Each year during Family Weekend, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences holds its Ag Convocation. One of the highlights is the Spring 2020 Awards, but due to COVID-19, the event was canceled.
However, we wanted to recognize our Senior Merit Award Winners, two faculty teaching awards and the Alpha Zeta outstanding students. A video presentation and more about the award winners is below.
Senior Merit Award winners
Senior Merit Awards have been presented by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for over 50 years. The awards are designed to recognize the best of the best graduating seniors from the college in 2020. The selection criteria for Senior Merit Awards include scholarship, Texas A&M University activities, community involvement, professional and civic activities, internships/employment and awards, honors and undergraduate research activities/publications. The award recognizes students for their academic excellence coupled with leadership and service on the department, college, and university levels. The Senior Merit Award is the highest recognition given to an undergraduate by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Nominations are received from each department and final selection of the recipients is made by the college scholarship committee. The following students representing 14 departments are the 2020 Senior Merit honorees.
Click on a name below to learn more about each award winner
John Bailey, Poultry Science
John Bailey is a Poultry Science major from Magnolia, TX. John has been a member of the Corps of Cadets since 2016 serving leadership roles of Fire Team Leader and Training Corporal as a Sophomore, Platoon Sergeant and Training Sergeant as a Junior, and Scholastics Officer as a Senior. He also served as Squad Leader with Rudder’s Rangers in 2017-18 and Platoon sergeant in 2018-19. John was a member of the Poultry Science Club and participated in the Mexico Poultry Production Study Abroad trip in 2018. His community service involvement included working with the Brazos Valley Food Bank, Big Event, Bataan Memorial Ruck March and two summer mission trips to Nicaragua. He worked for Chick-fil A, Miramont Country Club and Texas A&M Transportation Services as an undergraduate. John’s honors include the Superior Cadet Award as the highest ranked Junior cadet in Army ROTC last year and as #1 cadet in Army ROTC again this year for the class of 2020 and will graduate as the #1 Cadet overall with the from Army ROTC. He will be commissioned on May 8, 2020 will become an infantry officer with the U.S. Army. Following his time in the Army, John hopes to pursue a career in management with Tyson and eventually open his own Chick-fil A restaurant.
Shane Bentke, Agribusiness/Animal Science
Shane Bentke an Agribusiness and Animal Science double-major is from Burton, TX. Shane was very involved in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council serving as Vice President of Community Service as a Sophomore, Vice President of Leadership as a Junior and Vice President of Finance as a Senior. He was responsible for the two Career Fairs consisting of 90-companies and 1400 student participants at each event. He also served as an Associate Justice for the Student Government Association Judicial Court this year and as a Senator in the Student Government Association the past two years. Shane was a delegate from the college to Agriculture Future of America programs in Kansas City since 2017. He was involved in the Agricultural Economics Department as a member of Aggie REPS- the student recruitment team, Agricultural Economics Society and the departmental honors program. He held internships with Capital Farm Credit in Bryan, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and West, Webb, Albritton & Gentry PC in College Station and Washington County AgriLife Extension in Brenham. He received the Buck Weirus Award and was also recognized as Outstanding Junior Student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2018. Shane plans to pursue a Master’s degree in agricultural economics with the ultimate career goal of working in the agricultural finance/lending field.
Jacob Birenbaum, Environmental Studies
Jacob Birenbaum is an Environmental Studies major from Houston. He was very active in Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity serving as chair of Alumni, Philanthropy, Recruitment and Athletics, Vice President and as House Manager during his senior year. He has served in several officer positions in the Interfraternity Council including Director of Community Affairs, Vice President of Public Relations and Vice President of Scholarship. He also served as Student Liaison for the Aggie Greek Network, President of the Greek Academic honor society Order of the Omega and Student Board President of the Southeastern Greek Leadership Association. He served as a Garden Education Intern with The Gardens at Texas A&M, held a summer internship with Stromberg Stock Law Firm in Dallas, served as a Mentor for the Texas A&M Gateway Program and served as a Campus Ambassador for the Peace Corps. Jacob received the Sigma Alpha Mu Foundation Guller Young Scholar recognition and Sigma Alpha Mu National Alumni Recorder Award. He was also recognized with membership in Sinai Scholars Society, Phi Kappa Phi and Jewish Learning Fellowship Society. Jacob plans to use his degree in the Peace Corps to advocate for underprivileged communities and eventually pursue a career in energy or environmental law.
Megan Brown, Nutritional Sciences
Megan Brown is a Nutritional Sciences major from Celeste, TX. Megan was a volunteer working with Operation Lone Star, a week-long event coordinated by the Texas Department of State Health Services, to provide general nutrition information to participants from south Texas communities. She participated on two focus groups to provide student perspective to Dr. Karen Beathard on curricular changes to Food Service Management lecture and lab and updates to the Texas A&M Dietetics Student Handbook. Megan was a peer notetaker for Texas A&M Disability Resources for Human Anatomy and Physiology and Management courses. She participated in the Registered Dietician program with mentor Karen Geismar to discuss current research in nutritional treatment of diseases. Megan served as Membership Chair of the Nutrition Honors Association, as a Bible Study Leader with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students and as staff member for the Aggie Awakening Retreats. She had the opportunity to shadow Jessianna Saville who specialized in medical nutrition therapy for renal patients with Preventative Nutrition Specialists and Tara Taylor with the trauma unit with CHI St. Joseph Health Regional Hospital in Bryan. Megan also worked as a Nutrition Student Assistant with Texas A&M Health Services and worked for Ronin Farm and Restaurant in Bryan. She was selected as the Alpha Zeta Outstanding Freshman in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2017. Megan plans to complete a dietetic internship and Master’s program following graduation to become a Registered Dietician Nutritionist and ultimately pursue a career in medical nutrition therapy and nutrition counseling in an out-patient setting for patients with chronic diseases.
