Spotlight
 
Undergraduate

Check out some noteworthy stories of undergraduate students who have committed to learning for a lifetime!
Have a story of commitment you'd like to share? Visit our Submit Your Story page.

STORIES
 
Amber Beasley Tyler Sarna
Vincent Provasek Gabrielle Lessen
Jessica Newman Stefan Gresham
Mae Hinson Shelby Wallace
Liberal Arts Student Council Jeff Claybrook
Mikayla Barry  
 

Amber Beasley '15,
B.A. Maritime Studies
 
"As a student at Texas A&M University, I am committing to SHARING MY LOVE OF HISTORY THROUGH HANDS-ON EXHIBITS AND INTERACTIVE LEARNING."

“Growing up, I was always fascinated thinking about where my ancestors had come from, the mythology and legends they brought with them and the recipes that had been passed down generation by generation. Thankfully, I have been given the opportunity to take my love of history and educate myself with ways to share history with future generations. I am pursuing these passions by working towards a degree in Maritime Studies. I have focused my education on Museum Anthropology and Management and seek to one day be a director of a museum."

"In the Spring of 2014, I was enrolled in a Museum Conservation class and was given the assignment to take a subject and design what I thought would be a great portion of an exhibit. I focused on the subject of Sea Shanties. Once I had started speaking to others in the group, I found that two other students had components that when combined, would make an ideal exhibit. Together we designed the layout, background and interactive pieces to an exhibit we called, Keeping Rhythm on the Sea: A History of Sea Shanties. The instructor asked us to present our project to TAMUGs campus library. We were then awarded a budget that allowed us to take our idea off of the paper and bring it to life. As a student there is a point in which you ask yourself ‘Do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?’ This project allowed me the opportunity to conquer all of my fears and doubts. Once our exhibit was in place and not just a dream any longer, I realized that this is precisely what I want to do as my career. I want to take an almost forgotten past and bring it to life. I want to pass on my knowledge, educate and fascinate others. I want to take new topics, research everything I can about them and share that information."

"Most students are continuously looking towards the future, but I’ve realized that I will be continually looking to the past while searching for fun, innovative ways to pass on our world’s history to others. I have been given the opportunity to take what I have learned at TAMUG and showcase it for others to learn; this has been a heartwarming experience for me. I know this knowledge will benefit me as I take on various jobs that will eventually lead to a career involving what I love.”

 

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Vincent Provasek '15, B.S. Biochemistry and Genetics
 
"As a student of Texas A&M, I am committing to CREATING NEW RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES FOR FELLOW AGGIES."
 


"My commitment to creating new undergraduate research opportunities began with my own search for available lab positions at the end of my second year. After entering into the Aggie Research Scholars (ARS) program as an intern, I quickly discovered a love for research science. In fact, it was this initial experience that altered my career goals from an aspiring physician to a scientist-in-training. While the ARS program certainly eased the difficulty of finding and joining a lab, I was still keenly aware of the many obstacles students face when seeking research experience. Despite Texas A&M University being one of the largest tier-one research institutions in the state, I was surprised by the lack of advertised positions and the imprecision of traditional approaches students take in seeking out potential labs. Given the increasing importance of high impact learning practices in developing competent students, I felt it would be a disservice to future Aggies if this tremendous potential was never fully realized. I felt it was my duty to do what I could to expand research opportunities for future Aggies. I found a way to do just that in my participation with the ARS program. In the semester following my internship, I began work as a team leader where I introduced three to four new students to undergraduate research each semester by recruiting interns for my own independent research project. Since acquiring this independent study, implementation of the ARS research team model has yielded a substantial increase in research products, and helped further develop the project by establishing novice-friendly experimental methods and minimizing the level of attention and resources required from the faculty sponsor. In effect, the project has evolved under my leadership into a new, permanent entity specifically tailored to the needs of novice researchers and busy faculty sponsors. This advancement will persist into the future and ensure more future Aggies will have access to research experience opportunities."

