouncy and was also nominated during his sophomore year after he became a University Scholar. He wrote his research proposal about non-thermal plasma research under Dr. David Stack and Dr. Maria King, and this proposal was then reviewed a national committee. In Reid’s words, the committee is looking for aptitude, along with a “genuine interest in research and a drive to follow through on it.”

Reid is a member of the weekly microbiology news program Invisible Jungle, a local project lead for Engineer Without Borders, and practices a form of martial arts called Aikido. Upon completion of his undergraduate career, Reid plans to attend graduate school with a technical focus. He said that after a Master’s degree in technical research, he intends to pursue a PhD. But as a junior, he hasn’t narrowed down the remainder of his future plans.

If selected as a 2014 Goldwater Scholarship recipient, Reid said the first word to come to mind would be “vindication.” He said, “It would be a wonderful confirmation that I am doing something right… The best part would just be knowing that I am a Goldwater Scholar.” In addition to the Goldwater Scholarship, Reid just submitted his application for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation nomination, in which he will find out if he continues later this month.

Nick Mondrik
Nick Mondrik

Another Goldwater nominee, Nick Mondrik, is a junior physics student from Belton, Texas. He has worked in Dr. Lin Shao’s Ions and Materials Facility in the Nuclear Engineering Department and for Dr. Darren Depoy in the Munnerlyn Astronomical Instrumentation Lab. Currently, he is working on heat transfer simulation for the VIRUS project (Visible Integral-Field Replicable Unit Spectrographs) and on preliminary data from the Dark Energy Survey underway in Cerro Tololo, Chile.

Mondrik came across the Goldwater Scholarship when he was looking at websites with information on graduate school profiles and decided to check it out. He wrote his research proposal on looking for outliers and variable stars in the Dark Energy Survey data. The nominee said, “The ideal candidate is one who devotes significant time and effort not only in the classroom, but also in the lab where acquired research tools are put into practice.”

On campus, Mondrik is also a Society of Physics Students tutor for underclassmen. He was also a National Merit Scholar coming out of high school. His future pursuits include attending graduate school at Princeton, Caltech, Cambridge, or Harvard for astronomy or astrophysics. If selected as a 2014 Goldwater Scholarship recipient, Mondrik said the first word to come to mind would be “ecstatic.” He said, “To have all my hard work over these past three years would mean a lot…” Mondrik continued, “It’s one thing to say that hard work is its own reward, but a little recognition goes a long way.”

Amelie Berger
Amelie Berger

Goldwater nominee Amelie Berger is a junior environmental geoscience student from Paris, France. Berger is pursuing a degree in Environmental Geoscience with minors in both meteorology and oceanography. She is involved in the Honors Fellows Program and the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program where she wrote her thesis on characterizing throughfall heterogeneity in a tropical pre-montane cloud forest in Costa Rica.

Berger has conducted research with the Oceanography department, the Geosciences department, and as an REU Intern in Costa Rica. She is a member of the American Association of Geographers, the Environmental Issues Committee, and a volunteer at the Oceanography Institute of Paris. In the future, she plans to pursue a Master’s degree and PhD. in climate science and sustainability, and to conduct research and teach at the university level.

Berger wanted to thank the professors who have contributed to her Goldwater application and now nomination process. She said, I am so thankful for Dr. Frauenfeld, Dr. Cahill, Dr. Thomas, Dr. Biggs, and Dr. Garcia for their supporting letters. I probably would not have even applied without Dr. Biggs telling me I should consider it, and Dr. Frauenfeld selflessly took the time to help me make my application competitive. I feel extremely lucky to be surrounded by supportive and dedicated faculty members!”

The final Goldwater nominee, William Linz, is a mathematics student from Temple, Texas. Linz is a University Honors Student and Undergraduate Research Scholar at Texas A&M. Linz has been following national scholarships since his high school academic career and consistently found Goldwater to be an excellent opportunity for math, science, and engineering students like himself. He began with an online application and an expository essay detailing his research work before submitting to a national Goldwater representative.

