Tag Archives: Undergraduate Studies

Aggies Commit to Practicing Personal and Social Responsibility

An op-ed piece by Marvin Krislov and Stephen S. Volk in The Chronicle of Higher Education (Apr. 7, 2014) titled “College is Still for Creating Citizens,” highlights a crucial role played by the undergraduate education in crafting leaders who are thoughtful about “what kind of life might be meaningful, productive and rewarding.” This is a concept which dates (at least) to Aristotle and up through the history of civic participation in the United States. Krislov & Volk demonstrate that a broad set of competencies key to a liberal education—and which are reflected in the TAMU Undergraduate Learning Outcomes—remain in high value and demand relative to job-specific skills.

Among these competencies, the TAMU Undergraduate Outcomes lists the practice of personal and social responsibility, including ethical leadership, the application of rational decision-making to ethical dilemmas, awareness and attention to the consequences of one’s actions, and engaging in civic activity. The University Honors Program encourages our students to practice personal and social responsibility by considering how their values, goals, and talents intersect, and making intentional choices to pursue careers that allow them to make significant contributions in the areas they care about most.

Victoria Easton '15, 2014 Udall Scholar
Victoria Easton ’15, 2014 Udall Scholar

One student who exemplifies this commitment to practicing personal and social responsibility is Victoria Easton ’15 from Tomball, TX, who recently graduated with a double major in history and philosophy. In addition to participating in the University Honors Program, Liberal Arts Honors, and the Cornerstone Learning Community, Easton was an officer for FREE, an anti-trafficking organization, and was the founder and president of the American Indian Student Association. Easton was also a National Merit Scholar and President’s Endowed Scholarship recipient, and was awarded the History Undergraduate Scholarly Activities Grant to support her independent research.

The University Honors Program encourages our students to practice personal and social responsibility by considering how their values, goals, and talents intersect, and making intentional choices to pursue careers that allow them to make significant contributions in the areas they care about most.

Easton said that she decided to start the American Indian Student Organization because, while Texas A&M is a diverse institution, she found, “no place for Native students to build connections with one another or promote the role of the distinguished Native alumni in our university’s history.” Easton found that her cultural heritage and professional interests intersect in an important way. Describing an internship with the Center to End the Trafficking and Exploitation of Children (CTEC), she noted that ads aimed at exploiting women used, “Indian heritage as effective selling point.” This experience has helped push Easton into exploring the issue of exploitation and violence against women in Native American communities.

In 2014 Easton was selected for the prestigious Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Scholarship, which annually awards 50 scholarships to students pursuing careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care. Easton was selected based on her work studying historical notions of law, justice, and gender in Muscogee communities and plans to complete a senior thesis on the topic next spring through the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Easton’s research mentor, Dr. Angela Hudson, noted that it is rare to see a student combine their civic commitments and scholarly interests as well as Easton has. “In combining these concerns [violence and exploitation of Native women], she has crafted a career trajectory that is not only reflective of her scholarly work but also demonstrates her commitment to engaged community activism, with a maturity and confidence rare in students of her age.” After attending law school, Easton plans a career advocating for human trafficking and domestic abuse victims.


2015 Award Season

The end of the spring semester and the approach of graduation comes with a number of award announcements. This is an exciting and busy time of year as we recognize and bid farewell to our 2015 Honors and Undergraduate Research graduates.

In addition to the successes in nationally-competitive awards such as the Goldwater and Fulbright competitions, our students have been recognized for their outstanding achievement in and out of the classroom with campus awards.

In addition to sweeping the Brown-Rudder and Gates-Muller awards announced at commencement, our students have been recognized in the Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Junior, Gathright, Buck Weirus competitions. We applaud our students who have been recognized! (University Honors Students: don’t forget to update your ePortfolios!)

Click here for a historical listing of HUR Student Recognition.

Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Juniors
Eleni Mijalis, College of Science
Julia Deleeuw, Mays Business School

Gathright Scholars Award
Randy Ardywibowo
Michael Bass
Michelle Dembosky
Hannah Frailey
Megan Girvan
Aaron Griffin
Emily Henkel
Eleni Mijalis
Hope Miller
Austin Wang

Buck Weirus Spirit Award
Jonathan Brewer
Mark Dore
Annalisa Erder
Megan Hoenig
Nandini Patel
Aaron Wolbrueck

Academy for Future International Leaders
Clayton Cromer
Lucchese Gordon
Margaret McIntyre

Thanks to the Association of Former Students, Undergraduate Studies, Study Abroad, and all of the amazing faculty and staff that make these awards possible!

Honors Students Selected for Public Policy Internship Program

The Public Policy Internship Program (PPIP) provides students with real-world experience and hands-on learning through policy-related internships in Washington, D.C.; Austin, TX; and various European locations.  PPIP internships complement and reinforce students’ coursework, give students inside knowledge about their professional future, and provide hosting organizations with additional support.