"Over time, recognition of my efforts culminated in the privilege of receiving an appointment to serve on a four-student ARS program coordinators committee. Over the past year, this position has proven to be a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with faculty, especially Drs. Christopher Quick and Thomas Stiles, and other students in developing new program facets such as team leader training workshops, expansion of the program into new fields, and facilitating the transition of the organization towards adopting a student-run leadership model. Currently, the ARS program boasts having hosted over 40 unique research projects involving over 140 new interns. It is my goal to generate ideas for future development that will help increase not only the number of participants but also the quality of those experiences through creative solutions devised by students for students. By doing this, it is my wish that the ARS program and my own research project will demonstrate the resourcefulness and dedication to others that makes the Aggie family so unique."


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 Jessica Newman '16, B.A. Communication
 

"As a student of Texas A&M, I am committing to CONNECTING MY COMMUNITY TO SUSTAINABLY-GROWN FOOD."

"My commitment combines my communication major with my passion for locally grown, organic produce. I want to connect the community to a healthy food source. By starting a dialogue between friends and farmers I hope to educate the public on increasing their daily intake of fruits and vegetables, and on why sustainable, organic food not only soothes the body but also heals and protects our planet. Teaching the community about healthy and sustainable practices through food is intrinsic to the Agriculture heritage at A&M. I’m doing my part by learning about horticulture, working with Howdy Farm, and disseminating information on the subject to the A&M community."  

Mae Hinson '17, B.S. Ocean and Coastal Resources
 
"As a student of Texas A&M, I am committing to SELFLESS SERVICE."

"College life has its challenges especially when you are far from home.  I work to ensure stability with a caring attitude every day as a student and community leader at Texas A&M University at Galveston. Growing up in an Aggie family, the Aggie Spirit has been instilled in me since I was a young child. While I pride myself on all the core values, selfless service is a value I hold dear to my heart. I try every day, to go above and beyond to help others on all fronts. My involvement as a Community Leader, aka Residential Assistant, Orientation Leader, SALT (Sea Aggies Learning Traditions) Camp Counselor, TAMUG Traditions Council President, TAMUG Big Event Site leader and being an officer in soccer club and dive club, have each presented me with unique opportunities to help my Aggie Family, small and large ways.  Ranging from resolving roommate conflicts, deciding on classes, clubs, planning and executing traditions, directing a freshman to the right building or just a smiling face greeting people with a 'Howdy,' I do my very best to be serve my university and my Aggie family to the best of my ability."  

Liberal Arts Student Council

Liberal Arts Student Council (LASC) is an academic and professional organization that links Liberal Arts Students to their college by conveying concerns and special interests from the undergraduate student body to the faculty, staff, and deans of the college.

 

"As a student of Texas A&M, we are committing to SELFLESS SERVICE."

 

"The Council works to convey concerns and special interests from the undergraduate student body to the following: faculty, staff, deans of the college, former liberal arts students, and prospective students. The Council strives to heighten awareness and assist in the development and refinement of marketable skills for students pursuing a career by co-hosting a career fair and former student speaker panel specifically for liberal arts majors. Another pillar of the council is to promote Liberal Arts students in both the university and community through various forms such as advertising, newsletter publications, university involvement, and community outreach."

"We in Liberal Arts Student Council have many commitments and try to meet each in a variety of ways. One way LASC has been committed to selfless service has been through our adoption of a portion of highway in Bryan. We see our cleaning of the highway as a tangible way to serve our community. Members of the Council donate their time and effort to make the environment a better place as part of this commitment."

 

 


Mikayla Barry '17, B.S. Biomedical Engineering
 
"As a student of Texas A&M, I am committing to UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH."
 
"I had always dreamed of having a career where my work would have the potential to save lives, and naturally decided that the health sciences would be the best way to impact the world around me. My decision to enter Biomedical Engineering stems partially from the day I visited campus during my Junior year of high school. I had all but decided that engineering was not for me, since I had little interest in programming and design, but fortunately was open to the medical aspect of the degree. Within 5 minutes, I had been won over to the program. I loved the applications and potential I saw to make profound differences in the average person's life, not by practicing medicine as I had previously thought, but by developing medical breakthroughs."

