Tag Archives: Staff Spotlight

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.

 

HUR Staff Spotlight: Jonathan Kotinek

Jonathan Kotinek ‘99 serves as Associate Director for Honors and Undergraduate Research, where he has advised students since 2003. He holds both a B.A. and M.A. in English from Texas A&M University and earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in 2013. His dissertation title was “A Narrative Examination of the Experience of Early Entrance to College.”

Kotinek was born in Colorado and grew up in Arlington and Grand Prairie, TX. As a student at South Grand Prairie High School, he was a three-year letterman in football, competed in UIL Literary Criticism, and participated in choir and theatre. Kotinek was not an Honors student while an undergraduate at Texas A&M, but he did take an Honors history course his first semester as a freshman. It was the only “A” he made that semester. He likes to use his poor decisions as learning opportunities for advisees.

Kotinek did not consider attending graduate school until encouraged to do so by Dr. Finnie Coleman. After taking an Introduction to African American Literature course with Dr. Coleman, he was convinced to pursue an M.A. in English. Coleman previously served as Associate Director for Honors Programs at Texas A&M.

While completing requirements for his master’s degree, Kotinek took “Issues in Child and Adolescent Development” with Dr. Joyce Juntune and was introduced to scholarly work on gifted education. Dr. Juntune encouraged Kotinek to pursue his doctorate.

Kotinek has been active with the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), serving as a member of the Board of Directors from 2011-2014, and as co-chair for the Diversity Issues Committee since 2006. Kotinek was co-editor of the monograph Setting the Table for Diversity with Dr. Lisa Coleman (Southeast Oklahoma State University) and authored a paper in that book entitled “Passing for Black: White Privilege and Black Identity Formation.” He is working with Dr. Lisa Coleman and Dr. Alan Oda (Azusa Pacific University) to co-edit a second monograph on diversity titled Occupy Honors Education.

Outside of work, Kotinek is an active member of the St. Silouan the Athonite Orthodox Church parish, established the Aggieland Beard & Moustache Club (now known as the Brazos Valley Whisker Club), and is an avid runner. He spends his time with his family, pictured below.

A man with long red hair and beard sits with a woman and two boys in a field of wildflowers.

Jonathan Kotinek (left) with his family.

HUR Staff Spotlight: Jamaica Pouncy

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 Pouncy
Jamaica Pouncy, Program Coordinator

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.

Vinny
Jamaica’s dog, Vinnie

HUR Staff Spotlight: Dr. Suma Datta

Honors and Undergraduate Research presents Dr. Suma Datta, our Executive Director. Dr. Datta coordinates with colleges, programs and centers across campus to improve existing HUR programming and develop new initiatives, she also serves as the HUR advisor for the Explorations journal and the coordinator for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Scholarship nomination process.

Dr. Suma Datta, Executive Director, Honors and Undergraduate Research

Dr. Suma Datta, Executive Director, Honors and Undergraduate Research

Dr. Datta grew up in Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor with Honors degrees in Chemistry and in Cell and Molecular Biology. She participated in undergraduate research all four of her undergraduate years, culminating in a senior honors thesis. While at Michigan Dr. Datta also took on leadership positions with a student organization and organized fund-raising activities for charity.

Dr. Datta was awarded an NSF Graduate Fellowship to support her graduate work at the University of California-San Diego in the Department of Biology. Her doctoral thesis focused on understanding how the genes that control the identities of cells are regulated at the molecular level and led to the publication of 5 articles and 3 reviews. Upon receipt of her doctorate, Dr. Datta was awarded a Life Sciences Research Fellowship and moved to Yale University to do postdoctoral research on brain development. During her time at UCSD and Yale, she became a science tutor for high school students and later a mentor and then coordinator of the Academic Mentorship Program in the Sciences.

In 1993 Dr. Datta accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in Biochemistry and Biophysics at Texas A&M with a joint appointment in Biology and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1999. She has been awarded an American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Fellowship, a Senior Ruth Kirschstein Fellowship and multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and American Heart Association for her work in brain development, stem cell division and prostate cancer progression. She has traveled nationally and internationally to speak about her research, organized workshops and chaired sessions at national and international conferences and reviewed grant proposals for foundations and government agencies and manuscripts for prestigious journals. Dr. Datta has continued her interest in student development and mentoring through organizing alternative careers workshops, participating in TAMU Honors programming, teaching Honors classes, presenting at the Women in Science and Engineering conferences and mentoring over 50 undergraduate researchers in her laboratory.