The Texas A&M University Public Policy Internship Program (PPIP) was established in 1999 by Dr. Ray Bowen, then President of Texas A&M University, to respond to society’s increasing interest and participation in public policy issues and programs. Since then approximately 700 Aggies have interned in Washington, D.C.; Austin, TX and abroad.  PPIP is coordinated from the office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies.  This allows the program to be coordinated centrally through the colleges to provide an integrated academic and policy-related internship program for the campus and community. (From http://ppip.tamu.edu/about).

We are excited to announce that ten* students in the University Honors Program are among the 30 selected for PPIP internships in Washington, D.C. for Spring 2015 and Fall 2015:

David Cohen ’16 – International Studies & Economics

Julianna Ewell ’15 -Accounting

Elizabeth Freeman ‘17 – International Studies & Spanish

Jacob Arnett ‘17 – Economics & Philosophy

Andrew Baxter ’16 – Physics & Mathematics

Amanda Dick ’17 – Psychology

Alyson Miranda ‘17 – Bioenvironmental Sciences

Bridget O’Connell ’16 – History

Emily Parrish  ‘16– Economics

Kathryn Williams ‘16 – Economics & M.A. International Affairs


Emily Parrish '16
Emily Parrish ’16

Emily Parrish (EP), a junior economics major, and Andy Baxter (AB), a junior physics and mathematics double-degree student, took the time to share some insights about the PPIP program with us:

Where will you be interning?

EP: I am not placed in an internship yet but will be applying to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank on Capitol Hill, as well as to the Department of Commerce.

AB: This summer I will be working for the Information Technology Alliance for Public Sector (ITAPS) which is a division of the Information Technology Industry (ITI) Council in Washington D.C. As a part of this program I will be attending meetings with member companies as well as meetings on Capitol Hill.

What was the application and interview process like for PPIP?

EP: The application definitely took a good bit of time. It included finding recommendation letters as well as writing an essay concerning a specific policy interest. For those who are interested in policy, as I am, writing this essay is actually enjoyable. After the written application, I interviewed with a panel and then heard back about a week later.

Andy Baxter '16
Andy Baxter ’16

AB: The application process for PPIP was relatively simple. I filled out an application, wrote an essay on the importance of intelligence throughout the history of the United States, submitted a transcript, resume, and cover letter, and had three letters of recommendation sent to the office. My interview was essentially a normal interview. I was asked about my research and role as director of Freshmen Leaders in Christ (FLiC). Since my faith is the first priority of my life, I was asked why I did not preference Christian organizations as my first priority. I explained how Paul worked as a tentmaker while on mission so that he did not have to be a financial burden on the church. In the same way, I am seeking a secular career so that I can build up the financial stability to someday enter into full time ministry without having to be a financial burden on the church. The only unusual part of the interview was when the director or the program tried to grill me. She intentionally asked questions about my political views in order to challenge me. In particular, the series of questions led to my opinions on the Guantanamo Bay shutdown. To me, I found this part of the interview to be somewhat fun because I enjoyed the challenge and because I knew that the intention of the questions was to rattle me. Overall, the application process to PPIP was very simple.

After being accepted to PPIP, I met with the director of the program and determined a list of offices to apply for. I then proceeded to adapt my PPIP application materials to these offices and give them to PPIP. The director actually traveled to D.C. to meet with the employers, and within the next week I had three phone interviews. I was given offers at the end of the phone calls with BAE Systems and ITAPS. After a week of prayer and research, I decided to accept the offer with ITAPS. (I also applied to the CIA in the fall and received an offer as well. I went through this application process independently due to the early deadline although I could still apply this internship to PPIP.)

How will your internship fit into your long-term goals?

EP: I am a junior Economics major and have dabbled in business, international studies, and language courses during my time at Texas A&M.  In the future, I hope to have some part in policy-making for our country. I do not yet know what type of policy I would like to influence or how I want to go about this, but I am confident that the PPIP internship will give me valuable exposure to the opportunities that are available and best-suited to my interests.

AB: After graduation, my hope is to attend graduate school in the UK or Ireland on a national fellowship to study business and engineering while doing ministry on the side. After completion of my graduate degrees, I hope to work up to management level for developing technologies. Many of the companies that I will be interested in working for are member companies of ITAPS, so this experience will provide me with the ability to network with potential future employers.

For more information about the Public Policy Internship Program, visit http://ppip.tamu.edu.

To discover other enriching experiences available to undergraduates at Texas A&M, visit Undergraduate Studies at http://us.tamu.edu.

*Corrected: The previous version of this post incorrectly listed nine students, omitting Julianna Ewell.