Riley Brown, Nutritional Sciences
Riley Brown is a Nutritional Sciences major from College Station, TX. She served as President of the Nutrition Honors Association and a member of the Pre-Vet Society, Purina Run Club and Aggie West Coast Swing and Dance Club. She completed a Study Abroad trip to Costa Rica, a cultural immersion trip to China and a Christian Veterinary Mission trip to Nicaragua. Riley participated in Big Event and was a peer notetaker for Biology, Organic Chemistry and Communications courses. Community service activities included the Brazos Valley Food Bank and the Bryan Animal Shelter. She has worked as an At-Home Animal Caretaker and worked for the Texas A&M Large Animal Teaching Hospital in Equine Medicine and Food Animal Surgery. She conducted undergraduate research with Dr. Gabriela Zapata in the Department of Hispanic Studies and undergraduate directed studies with Dr. Clinton Allred on dietary risk factors and management of feline calcium oxalate crystals and uroliths. Upon graduating from Texas A&M University, she will matriculate into a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program. By combining her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and minor in Spanish with a DVM degree, she hopes to apply an interdisciplinary approach to her veterinary career.
Ian Cobb, Agricultural Economics
Ian Cobb is an Agricultural Economicsmajor from Lubbock, TX. He completed a double minor in Financial Planning and Agribusiness Entrepreneurship and participated in the honors program from 2016 to present. He served as Finance Committee Co-chair working with the two College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Career Fairs in 2016-17 and also as Public Relations Co-chair in 2017-18. Ian has been a member of the Department of Agricultural Economics Aggie REPS recruitment team for two years and served as Vice President this year. He has been team captain for three years for the Department of Agricultural Economics – American Applied Economics Association Quiz Bowl Team which finished 6th (2018) and second (2019) nationally. In addition, he was a member of the National Agri-Marketing Association team from Texas A&M which finished 6th nationally in 2019. Ian participated in a study abroad trip to Ghana with Dr. Fred Boadu. His community service involvement included Salvation Army Angel Tree and Twin City Missions with St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Brazos Valley Canned Food Drives and Project Linus Blanket Initiative with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council. Ian has been a teaching assistant with the Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program and participated in undergraduate research in the entrepreneurship program under the direction of Dr. Ed Rister. He has held a part-time position as Chief Financial Officer and Sales Associate with Working and Innovative Nutritional Technologies, a farming/crop input consulting firm based in Lubbock, TX. Following graduation, Ian plans to utilize his degree to explore opportunities in the business world and develop enterprises in the financial and service industries.
Marina Conner, Entomology
Marina Conner is an Entomology major from Rowlett, TX. Marina was a member of the Corps of Cadets where she served as Public Relations Corporal in 2017-18, Scholastics Sergeant and Squad Leader in 2018-19 and Scholastics Officer and Squad Leader in 2019-20. She was also a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band for four years and was chosen for ceremonial bands for both President George H. W. Bush’s funeral and Governor Greg Abbott’s Inauguration. She served as a host for Texas A&M Korean Guest Exchange Program for January/February 2019 and 2020 and served as primary contact to Korean cadets for their month long stay at Texas A&M. Marina was a member of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council for two years serving as Entomology Departmental Representative and member of the Service Committee. She was a Wildlife Center Aide in 2019 for the Winnie Carter Wildlife Center, teaching facility of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences aimed to familiarize students with managing and caring for exotic and wildlife animals. Marina participated in the Texas A&M University Concert Band as a Symphonic Band French horn player for four years and Concert Band First chair French horn player for two years. She has been Co-Leader of a Cadet girls Bible Study with Campus Crusade for Christ and was a 2017-19 Distinguished Member of the Pre-Vet Society assisting with annual Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine Open House and service events. Additional service activities for Marina included Cornerstone Church Soup Kitchen for the homeless, Aggieland Humane Society 2018 Wiener Fest, Special Olympics Texas Fall Classic in Bryan/College Station in 2018 and 2019 and Campus Crusade for Christ at the University of Bologna, Italy in 2017. Professional development activities include shadowing veterinarians on both large and small animals at East Lake Veterinary Hospital, VCA Park Cities Animal Hospital and Crossroads Veterinary Clinic. She participated in a Texas A&M Caribbean Tropical and Field Biology Study Abroad Program in 2018 where she conducted a field research study on Streak Gecko, Gonatodes vittatus and currently working with Texas A&M professor and Trinidadian professor to prepare paper for submission to the Living World Journal of Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club. Marina was a Buck Weirus Spirit Award Recipient in 2019 and was recognized as Phi Kappa Phi Gathright Outstanding Junior for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2019. Due to her excellence in campus involvement, she was selected as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Gates-Muller University Award Nominee in 2020.