Linz is also an executive board member of Explorations, the Undergraduate Research Journal of Texas A&M University, and he is President of Aggie Quiz Bowl. In the future, he plans to continue his research work at Texas A&M and to attend graduate school for mathematics. If Linz were to be chosen as a Goldwater Scholar he said he would be extremely pleased. He said, “I would thank all who have helped me up to this point, and I would use the scholarship as an impetus to work even harder in research mathematics.”

Honors and Undergraduate Research is extremely proud of Jack Reid, Nick Mondrik, Amelie Berger, and William Linz for all of their outstand achievements as nominees for the Goldwater Scholarship. We wish them the best of luck through out the remainder of the selection process!

Lauralee Valverde Presents Her Research at MAES Symposium

By Hayley Cox

During the Fall 2013 semester, Texas A&M University senior Lauralee Valverde attended the Latinos in Science and Engineering Symposium organized by the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) in Houston, Texas. Valverde is a member of Texas A&M’s chapter of the MAES national organization. The symposium is one of the largest events held by MAES, which includes a research competition.

Lauralee Valverde at the MAES Symposium in Houston, Texas.
Lauralee Valverde at the MAES Symposium in Houston, Texas.
The MAES Symposium brings together hundreds of students and employees seeking advancement. It is a “gateway to a network of professionals, students, and recruiters – The MAES Familia.” (http://mymaes.org/program-item/symposium/)

Valverde, an industrial engineering student from San Antonio, is a 2014 Undergraduate Research Scholar and 2014 Undergraduate Research Travel Award recipient. She invested considerable time into submitting an abstract and preparing her poster prior to the symposium. Her research was based upon Computer-Aided Design (CAD) as a critical tool in the development of modern products. She investigated the modeling of a 2-dimensional drawing versus the modeling of a 3-dimensional artifact, and screen captured this data to analyze the time usage of each respective modeling program.

Members of MAES after presenting their research at the symposium.
Members of MAES after presenting their research at the symposium.
At the MAES Symposium, Valdverde said her favorite part was being able to see her friends from the local Texas A&M MAES chapter in a different light as they presented their research. After experiencing this event with members of her chapter, she found that practice is key. Valverde said, “Practicing what you are going to say before hand gives you confidence when it comes time to engage the judges.” The best advice that she has for students involved in science and engineering research is to write everything down. She said, “It is very easy to forget the details, and in some cases the smallest details are the ones that cause your research to work and make sense.”

The next MAES Symposium will be held in San Diego, California from October 15-18, 2014. Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) is proud of students such as Lauralee Valverde for their outstanding accomplishments in research and looks forward to supporting future students’ travel to professional meetings. These students improve their chances of obtaining employment in industry or admission to prominent graduate programs, while at the same time represent our outstanding undergraduate research programs on a national stage.

The Pathways to Undergraduate Research

In November the Texas A&M University System held its 11th annual Pathways Student Research Symposium for undergraduate and graduate students in Kingsville.  Over 400 students from all Texas A&M campuses presented oral and poster presentations throughout the Symposium, with an awards ceremony was held at the conclusion of the event. Dr. Margie Moczygemba, an Assistant Professor of Microbial and Molecular Pathogenesis at Texas A&M University Kingsville was the keynote speaker for Pathways this year.

Connor McBroom
Connor McBroom

Texas A&M University College Station students Aaron Griffin and Connor McBroom attended the 2013 Pathways Student Research Symposium. Griffin, a sophomore biochemistry, genetics, and pure mathematics major from Missouri City is a Class of 2016 University Scholar, 2014 Undergraduate Research Scholar and a senior editor for the Explorations Undergraduate Journal. McBroom, biochemistry major from Maryland is also an Undergraduate Research Scholar and an editor for the Explorations Undergraduate Journal.

