Tag Archives: Rodney Hill

Elise Hackney – From Class to Competition

This post from freshman engineering student, Elise Hackney ’20, describes the success her team from ENDS 101 – Design Process has enjoyed so far. ENDS 101 is a perennial favorite with undergraduates because it fulfills both the Creative Arts and International & Cultural Diversity degree requirements. Students also enjoy the focus on building creative thinking skills in the course. Professor Rodney Hill, who created the course, requires his students to submit their class projects to real-life competitions. Here, Hackney describes the experience competing at the National Association of Broadcasters Pilot Competition in Pebble Beach, CA, October 30, 2016 – November 1, 2016.

sales-hackney
Jordan Sales ’19 & Elise Hackney ’20 in Pebble Beach

– By Elise Hackney

Introduction

Through the class ENDS 101, groups were randomly assigned for assignment purposes. The first group assignment was to enter into two competitions. One of the competitions our group entered was the Pilot Innovation Challenge. The Challenge Question for this competition was “How might local television and radio broadcasters engage their communities with next generation content on any device, whether big, small or moving?” Our idea is called History GO.

As evident by the success of the game Pokemon GO, people enjoy the interesting dynamics of augmented virtual reality. Virtual History uses the same principals and technology to allow people to see what History has happened or is happening where they are standing.

History GO is an app that will allow the user to connect with the history of their surroundings as well as current events. When opened, the app connects to the user’s current location. Using AR technology, History GO supplements a person’s environment with relevant facts, pictures, and videos. This app allows users to see the world through virtual eyes and connect where they are standing with where others have stood before.

As a result of the initial judging process our idea of History GO finalized in the top three of the Pilot Innovation Challenge. Our team quickly scrambled to book flights to the convention in Pebble Beach, CA where we needed to present our idea before the attendees decided the respective places of third, second, and first. Being that the trip was so last minute only Jordan Sales and I were able to attend the convention in CA.

Prototype view of app History GO on an iPhone
Prototype view of app History GO on an iPhone
Pictured above (left to right): Eric Acensio, Mike Le, Claire Lohn, Jordan Sales, Elise Hackney, Alberta Lin | Texas A&M University
ENDS 101 History GO Team, Pictured above (left to right): Eric Acensio, Mike Le, Claire Lohn, Jordan Sales, Elise Hackney, Alberta Lin | Texas A&M University

NAB Futures Convention

We arrived the Spanish Inn at Pebble Beach where the convention was being held Monday morning, October 31st, and were quickly led through the process for presentation that was to be at 3:00pm. After the logistics of the presentation were explained, Jordan and I went up to our room to practice. After our presentation, we were assigned to podiums where the attendees of the conference could ask questions before voting. Throughout this process we were asked challenging questions and given great advice from many experts in the broadcasting industry. At the end of the voting our idea History GO won 2nd place which included a $15,000 award to support the development of our idea.

Throughout this experience Jordan and I met and spoke with highly-successful individuals. Socializing with the attendees of the conference rewarded us with so many benefits. From advice to future business contacts, we both came out of this trip with a different perspective. Having this real-world experience and interacting with businessmen and women led me to see a more refined view of my intended future career.

With this cash prize our group plans to develop the app through the help of Startup Aggieland. We hope that by the Las Vegas NAB Convention in April we will have a prototype app to display. After the Las Vegas event we will continue working on the app to launch a prototype version that will work on campus, referencing historical events as well as current events in the College Station area.

hackney-collage

Elise’s travel was funded, in part, by LAUNCH: Honors through generous contributions to the Honors Parents’ Fund and the Association of Former Students.

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From Jon to Dr. Jon!

By Hayley Cox

Dr. Jon Kotinek
Dr. Jon Kotinek
University Honors Program Associate Director Jonathan Kotinek has recently become Dr. Kotinek! Kotinek completed the dissertation process in early June, and in August he will be receiving his diploma for his Ph. D. in educational psychology from Texas A&M University. He has been selected for recognition as a Distinguished Honor Graduate for the Department of Educational Psychology.

