Hands-On: Steven Kieval '11

Nov. 22, 2010

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Note: The following story is republished from the Division of Student Affairs and was written by Kathy DiSanto, Communications Specialist, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. Our thanks to the Division of Student Affairs for permission to reprint this story.

Steven Kieval ’11 is a hands-on kind of guy.  Inside the classroom or outside the classroom, he likes nothing better than sinking his teeth into a worthwhile project.  The way this Houston native sees it, since the rewards you reap from any task depend on what you put into it, above and beyond is the only way to go.

Take his major, for example.  According to Steven, Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences (RPTS) suits his practical, get-it-done mind-set to a T.

“I always thought it should be called Business, Communication, and Management Sciences,” he jokes, “because that’s a lot of what we do.  We do projects, essays, reports, you name it.  Real hands-on stuff.  And I know if I work really hard on the report, satisfy all the requirements, and go above and beyond, I’m going to get an A.  That’s one of the reasons I like it.”

Of course, the chance to craft end-products is only one of the program’s many attractions.  Steven says not only does the RPTS curriculum add up to a well-rounded education, it also inspired his passion for the environment and sustainability.

He explains, “As part of my major, I had to take a renewable resources class.  Ms. Heather Qualls, Recycling Coordinator for the City of College Station, came in and asked some guy to collect his trash for a week.  Then she came back and went through it and showed us how many things could be recycled.    That really piqued my interest.  That’s the route I want to go.”

Blame It On the Neighbor
Speaking of routes, you may be wondering how Steven Kieval got to A&M in the first place.  That story can be summed up in three words:  Blame the neighbor.

“I come from a family of Longhorns,” he admits, laughing, “so it took quite a bit for me to come here.  Ultimately, a neighbor took me to see the Corps March-In.  From then on, I knew I wanted to be in the Corps and be an Aggie.”  He shakes his head.  “My parents couldn’t believe it, especially the part where I wanted to be in the Corps.  But they’ve been pretty supportive, because they’re both good schools.”

Still, Steven counts himself fortunate to attend a school with so many meaningful traditions, traditions that have made him proud to call himself a Texas Aggie.  Silver Taps, he says, embodies the Aggie spirit, as does the fact that the Corps of Cadets commissions the most officers of any senior military college.  He believes the respect Aggies show for those who have passed away and those who serve our country make Aggieland unique.

Not that he thinks Aggie values and traditions don’t leave room for growth.  Steven even has a suggestion in that department.

“I would like to see students have access to recycling,” he says.  “I’ve been collecting recyclables, and it’s greatly reduced the amount of trash I generate.  If Aggies would inform their friends, make it popular … if we could somehow tie it to the values we have as Aggies, it would really help.”

Saving Lives and Repaying Debts
When he’s not studying or recycling or performing his duties as Executive Officer of Company L-1, Steven is engaging in another extremely important—make that vital—hands-on activity.  As Health and Public Safety Chair for the American Red Cross Club of Texas A&M, he helps organize on-campus blood drives, taking care of everything from permits to parking passes for Red Cross employees.  It’s a lot of work, but, as Steven points out, causes don’t come much worthier than this one.

“I like the fact that as the guy in charge of getting the permits and helping get things set up on campus, I’m helping people get the blood they need to survive,” he reflects.  “No matter how much work I have to do, I concentrate on that light at the end of the tunnel:  the fact that I’m ultimately saving lives.  That’s a very powerful, good feeling.”

Steven has an additional, personal reason for his involvement with the Red Cross.  In 1956, when his grandparents fled the Hungarian Revolution and immigrated to the United States, the American Red Cross helped them get set up in their new country.

“It’s one of the reasons I decided to join,” he says, “one of the reasons I’m so proud of it.  The Red Cross helped my grandparents.  I kind of feel like I owe them for that.”

True to form, Steven Kieval is repaying the debt in the most practical way possible:  He’s lending a hand.

Story featured on the Division of Student Affairs website.

For more information on the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets, please visit http://www.aggiecorps.org/.

Learn more about the American Red Cross Club of Texas A&M at http://www.wix.com/americanredcross/american-reed-cross-page.

Photo by:
Brooke Woodruff, Information Technology Manager/Project Manager
Division of Student Affairs Department of Information Technology
brookew@dsa.tamu.edu


About the college:
With an enrollment of almost 6,800 students in 14 academic departments, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees and has a faculty of over 400 members, including a Nobel laureate. Research programs include food sustainability and safety, human and animal health, genetics, renewable natural resources and bioenergy. Mark Hussey is Vice Chancellor and Dean.

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