Aaron Griffin
Aaron Griffin

To apply, their online abstract had to be accepted by the Pathways Symposium organizers. Their research project was titled “Identifying Novel Regulators of Mitochondrial Copper Homeostasis.” Griffin said, “The research for this project was completed in Dr. Vishal Gohil’s laboratory in Biochemistry and Biophysics during the summer of 2013, and dealt with using the yeast model system Saccharomyces cerevisiae to investigate mitochondrial proteins for their possible participation in coordinating the delivery of copper ions to cytochrome c oxidase, an enzyme essential component of the mitochondrial respiratory chain responsible for generating cellular energy via respiration.”

002At the Pathways Symposium Griffin and McBroom presented their poster and spent time observing presentations by other students and touring the Texas A&M University Kingsville campus, including the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. Griffin said his favorite part of the symposium was “getting the opportunity to present the research [they] had spent hours performing to other members of the scientific and academic community and watch[ing] them become excited about the results….” He said, “The communication of science is truly a joy.”

Returning from Pathways, Griffin realized the importance of personal interest and immersion in one’s research. He said this immersion allowed research partners to become knowledgeable of the subject and to more effectively present their results. Because of this were Griffin and McBroom able to field difficult and unexpected questions from the judges and observers.

Griffin said that if he could give some advice to students participating in research he would share with them the words of his mentor, Dr. Gohil: “Do good science, and the rest will follow.” Griffin said, “Often I am very excited to apply for an exciting opportunity to showcase my research, and Dr. Gohil will remind me I still have several aspects of a project to complete before I can put together a full story.” He hopes that students involved in research will take full advantage of the opportunity and the satisfaction it brings.

Griffin thanked the Gohil Lab for facilitating this research project, Honors and Undergraduate for informing him of this opportunity, as well as the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies for financing the trip. HUR commends both Aaron Griffin and Connor McBroom for their successes in research and at the Pathways Symposium in Kingsville!

Angelyn Hilton “Plants” Herself a Spot at the American Phytopathological Society Conference!

By Hayley Cox

Angelyn Hilton - Bioenvironmental Sciences as an Undergraduate
Angelyn Hilton – Bioenvironmental Sciences as an Undergraduate
Angelyn Hilton, currently a first year Master’s student in the Plant Pathology and Microbiology Deptartment at Texas A&M University, participated in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. She was a student in Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) during her undergraduate career in Bioenvironmental Sciences

Hilton heard about the American Phytopathalogical Society (APS) Conference through the professors in the plant pathology and microbiology department who were also attending. She was given the opportunity to attend the conference in Austin, Texas from August 10th-14th after she was granted the HUR Travel Scholarship.

According to the APS website (apsnet.org), the 2013 APS Conference was the first time that the Mycological Society of America and the APS held a joint meeting since 2006. “This year’s Special Sessions consist[ed] of invited speakers and topics chosen by the Annual Meeting Board under the guidance of Director Scott Adkins and 2013 APS President-Elect George Abawi.” APS MSA Joint Meeting Special Sessions included the topics of The World of Fungi, Food Safety and Biosecurity, Crop Protection Tools, Education and Outreach, Viruses, Tree Diseases and Stresses, Cell Biology and Plant Symbiosis, and Bacteria.

The APS Conference serves as a means to bring phytopathologists together from around the world. Researchers can present their findings and establish networks with others in their field of study. Hilton said, “A typical day would include attending a number of seminars on different topics, including mycology, bacteriology, virology, and agriculture.” She said, “The end of the day usually consists of poster sessions and mixers. It was not only informative and a great learning experience, but also tons of fun.”

BESC Poster Symposium Winners - Angelyn Hilton Pictured on Far Right (http://plantpathology.tamu.edu/besc-poster-symposium-award-winners/)
BESC Poster Symposium Winners – Angelyn Hilton Pictured on Far Right
(http://plantpathology.tamu.edu/besc-poster-symposium-award-winners/)

Hilton is now continuing onto study plant diseases in graduate school at Texas A&M, and she plans to attend the next annual APS meeting in 2014. Hilton said it is still too soon to know where she will be in 10-15 years, but she would like to continue research in an agricultural-related field. She said the APS Conference was a “fabulous opportunity.” She said, “I was able to do it with the help of HUR and TAMU professors and staff. I would recommend HUR to any high-achieving student at TAMU.”

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!