Jordan Cornell, Entomology
Jordan Cornell is an Entomology major with a minor in Public Health from San Antonio. He was a member of the Corps of Cadets and served as Scholastic Officer. He was a member of Army ROTC, the AMC Honor Guard and O.R. Simpson organization within the Corps of Cadets. Jordan was a volunteer with Connecting Point Church where he was a lead classroom teacher for Pre-school Sunday School and with Robyn’s N.E.S.T. program for young children. He held a full-time summer internship with Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary in the Summer of 2018 where he assisted veterinarians with care for rescued animals and participated in Army Cadet Training in the Summer of 2019. Jordan has also served as USA Hockey Official and Trainer from 2013-18. He received the Gold Star Award for Academic Excellence and the American Legion Academic Medal. He was the recipient of the Len P. Quattrochi Memorial Scholarship, Texas Armed Services Scholarship, 3-Year Advanced National Army Scholarship and the General Rudder Scholarship. Jordan plans to commission into the Army and pursue a career as an officer in the Army working with in public health entomology to provide a healthy environment for communities across the country and around the world.
Blane Council, Agricultural Economics
Blane Council is pursuing the Agricultural Economics undergraduate degree coupled with a Bush School Master’s degree with a certificate in homeland security and concentration in cybersecurity. Blane is originally from Madisonville, TX and was an active member of the Corps of Cadets serving as Rudder Rangers Team Leader during his first year, Company D-1 Training Corporal and 3rd Brigade Major Scholastics Officer during his second year and Parsons Mounted Cavalry Leather Officer, 3rd Brigade Major Unit Scholastics and Career Readiness Officer and O.R. Simpson Honor Society Commander during his third year. He received the Corps of Cadets Silver Star Academic Award. Blane served as President and committee chairman of the Agricultural Economics Aggie REPS which promotes the department and organizes leadership development events for students in the department. He served as Parliamentarian for the Agricultural Economics Society, member of National Agricultural Marketing Association and was a Camp Counselor for a Christian organization’s Aggie Impact Camp. He has been a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Volunteer on the Livestock Committee since 2018 and before that served on the Junior Rodeo Committee from 2012 to 2018. Blane is also active in the Sul Ross Masonic Lodge and Grace Bible Church. He participated in the Agricultural and Natural Resource Policy Internship Program working for Congressman John Carter in 2018. He was an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the-Department of Agricultural Economics and worked on a rural transportation project and is currently a Graduate Research Assistant with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service working on a pricing model for an organic farmers market. Upon graduation from Texas A&M, Blane plans to attend law school and focus on agricultural and environmental resource law.
Shayla Davie, Bioenvironmental Science
Shayla Davie is a Bioenvironmental Science major fromBaytown, TX. She has been involved with Aggie Sisters in Healthcare, Texas A&M Predental Society, and Minority Association of Prehealth Students. She served leadership roles in the ARIAS service organization on the Executive and Public Relations/Finance committees. She was a Peer Notetaker for Disability Resources and assisted Dr. Pennington with the Chemistry Department’s Open House Road Show demonstration. She has been a volunteer with CHI St. Joseph Hospital, Mature Well Lifestyle Center, Camp for All, Brazos Valley Food Bank, Ramp Up Brazos Valley, Barksgiving and Oktoberfest. She has been a USDA-ARS Research Assistant working with Dr. Liu investigating cotton-plant pathogen interactions. She has shadowed Dr. Rhonda Green at her dental clinic and served as Office Assistant at Women’s Healthcare Center of Baytown. She was inducted into Phi Eta Sigma and won the Zeuberer Meticulous Microbe Award. Shayla plans to pursue a career as an Environmental Scientist in the Pacific Northwest following graduation.
Michael Diehl, Food Science and Technology
Michael Diehl is a Food Science and Technology major from Houston. He has been very involved with Fish Camp as a Camp Burton Counselor in 2016, Camp Stone Counselor in 2017, Chairperson of Camp Hellman in 2018 and Director of Operations for 2018-2019. He has also been active in the local and national Institute of Food Technologists Student Association. He served as Chapter Treasurer in 2017-18 and Chapter President of the local organization in 2018-19 and also as Vice President of Membership Engagement and member of Board of Directors for the national organization. Michael served on the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council for two years on the Service and Programs committees. He has been involved with Class Councils from 2015-2019 participating on Aggie Rings for Veterans, Fish Fest Public Relations and Disciplinary Task Force committees as well as Freshmen Council Assistant Director. He has served a leadership role with Residence Hall Staff Council representing Clements Hall for two years and Hullabaloo Hall and Moses Hall for one year and was a Department of Residence Life Resident Advisor for 4 academic years. He has held internships with Kellogg’s Research, Quality, Nutrition and Technology divisions for 6 months and Spoetzl Brewery Laboratory in Summer 2018. Michael has conducted undergraduate research on honey authenticity and polyphenolic compounds in fruits and vegetables. He received the Buck Weirus Award in 2019 and received the Department of Residence Life Resident Advisor Hall of Fame award for 2018 and 2019. . Michael plans to pursue Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Food Science to conduct research that bridges the gap between food science and nutrition with focus on food effects on disease symptoms.
Christopher Dudley, University Studies
Christopher Dudley is University Studies -Leadership major with minors in Sports Management and Public Health from Bryan, TX. Christopher was a member of the United States Marine Corps from 2009 to the present. He served numerous leadership roles in the Marines including Corporal and Warehouse Supervisor in Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron in 2011, Corporal and Marine Security Guard Watch in Mumbai, India in 2012, Sergeant and Marine Security Guard in Rome, Italy in 2013, Staff Sergeant and Marine Security guard in Chisinau, Moldava in 2014, Staff Sergeant and Section Chief in Marine Aviation Logistic Squadron in 2015, Stagg Sergeant and Detachment Chief in Kuwait in 2015-16, Staff Sergeant and Operations Chief Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron in 2016-17, Gunnery Sergeant and Logistics Chief in Marin Aviation Logistics in 2018 and Gunnery Sergeant as a student at Texas A&M with NROTC. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal in 2011, 2014, and 2016, Good Conduct Medals in 2012, 2015 and 2018 and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal in 2018. At Texas A&M, he has been involved with the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps and First- Generation Veterans organization where he serves as mentor for incoming students. Christopher has also devoted time to Basecamp Farms, NROTC Field Exercise, NROTC Meets as a judge and NROTC Ball as an adjutant. Following graduation, he will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and serve the next 10 years.