In 2008 Dr. Datta became the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Research, working closely with students and faculty from all across campus. In this capacity she organized the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, coordinated events for REU directors during the summer, ran workshops and training sessions and published the first issue of Explorations: the Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal. She joined the Council on Undergraduate Research and was elected to a counselor position in the spring of 2010.

In the fall of 2010 Dr. Datta became the first Executive Director of the new Honors and Undergraduate Research unit, combining the former Honors Programs Office and the Office of Undergraduate Research. She and her staff have expanded the Undergraduate Research Scholars program to include Honors students and students from all colleges, established the Undergraduate Research Ambassadors and developed and launched three new Capstone programs (Undergraduate Teacher Scholar, Undergraduate Service Scholar and Undergraduate Leadership Scholar). A new distinction (Honors Fellows) and associated Honors program (University Honors) have been developed and implemented including an application process and a more robust Living Learning Community experience. She has continued to coordinate publication of Explorations, which just released its sixth issue.

In her spare time, Dr. Datta hangs out with her husband Scott and her two “house lions.” She loves to cook and eat food from different cultures, especially if it is spicy. Luckily she and her husband also love to dance. She is the faculty advisor for TAMBDA, the Texas A&M Ballroom Dance Association, and for AggieWesties, the Texas A&M West Coast Swing Dance Club. Most weekends and some week nights she and Scott can be found on a dance floor somewhere.

HUR Staff Spotlight: Annabelle Aymond

Honors and Undergraduate Research welcomes Annabelle Aymond, our newest Program Assistant! Her responsibilities include working with the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, the Undergraduate Research Ambassadors and Explorations: The Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal.

Annabelle Aymond - Program Assistant
Annabelle Aymond – Program Assistant

Annabelle is from Houston, Texas and is one of the loudest and proudest members of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2014. She graduated in the spring of 2014 with a B.A. in Telecommunication Media Studies and a Minor in Japanese Language.

Annabelle grew up in an artistic and academic household, learning the tricks of the trade—such as how printing works, how to take photographs and color theory—from her mother and grandmother. She got her real start after landing a position as photographer and sales associate at a local photography studio and went on to gain more experience with photographic composition, camera equipment, photo editing and more. When Annabelle was a sophomore at Texas A&M, she was accepted to be a part of Explorations: The Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal as layout designer and editor. Also during her time as a Texas A&M undergraduate, Annabelle worked for the office of Scholarships & Financial Aid as a Marketing Assistant where she developed her more formal creative marketing and web design skills. Unbeknownst to her at the time, her activities as an undergraduate would change her professional life forever by letting her interest in graphic design and advocacy for research develop into a profession.

Annabelle will use these skills and interests to make the office of Honors and Undergraduate Research more visible on- and off- the Texas A&M University campus so that students from any background are aware of the opportunities we provide.

In her free time, Annabelle does freelance marketing, design and photography. She adores her cat, Mauser, and enjoys music, technology, cartoons, as well as learning about topics related to astronomy, sustainable development and mental health.

HUR Staff Spotlight: Wallace Fanning

Honors and Undergraduate Research would like to welcome Wallace Fanning, our newest program coordinator. His responsibilities are is to work with the Honors Housing Community, develop content for the LCSE – 002 Family Meetings, and to support the Sophomore Advisor & Junior Advisor Team.

Wallace Fanning - Honors Housing Community Program Coordinator
Wallace Fanning – Honors Housing Community Program Coordinator

Wallace is from Colorado where he graduated from the University of Colorado – Boulder in May of 2007. His undergraduate degree is in Political Science with a Minor in Philosophy. At University of Colorado Wallace chose to focus his course work on Political Theory, Political Philosophy, and Ethics. This included honors courses such as: Democracy and Difference, Comparative Economics, Democratic Theory, & Conservative Political Thought. During his time on campus, Wallace also participated in the Chancellor’s Leadership Residential Academic Program, debate, and served as both a Resident Advisor and Senior Resident Advisor for the campus.