"Like most freshman within the Science and Engineering tracts, I had been told repeatedly to enter research. I decided that the idea had merit, but wanted to wait until I had gotten an understanding of the theories involved in research and would therefore be more likely to be accepted by a research professor. My impetus for joining research early came down to an invitation to apply for the Beckman Scholars Program. This program highlighted the importance of student research, by both supplying funding and offering an opportunity to work with a faculty research mentor. I quickly decided that I wanted to be a part of this program if at all possible. After an in-depth selection process, I was given the honor of becoming a Beckman Scholar, and chose to work in Prof. Melissa Grunlan's Polymeric Biomaterials Lab. Now, I work on developing medical device coatings that aid in preventing protein buildup. My experiences in research have not only encouraged me in my current education, but have sparked my interest in continuing beyond the undergraduate level. I eventually hope to get my PhD and join the faculty of a research university, where I will have the opportunity to offer undergraduate students the same experience I am fortunate to have received."

 
 

Tyler Sarna '18, B.B.A. Business Honors
 
"As a student of Texas A&M, I am committing to COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS."

"From a young age, I knew that I wanted to fix things. I always enjoyed finding the problems around me and learning how to solve them. Originally, this led me to want to be a doctor.  Everyone at some point has a health issue that they need help with. If I wanted to solve problems, being a doctor was a surefire way of ensuring that I would never run out of problems to solve.  However, as I got into high school, I became involved in student council and other organizations. As a freshman in high school, I had never given any real thought to how organizations functioned, so I guess I expected them to all run perfectly and smoothly. Reality was a bit different. The organizations I got involved in all had problems.  Student council did a poor job of communicating with both its members and with the student body. This meant that whenever events or projects began, it was often difficult to coordinate efforts. Instead of working as a functioning group, too often student council (and other organizations) worked as individuals. There was so much potential in these groups, and I saw that with more effective collaboration these groups could do great things. This experience led me to make a commitment to collaborative projects. I committed to learn how to help groups work effectively. When I got to Texas A&M, I dove in and found opportunities to learn and grow in this area. I have joined both Honors Student Council and Explorations, and I learned so much about coordinating groups through effective communication. Already, I have had the chance to turn around and use this in my academic projects, and I know it will help me in the future in business. There is so much for me to learn here, and I can’t wait to see what my future holds!"
 
 
Gabrielle Lessen '18, B.S. Biochemistry
 
"As a student of Texas A&M, I am committing to UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH."
 
"Throughout my childhood, my family always placed an emphasis on learning.  From giving me puzzles that challenged me to think critically, to buying me a “Big Book of Animals” so that I could quench my thirst for knowledge, my parents encouraged me to continually grow and strive to reach my potential; growing up in this environment, it is no surprise that I quickly fell in love with the life sciences.  And, as many children who love science believe, I thought that my only career path was in medicine.  However, this plan changed when I visited my older brother, who at the time attended the greatest university in the country: Texas A&M.  My brother was involved in research during his time as an Aggie, and during one of my visits to campus, he took the opportunity to share his experience with me, showing me his lab and explaining his work.  I instantly fell in love with the idea of research and was determined to become involved in it one day.  When I arrived at A&M this fall, I became aware of the Aggie Research Scholars Program.  I am now a team member in the DeBakey Undergraduate Research Program, where I have spent this semester modeling renal fluid dynamics.  Participating in research has opened my eyes to a world of opportunities, and as I continue through Texas A&M, I hope to expand my definition of what research is by exploring and becoming involved in different research techniques and approaches.  By committing to undergraduate research, I hope to discover and pursue my passion for science as I work toward one day applying to an MD-PhD program to become a research physician."
 
 

Stefan Gresham '18, B.S. Construction Science
 
 
"As a student of Texas A&M, I am committing to NEVER WASTING AN OPPORTUNITY."
 