Ryan Earp, Turfgrass Science
Ryan Earp is a Turfgrass Science major fromFlorence, TX. Ryan was very involved with the Turfgrass Science Club as an officer for two years previously and as President for 2019-20. He was named Texas A&M Turfgrass Department’s Outstanding Sophomore in 2018 and Outstanding Junior in 2019. Ryan is a Terry Scholar and has been active in the Terry Scholars Club on campus. He participated in the national Student Challenge competition in conjunction with Sports Turf Managers Association Conference and Expo where he placed 5th in 2019 and 4th in 2020. He is also a member of the Texas A&M Bowling Team from 2017-2019 and served as Fundraising Officer. He volunteered with Sports for Kids and with Florence FFA activities as alumni of the organization. Ryan has been a student worker with Texas A&M Field Staff since 2018 assisting with maintenance of the athletic fields. His internships included Miracle Gro Company in Summer 2019 and The Preserve Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Summer 2018. He is engaged with undergraduate research with the Turfgrass Science Research Lab to investigate viability of coffee grounds as a potential fertilizer source. Upon completion of his degree in May 2020, Ryan will attend Oklahoma State University to pursue a Masters in Turfgrass Breeding and Physiology and a Ph.D. in Turfgrass Breeding and Genetics.
Jean Ferguson, Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences
Jean Ferguson is a Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences major from Meadows Place, TX. She was very active with Girl Scouts of America through Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council from 2007 to the present. She served as Troop Leader for two Girl Scout troops, Service Unit Fall Product Manager for 45 troops, Community Leader for 80 troops, Community Campout chair for 450 girls and Co-chair for 300 girls, and National Delegate for Girl Scout USA National Convention for four years. Jean also worked with Boy Scouts of America through North Star District as a Troop Committee member. She has held internships with Golem’s Gaming and Geekdom and Outdoor Experience Department with Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council. She has worked as Discovery Center Instructor with City of Meadows Place, Outreach Associate with Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, Jewelry Instructor at Michaels Stores, Summer Camp Counselor for New Territory Residential Association and as a self-employed Art Instructor. Jean has been inducted into Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Theta Kappa due to her academic excellence. She is a mother of two teenagers and commuted 200 miles round trip to attend classes at Texas A&M. She plans to pursue a Ph. D. degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences focusing on Youth Development to help young people and the volunteers who serve them.
Shelby Ferguson, Plant and Environmental Soil Science/Turfgrass Science
Shelby Ferguson is a Plant and Environmental Soil Science and Turfgrass Science double major from Spring, TX. She participated in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences Departmental, University and Launch Honors Programs. She was a member of the Texas A&M Turfgrass Management Club serving as Treasurer and Communications/Website co-coordinator. She was a member of the Turf Bowl team which represented Texas A&M at two national competitions in San Antonio and San Diego. Shelby served as National President, National Recruiter and National Media Chairman for the American Pinzgauer Cattle Association. She also served as National Secretary, National Director and Elections Committee Chairman for the National Junior Santa Gertrudis Cattle Association. Shelby has held internships with North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, KY, Northern International Livestock Exposition in Billings, MT, State Fair of Texas in Dallas and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. She has been a student worker with Texas A&M AgriLife Soil, Water and Forage and Texas A&M Turfgrass Science laboratories. She has worked as a Public Relations Assistant researching potential clients for Purpose Media Group. Shelby also traveled with the Texas A&M Europe Marketing Study Abroad Program to 8 European countries in Summer 2019. Shelby plans to go to graduate or law school to further her education to properly advocate for the agricultural industry.
Manuel Flores, Ecological Restoration
Manuel Flores is an Ecological Restoration major from Mission, TX. Manuel was a member of the Corps of Cadets where he served as Scholastics and Career Readiness Officer (2019-20) and Corporal (2016-17) and White Belt Mentor (2018-20). He also played Tenor Saxophone in the Aggie Band (2016-20). He serves as a Peer Tutor and has volunteered for Big Event. He has conducted two research studies in plant physiology in Costa Rica and was a researcher associated with a 2018 NSF-REU Ecohydrology of Tropical Montane Forests at the at the Soltis Center for Research and Education and the Pocosol Biological Station in Costa Rica. Manuel presented findings at research symposium at Texas A&M and the 2018 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. He was a recipient of a Launch International Research Grant and was selected for the MSC L.T. Jordan institute Fellows Program. He was a student worker for Ecosystem Restoration and Management and served as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for Ecosystem Restoration and Management and Fundamentals of Ecology. Manuel was a recipient of the prestigious Tommy and Lucile Jackson Slaughter, Peggy and Wade Dover ’60 Corps, Victor and Marion Schember, A.D. Folweiler and Mary and Paul Marion scholarships. He plans to attend graduate school to investigate the impact of climate change on environmental gradients within forests.