In 2007, Wallace accepted a full time position at McKendree University as a Resident Director for the Office of Residence Life. In this position, he had the opportunity to work with amazing students both from Southern Illinois and also from around the world. His passion for Social Justice helped him to found the Social Justice Living Learning Community in 2009. During his time at McKendree University, Wallace also had the honor of being a Co-Coordinator for U.S. Presidents Honor Roll Center for Public Service, a member of the University Technology Advisory Committee, and also served as an Assistant Coach to Nationally Ranked McKendree Parliamentary Debate Team.

In 2011, after graduating with a Master’s Degree in Educational Studies from McKendree University, Wallace accepted a position at Texas A&M as Community Director. Working for Residence Life at Texas A&M University, a preeminent housing organization, afforded Wallace many different opportunities including working with the Wellness Living Learning Community, Aggie Gateway to Success Provisional Admissions Program, Summer Housing for the Corps of Cadets, and most recently with the Lechner & McFadden Hall Honors Housing Community. During his time, Wallace served as the committee chair for the Graduate Hall Director Development Committee, a member of the departmental Mission and Values Realignment Committee, the Website Committee, and more.

When not working, Wallace loves to play with gadgets (he sometimes gets to play with technology at work too!). From building his own computers to researching the latest in technology and games, Wallace hopes to bring passion for learning, technology, and action-oriented problem solving to the community. Wallace also hopes that the gnomes, hobbits, dragons, and randomly placed technology in his office will be an inviting space for students, staff, and faculty to stop by, as he loves to help!

Please feel free to contact Wallace by stopping by Henderson Hall or emailing him at wallace_fanning@tamu.edu .

HUR Staff Spotlight: Antoine Jefferson

Honors and Undergraduate Research would like to welcome Antoine Jefferson, our newest program coordinator who is tasked with creating and implementing the new Leadership Capstone slated to begin Fall of 2014.

Antoine Jefferson, Program Coordinator for Undergraduate Leadership Scholars
Antoine Jefferson, Program Coordinator for Undergraduate Leadership Scholars

Antoine is from Minden, Louisiana, a small town in the Northwest corner of the state. He attended LSU as a student in the Honors College, majoring in Biological Sciences with the initial intention of going to medical school because that was what he thought he was supposed to do.

While in college, he participated in many extracurricular activities and took on leadership roles. These activities helped him see people in different ways as they celebrated accomplishments and shared experiences. As he immersed himself in groups and communities, Antoine discovered his passion for extra-curricular learning and personal growth.

In his search to find a way to help people and be a positive influence, Antoine tried a stint as a social worker in Louisiana. However being a social worker wasn’t quite the right environment. Antoine decided to become a 4-H Extension agent; a position that fosters non-traditional learning and engagement for the students that participate. This led him to the University of Georgia to work on his Masters in Agricultural Leadership. Midway through the degree — after teaching a service-learning leadership course and involvement in other projects at the university–he realized that working in post-secondary education would be most suited for him.

Completing his Master’s degree, Antoine worked diligently to find a position within Student or Academic Affairs. He sought more education to help reach his goal. While working towards an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Central Florida, he applied and was offered the Program Coordinator position to create the Undergraduate Leadership Scholars capstone with Honors and Undergraduate Research at Texas A&M.

His philosophy is that the Leadership Capstone should take an active and reflective approach to leadership. Each student will work towards leadership development in their organization, as a team, and as an individual. The end goal for the capstone is a reflective leadership journal, tools for personal development, and completion of a project that improves the organization. This will be an academic approach to leadership in action. It will involve critical thinking and require the student to support their morals and ethics, and to take on leadership in the real world. With Antoine’s experience in leadership roles and teaching leadership, he knows that the Undergraduate Leadership Scholars capstone will be a challenging and rewarding experience.

Beyond leadership, Antoine enjoys playing various instruments, singing, and humor. He is also excited to be an advisor to honors students. His goal is to help students develop beyond coursework, and to help guide them in their path into the real world.