Kotinek began working in the University Honors Program office in 2003, becoming Assistant Director in 2007 and Associate Director in 2012. He received both a B.A. and M.A. in English from Texas A&M. Since 2007, he has been selected for the President’s Award for Academic Advising, the Diversity Staff Service Award, and the President’s Meritorious Service Award. He was also selected as a Texas A&M Fish Camp namesake.

Jon with the counselors of Camp Kotinek!
Jon with the counselors of Camp Kotinek!

Kotinek had not considered graduate school before his mentor, Dr. Finnie Coleman, encouraged him to do so. Kotinek was an undergraduate student in Dr. Coleman’s Introduction to African American Literature in fall 1999, after which Dr. Coleman encouraged Kotinek to apply to the master’s program in English. Kotinek took time off during his master’s program because he was working full-time, and when he returned his professor for Issues in Child and Adolescent Development, Dr. Joyce Juntune, encouraged him to apply to the doctoral program in educational psychology.

By this time, Kotinek had begun working as a graduate assistant for Dr. Coleman who asked him to assist Dr. Edward Fry in hosting a group visit of Davidson Young Scholars in March 2003. Over the course of these students’ visit, Kotinek saw the frustrations of these young high school students due to the limited opportunities to start college as full-time students. Kotinek said, “This experience really helped to crystallize my desire to study giftedness and how these gifted persons are served by the university.”

Jon with students on an art trip in Houston.
Jon with students on an art trip in Houston. He is also a photographer and painter.

Dr. Kotinek’s graduate dissertation is titled “A Narrative Examination of the Experience of Early Entrance to College,” which is a qualitative study that examines the experiences of eight college graduates who entered college as freshman at age 16. The results of Kotinek’s study suggest that “intellectual ability may be sufficient for early college entrants to complete college, but they might need additional support such as specialized advising, mentors, and peer groups to fully realize their academic potential.” He saw this in the young students’ reliance on figuring problems out on their own and a common decrease in achievement levels in college relative to their achievement levels before college.

Kotinek’s Ph.D. in educational psychology ties well into Honors classes and programs which are a fit for gifted college students, focusing on providing additional challenge and enrichment at Texas A&M. He said, “Gifted college students often have a lot of passion for a particular subject, and Honors provides both a community that understands that kind of intense focus and provides opportunities, like undergraduate research and Honors classes, to pursue their interests in great depth.”

Dr. Kotinek had a difficult doctoral education due to competing priorities such as working full-time, having a family, and being engaged in the community. He said he likes to a lot of advising by “negative example,” and from experience could now tell students to consider pursuing graduate work as a full-time student if possible. He also likes to let people know that “graduate school is one of higher education’s best-kept secrets” due to the different relationship between faculty and student that was not so present in undergraduate education.

Kotinek noted that a lot of people are scared by the prospect of a dissertation. But, he said like any large project this could be managed by breaking it into chunks. According to Kotinek, any question that sparks a person’s interest can be a dissertation topic, and “there is a very real sense of accomplishment in adding to the body of knowledge about a subject.”

Jon also won Best Beard Champion in 2011 and helped start the Aggieland Beard and Mustache Club in 2012!
Jon also won Best Beard Champion in 2011 and helped start the Aggieland Beard and Mustache Club in 2012!
Dr. Kotinek wanted to thank all of his supporters throughout his doctoral process. He said, “I have been blessed by having such a supportive community as I pursued my degree. Everyone in Honors and Undergraduate Research helped by letting me focus on writing this past Spring. Dr. Suma Datta, Dr. Duncan MacKenzie, and our former Associate Director, Dr. Dave Louis, have been especially encouraging as I have worked toward this goal. I have also had wonderful support from my committee members: Dr. Laura Stough, Dr. Joyce Juntune, Dr. Edward Funkhouser, and Prof. Rodney Hill. Thank you to all of these folks and the countless colleagues and students that have offered encouragement and advice though the process.”

Kotinek added, “Mostly I have been trying to get people to just call me ‘Jon’ instead of ‘doctor.’”

The Department of Honors and Undergraduate Research congratulates Jon Kotinek on becoming Dr. Jon, along with all of his outstanding achievements at Texas A&M!