Laney Froebel, Poultry Science
Laney Froebel is a Senior Poultry Science major from Pollok, TX. Her extracurricular involvement included the Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority, Aggie Leadership Council, Student Recruiter for the Department of Poultry Science and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council. She served as President of the Student Council representing the 6500 undergraduate students in the college. Laney previously served as Vice President of Finance in 2018-19 and Finance Committee chair from 2017-18 where she worked with four career fairs consisting of 90 companies and 1200 student attendees for each fair. She was a member of the Aggie Leadership Council in Poultry Science focusing on recruitment and promotion for the department and was a member of the Poultry Science Club and Freshman Leadership Experience. She was very involved with the Agriculture Future of America organization as a national delegate to tracks 2, 3 and 4. She was a volunteer for the Super Cooper 5K in 2019 and 2020, Big Event and Agriculture in the Classroom. She was a Poultry Science Laboratory Student Worker and was very involved in undergraduate research which led to presentations at the Poultry Science Association meetings in Quebec and San Antonio and the International Poultry Sciences Forum in Atlanta, GA. Due to her excellence in campus involvement, Laney was selected for the prestigious Buck Weirus university award in 2020. Following graduation, Laney plans to pursue a Master of Science in Poultry Science with a concentration on avian health and immunology at the University of Georgia.
Nickolas Frisbee, Plant and Environmental Soil Sciences
Nickolas Frisbee is a Plant and Environmental Soil Sciences major from Harper, TX.He is a member of the Texas A&M Agronomy Society and the Texas A&M University Soils Judging Team which qualified for nationals in 2019-20. He was very active in CARPOOL, a 501c(3) student-run, volunteer organization with the mission of making Bryan/College Station drinking and driving free. Nickolas was Rookie Member of the Year and served on the Board of Directors in 2018-2019. He was also a member of Treehouse, on-campus Lutheran organization. He was a member of ASA/SSSA/CSSA and was a delegate to the national conference in 2019 where he won first place with an internship poster presentation. He volunteered for Big Event, Hogsplash and CARPOOL. He secured a Corn Breeding Internship with Bayer CropScience in Kunia, HI in 2019. Nickolas was an Undergraduate Research Assistant at Texas A&M University and conducted studies that tested the impact of tillage practices on soil health and grain yields across three locations in Texas and presented the findings at SSSA in Fall 2019. He was an Office Student Worker in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences Distance Education Office from 2018 to the present. Due to his work in the department, he received the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences Undergraduate Student Worker Award in 2020. He was the recipient of H&H Ranch, Baker H. Davis and Luther G. Jones scholarships and was recognized as a Former Students Scholar. In addition, he received the Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout recognition in 2016. Nickolas plans to pursue a graduate degree in crop science/plant breeding to complement his soil science experience as an undergraduate.
Asha Fuller, Agricultural Communications and Journalism
Asha Fuller is an Agricultural Communications and Journalism major from Nacogdoches, TX. She was involved with Class Councils serving on the Ring Dance Design Committee and Ring Dance Committee and Class of 2021 Secretary for 2019-20. Asha was a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Ambassador and Chief Student Leader for the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications Aggie REPS, student recruitment team and liaison between students and faculty. She was also a member of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and the Memorial Student Center Freshmen Leaders International serving on the LEAD committee. She has interacted with students involved in the Texas Junior Charolais and the Junior Beefmaster Breeders Associations. She volunteered with the Brazos Valley College Day and Governor Abbott’s Campaign. Asha was a student worker with the Human Behavior Laboratory, the Brainy Business Podcast Virtual Assistant and Barnes and Noble Bookseller as well as a Social Media Intern with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Asha was a Dr. Joe Townsend ’67 Leadership Fellow in 2020, an American FFA Degree Recipient and a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Scholar. Through her major, she learned about all aspects of communication from public relations to graphic design and was able to apply that knowledge to tangible projects both in her coursework and student worker positions. Due to her extensive involvement on campus, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences nominated Asha for the prestigious Brown-Rudder University Award. After graduation, she plans to utilize her undergraduate experiences to pursue a career in marketing and advertising.
Gretchen Kuck, Agricultural Economics
Gretchen Kuck is an Agricultural Economics major from LaGrange, TX. She was very involved with the MSC Wiley Lecture series serving initially on the Development Committee and then as Director of Development for 2018-19. Gretchen led an interdisciplinary team in the Grand Challenges Challenge competition with a project utilizing banana flour to address post-harvest loss, malnutrition, and smallholder incomes. She was also a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Aggies for Global Food Security, Aggies for Christ and Freshman Leadership Experience. She was a Blinn College CareerQuest Presenter where she spoke to over 300 eighth graders about food and agriculture careers, academic success and the college process and she volunteered with Texas 4-H to judge foods and nutrition contests at the state, district, and county levels. She was a Trade and Business Development Intern with the Texas Department of Agriculture in June-August 2018 Trade and Business Development and a Public Policy Intern in Washington,D.C. with Committee on Agriculture in the U.S. House of Representatives in May-August 2019. Gretchen was a Presidential Endowed Scholar at Texas A&M University and a World Food Prize Texas Youth Institute Borlaug Scholar. She plans to utilize her degree in Agricultural Economics to focus on food, agriculture, and trade policies as these disciplines become increasingly symbiotic in a globalized world.