"Growing up in a family of lawyers and entrepreneurs, obtaining an education was always held as the most important goal for everyone.  Nothing less than a college education was expected of me. However, the beginning of my education was a little shaky. Up until the fifth grade, I was constantly getting in trouble with my teachers and my grades were not as good as they should have been. Being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder dissolved everyone’s worries of delinquency in me. I was diagnosed with ADD in the fifth grade, and school did not come easily. Although overcoming this obstacle was definitely not a one-man project, I understood, in order to get better, I had to be an active participant in creating and implementing self-help.  After coming to terms with my condition, a whole new world opened up and my hunger for education was born. Even though college was expected of me, I never thought I would attend Texas A&M University. Its academic reputation definitely precedes its name. Although I was not considered to be the “top” of my class, I have drive and determination.  When I received my acceptance to Texas A&M University through the Posse Foundation, I was ecstatic. From my first experiences with education as a troubled child with ADD to where it is coming to a culmination (a zealous Aggie who took full advantage of every opportunity in college), I am committed to making sure that I take advantage of all the offerings of the Aggie network and making sure my future choices, such as internships, represent my commitment to my education and achieving the goals I have set to the best of my ability in my chosen field of interest. I’m excited about my future!"
 
 

Shelby Wallace '15, B.A. History
 
"As a student of Texas A&M, I am committing to LEADING A COLORFUL LIFE."


"Growing up in a small town, I wasn’t expected to step outside of that realm. When the idea of going to Texas A&M entered my path, I knew it was the right decision for my future. In 2011, finally a high school graduate, I left my small town living to come to the greatest university on earth.  Being 8 hours away from home wasn’t easy, but being a Wallace I knew that I couldn’t quit. When things started to get harder, the more I wanted to give up, but with the love and support of my family and friends and the strength from my Savior, I was able to persevere. On Friday, November 7, 2014, I’m getting my Aggie Ring [finally].  For so long, this goal seemed unattainable, but I pushed through the obstacles and was finally at 91 hours. This ring for me is a symbol of support from my family and friends, of the challenges that were thrown my way that I had to push through, and of the commitment I made to not stop pushing. I will wear my Aggie Ring proudly to show the struggles I’ve surpassed and the achievements I have gained.  It was a mess of gorgeous chaos and  “Alles ist seinen Preis wert.”  This is my favorite proverb and it means that all things are worth their price.  No matter the obstacle, staying committed is more than worth it."
 
 
Jeff Claybrook '15, B.A. Political Science
 
 

 
"As a student of Texas A&M, I am committing to A LIFE THAT REFLECTS AGGIE CORE VALUES."
 
"Friends and family know that I had an unusual journey in getting my Aggie Ring. I was an underperforming student in high school and actually didn’t plan on going to college until I was about 17. I knew Texas A&M was the only school I was remotely interested in but also knew I didn’t have the credentials to get accepted. I decided to go to Blinn to see if I could improve my grades and hopefully transfer into Texas A&M after a year or two. After a somber first round of tests midway through my first semester, I realized a commitment to discipline, my faith, and personal and academic excellence is what it was going to take to become an official member of the Aggie Family. Shortly after committing to these values, I took on a part-time job to help alleviate some of the financial burden my parents faced having two kids in college. Becoming more financially independent to help pay for school was going to be a true test of how committed I was considering school was never something I previously succeeded in. During that time, I found myself having to sacrifice some of the conveniences I’d had in the past in order to fulfill my initial commitment. But on October 1st, 2012, those sacrifices paid off as I was finally accepted into Texas A&M, which was unimaginable two years prior. Fast forward two years, it’s surreal to think that I’m about to receive my Aggie Ring, which will represent so much more than the 90 hours of credit required to receive one. Aside from being a world-renowned symbol of the Aggie Network, my Aggie Ring will represent two loving parents that supported me every opportunity they could and an older brother that has constantly challenged me in every aspect of life thus far. It will represent the $1029 anonymously left on my desk by an incredible group of friends that wanted me to feel the love of the Aggie Family when I wasn’t sure how I was going to afford paying for my ring. Lastly, my Aggie Ring is going to reflect the commitment I made three years ago when I realized that Aggies commit to a life of values and principles that leave this community, nation, and world better than they found it."