Hannah Langford, Animal Science
Hannah Langford in an Animal Science major from Hawkins, TX. She was a member of Texas A&M Pre-Vet Society and was a team member and administrative assistant for Volunteers Around the World (VAW). She was selected to partake in VAW’s first veterinary outreach mission to Peru where her and her teammates spent two weeks working at animal shelters and animal sanctuaries and setting up mobile clinics to help animals in rural areas. Hannah was a member of Deaf Aggies and Friends and the Human, Environment, Animal Team, an organization dedicated to helping humans, animals, and the environment through positive activism. She has volunteered with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Texas A&M Vet School Open House, Texas A&M Big Event and as a Peer Note-Taker for Disability Resources. She was a Nursery Worker for First United Methodist Church, Hawkins, TX in 2017, Spring Hollow Horse Farm Intern in Spring 2018; SPCA Kennel Technician in the Summers of 2018 and 2019 and Kennel Technician for Van Stavern Small Animal Hospital Kennel Technician in 2018-19. Hannah plans to attend the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in Fall 2020 and hopes to ultimately open her own veterinary clinic.
Kortni Langlinais, Animal Science
Kortni Langlinais is an Animal Science major from Boerne, TX. Kortni was a member of the Texas A&M Horse Judging Team which won high team overall in the National Cutting Horse Association Collegiate Horse Judging Contest. She served as Vice President of the American Collegiate Horsemen’s Association and Secretary and Director of Marketing for the Texas A&M Horseman’s Association. She also served as an Animal Science Ambassador and Social Coordinator for the Texas A&M Collar Scholars (Canine Companions for Independence) as well as a member of Saddle and Sirloin and Sports for Kids. Kortni was Sales Coordinator for the National Extreme Trailhorse Association, a Horse Trainer for Equine Sense, a summer intern with the King Ranch Veterinarian, a summer Horse Caretaker with Fossil Creek Equine and a Fall 2019 intern with NavaRio Ranch to run horse shows and events. She also conducted research with Dr. Jessica Leatherwood on the effect of various methods of exercise (aquatic versus dry versus no exercise) on bone and joint development in young horses. She volunteered for multiple events including Texas A&M Horse Judging Camps, Horse Fair, Equine IQ Contest, National Endangered Equine Summit, Brazos County Fair, Boys and Girls Club and Bryan/College Station Youth Soccer. Kortni plans to pursue future studies and a career focusing on physical therapy and nutrition for the equine athlete.
Sarah Marsh, Plant and Environmental Soil Science
Sarah Marsh is a Plant and Environmental Soil Science major from Arbuckle, CA. She served as President of Alpha Zeta which is an honorary, professional society for students and industry professionals in the agriculture and natural resources fields. She also served as Secretary of the Agronomy Society and a Peer Mentor for the Leadership Living Learning Community (L3C). Sarah was a member of the Texas A&M Women’s Rugby Football Team from 2016 to 2018 and the team was nationally ranked each of those three years. Her community service activities included the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Corn Maze, BIG Event and the Colusa County, CA Fair. As a member of Students of Agronomy, Soils, and Environmental Sciences (SASES) organization, she attended national and regional SASES meetings, competed in the Crops Judging contest and the Agronomy Club Poster contest which placed third nationally. Sarah was a delegate to the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and Crop Science Society (CSSA) national meeting and attended the National Association of Plant Breeders annual meeting as a Norman Borlaug Scholar. Sarah has been a student worker for AgriLife Vegetable Breeding Lab and for AgriLife Soil Fertility Lab, intern with the University of California Cooperative Extension in Summer 2018 and was a Field Research Intern with Corteva AgriScience in Summer 2019. She also worked with Sycamore Farms from 2012-2016. Soil Fertility Lab. She conducted undergraduate research on soil dynamics and characteristics of newly installed urban land in 2018-19 and presented findings through poster presentation at the ASSA, CSA, and SSA national conference. She received the prestigious Texas A&M President’s Endowed Scholarship. Sarah plans to continue her education in the fields of Agronomy and Horticulture focusing on pest management with emphasis on weed ecology and management. Her ultimate career goal is to pursue a career in extension.
Daniel Martin, Nutritional Sciences
Daniel Martin is a Nutritional Sciences major from Bryan, TX. He was a member and I.T. officer of the Texas A&M Pistol Team which has won multiple national championships in National Rifle Association (NRA) Bullseye Pistol Shooting Team competitions. Daniel is also in the Delta Company of Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and received the Gold Star Award in Fall 2018. He is also a member of the TAMU Future Aggie Physician Assistants (F.A.P.A.). His professional organization memberships include American Academy of Physician Assistants, Texas Academy of Physician Assistants, Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants and National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. He has volunteered with Health 4 All Clinic assisting with intake and vitals screenings. Daniel has worked previously as a Medical Specialist with BPL Plasma in Bryan, EMT Ambulance Attendant with Texas A&M Emergency Medical Service in College Station and Phlebotomist with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He was an Honor Graduate of the First Responder Program, MCCS Camp Pendleton, EMT-Basic Program at Palomar College in San Marcos CA in April 2017. Daniel served in the United States Marine Corps from 2013 to 2017. His responsibilities included Vehicle Commander and Humvee Driver/Dismounted Scout. He has been an instructor for numerous programs such as License to Carry Instructor for Texas Department of Public Safety, Basic Handgun and Basic Shotgun Instructor for NRA, Basic Life Support Instructor for American Heart Association, and “Stop The Bleed” Instructor for American College of Surgeons. He is currently enrolled in the School of EMS, Paramedic Program which started in February and finishes in December 2020. Daniel aspires to enter a Physician Assistant Program in 2021 after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences in December 2020.
Allison Milby, Poultry Science
Allison Milby is a Poultry Science major from Magnolia, TX. She was active in Sigma Alpha Sorority serving as Public Relations Chair and as a member of Alumni and Scrapbook committees. She was also involved in the Poultry Science Club and Aggie Leadership Council serving as an Ambassador to recruit new students as well as educate youth about the poultry industry. She served as a Leadership Mentor with Boy Scouts of America National Youth Leadership Training program and also as a Leadership Mentor with the Boy Scouts of America – El Rancho Cima/ Bovay Scout Ranch Merit Badge Classes. Allison volunteered with Tomball German Festival and the Brazos Valley Food Bank. She has been a Poultry Science Undergraduate Research Lab Technician from 2018 to the present working with Dr. Morgan Farnell and graduate students on multiple research trials. She has also worked at TJMaxx and The InStore Group as a student. Allison received the Texas Allied Poultry Association Scholarship from the Texas Poultry Federation, Bob and Margaret Palm COADC Endowed Scholarship and the C. R. Creger Endowed Scholarship. Allison received a National Excellence Award for undergraduate students who presented undergraduate research at the Poultry Science Association Conference in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 2019. Her goal is to continue her education by pursuing a PhD with Texas A&M Poultry Science Department with a focus on the effects of probiotics on gut health.
Brock Murphy, Agricultural Economics
Brock Murphy is an Agricultural Economics major from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. He served for past two years as the Department of Agricultural Economics Representative on the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council. Brock also served as a Student Senator with the Texas A&M Student Government Association. He was a member of National Agri-Marketing Association, Free Speech Forum and Aggie Young America’s Foundation. Brock was elected President of the 23,000-member American Quarter Horse Youth Association for 2016-17 and member of the AQHLead Inaugural Class in 2019-20. He founded the Southeast Missouri Lutheran Schools Mission Task Force in 2014 which has raised over $25,000 for mission support to date. Brock was a White House Intern in Summer 2019, U.S. House of Representatives Intern in Summer 2018 and Donald J. Trump Presidential Campaign Youth Outreach Intern in 2016. On campus, Brock was a Tour Facilitator with the Texas A&M Equine Initiative and a Teaching Assistant with Agricultural Economics for Dr. Ed Rister. Because of his Washington, D.C. internship opportunities, he plans to return to Washington, D.C. after graduation and rejoin the ranks at the White House. Brock hopes to make a positive difference in the lives of the Americans and steadfastly protect farmers and ranchers.
Isolde Parrish, Animal Science
Isolde Parrish is an Animal Science major originally from Troy, TX. Isolde was active in numerous campus organizations including Pre-Vet Society, Saddle and Sirloin, CARPOOL, Freshman Leadership Experience and the Aron and Mary Lois Savell Leadership Mentor Program. She was a Peer Notetaker for Disability Resources and participated in Big Event. She traveled abroad to the United Kingdom and Ireland under the instruction of Dr. Ramsey to study agricultural systems and animal handling and traveled with Dr. Wickersham on the Texas Panhandle Beef Tour. She was also involved with Baptist Student Ministries, Aggieland Humane Society and the Veterinary School Annual Open House. Isolde was a student worker with the TAMU Public Policy Research Institute, TAMU Math Department, Belton Veterinary Clinic, Texas Equine Hospital and with Special Horses and Riders Excelling, a therapeutic riding center that provided horseback rides to physical and mentally disabled individuals. Isolde conducted undergraduate research in 2018-19 in the Ruminant Nutrition Lab under the direction of Dr. Tryon Wickersham. She was a member of the Texas A&M Wool Judging Team which were named Reserve National Champions in 2017. Her future plans following graduation are to pursue a Master of Science in Ruminant Nutrition in the TAMU Department of Animal Science.
David Pham, Recreation, Parks and Tourism Science
David Pham is a Recreation, Parks and Tourism Science major from Cypress, TX. He was very involved with the Aggie Muster Committee previously serving as Ceremony of Events Coordinator in 2016-17, External Relations Coordinator in 2017-18 and as Speaker Executive leading subcommittee responsible for selecting Keynote Speaker for Muster Ceremony. He served as Director of Communications for the Freshman Leadership Advisory Council (FLAC) and multiple roles with the Freshman Leaders Establishing eXcellence (FLEX) organization including Social Committee Leader, Big/Little Executive Director, Grand Big Director and Student Advisor. He also served as a Fish Camp Counselor and was a delegate to the Gilbert Leadership Conference. David was a member of the Texas A&M Century Singers Mixed Choir for three years. In the department, David was involved with Texas Recreation & Park Society, participated in Texas A&M Cruise Management Study Abroad Program in Summer 2018 and was selected as a RPTS Departmental Ambassador to assist with student recruitment. His employment during college included City of West University Place Internship, Camp Cho-Yeh Camp Counselor and Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen. He was inducted into Rho Phi Lambda Honor Society and was a recipient of scholarships from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Science. David recently accepted a position with a tech company in Austin, TX, serving as an Associate Consultant to work with clients to better serve their employees through management of human resources and working with travel and hospitality industries.
Johnna Pieniazek, Food Science and Technology
Johnna Pieniazek is a Food Science and Technology major from Adkins, TX. She was involved in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council as a Food Science Department Representative and Finance Committee member in 2017-18 and as Co-Chair of the Finance Committee in 2018-19. The Finance Committee was responsible for two Career Fairs consisting of 90-companies and 1400 student participants at each event. Johnna was also active in the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association, the TAMU Food Science Club, the Dr. Joe Townsend Leadership Fellows Program, and as a Counselor and Campfire Speaker for Aggie Transition Camps. Johnna was involved with MSC Aggie Leaders of Tomorrow where she was Group Leader and Director of Communications for the TAMU Angel Tree Subcommittee which encompassed over 500 volunteers and 1000 gift donors. Johnna has held internships with H-E-B Own Brand Product Development in Summer 2018 and PepsiCo Research & Development in Summer 2019. She has been a Student Technician with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service- Food Safety Education Program from 2017 to the present. She was a presenter at the Food Diversity Symposium Research Poster session in Spring 2019. Johnna was also a recipient of the American Farmer Degree from the National FFA organization in 2017. After graduation, she will be moving to Plano, Texas to work for PepsiCo as an Associate Food Scientist in their Global Snacks Research and Development division.
Reagan Rucker, Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Reagan Rucker is a Biological and Agricultural Engineering major from Cypress, TX. She was very involved in Aggie Southern Darlings since 2016 as Treasurer in 2018-19 and President for 2019-20 in addition to serving on the Philanthropy, Public Relations, Recruitment and Executive committees. She was a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) and a delegate to ASABE Texas Section Meeting in Wichita Falls, TX and the ASABE Southeastern Regional Student Rally in Raleigh, NC. She was also a member of Texas A&M Collegiate FFA and Site Leader for Big Event for 2017, 2018 and 2019. Her community service involvement includes Adopt-a-Street Trash Pickup, Backyard Bash: Benefitting BIG Love Cancer Care, Fortress Nursing Home Game Nights, Tomball ISD FFA Project Show, CC Creations: Warehouse Fundraiser for BIG Love Cancer Care and Forest Ridge Elementary Falcon Palooza Fundraiser. Reagan was a Studio Intern with Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in March 2017 and 2018, intern with Spirit Environmental, LLC in Summer 2018 and an Environmental Scientist I with Quanta Environmental Solutions in Summer 2019. Reagan conducted undergraduate research through construction of models to analyze the effects of land use on ecosystems. She was inducted into Alpha Epsilon, National Society of Leadership and Success, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Society of Collegiate Leadership and Achievement. In addition, she received the American FFA Degree from the National FFA Organization in 2017. After graduation, Reagan plans to utilize her engineering degree in association with land development.
Agatha Scales, Poultry Science
Agatha Scales is a Poultry Science major from San Antonio. Her campus involvement includes the Texas A&M Poultry Science Club, as a T-Camp Counselor and Howdy Camp Counselor with Aggie Transition Camps and as Social Media Chair for Texas A&M Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Rec Sports Club. Agatha was a participant in the College Student Career Programs in 2019 and 2020 in association with the International Poultry Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, GA and also a student attendee with the Texas Broiler Symposium in Nacogdoches, TX in 2018 and 2019. She has been a volunteer with the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo working with the Swine Committee since 2018 and was recognized as Swine Barn Committee’s Best New Volunteer in 2018. Agatha was also an intern with the Poultry Exhibit at AgVenture at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 2020. She served as Vice President of the Palo Alto College Lone Star Agriculture Undergraduate Student Club. She was a Student Technician with Texas A&M University Extended Orientation, a Student Assistant with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension – Poultry Extension, a Farm and Garden Assistant with San Antonio Food Bank and an Intern with Cal-Maine Foods in Marion, TX in Summer 2019. She has received scholarships for San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, Texas Allied Poultry Association, TAMU Poultry Science Department, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Association of Former Students. Agatha plans to work in agricultural production at an egg laying facility following graduation with a long-term goal of becoming an agricultural educator.
Harlee Schneider, Forensic & Investigative Sciences
Harlee Schneider is a Forensic & Investigative Sciences major from Bastrop, TX. She was a member the of Entomology Scholars Society and the Aggie Forensic and Investigative Sciences Organization (AFIS). As a member of AFIS, she volunteered with the Chemistry Open House in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She was also a member of Texas A&M Cupcakes, a non-profit organization that hosts bake sales to benefit the Brazos Valley Food Bank. Harlee also volunteered for the Youth Adventure Program hosted by the Entomology Department to teach high school students about a variety of forensics topics. She served as a Peer Notetaker for Disability Resources. hosted by the Entomology Department that teaches a group of high school students a variety of forensics topics. Harlee was an intern with the College Station Police Department Criminal Investigations Division in Fall 2019 and volunteered with the Division in Spring 2020. She also held internships with Clinical Pathology Laboratories in Summer 2016 and with a local physician’s office, Dr. Robert Dougherty, in 2015-16. She was involved with undergraduate research with an abstract, “Disruptions of Solenopsis invicta Pheromone Trails” published in Instars: A Journal of Student Research in 2019. She was inducted into the honorary societies of Sigma Alpha Pi and National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She also was the recipient of several scholarships including Dr. Adrienne Brundage, Joe and Billy Manion, Bastrop County Aggie Mom’s Club, Freedom Alliance Scholarship and the Allan A. Marburger ’60 Endowed Opportunity Award. Harlee plans to attend medical school and become a forensic pathologist.
Aaron Smith, Poultry Science
Aaron Smith is a Poultry Science major from Bryan, TX. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1999 to 2017 and was stationed in Japan, Afghanistan, Portugal, Guinea and West Africa. He served as Gunnery Sergeant, Small Unit Infantry Leader, Detachment Commander on the Marine Security Guard program at three United States Embassies and Embedded Advisor with the Afghan National Army. Aaron was a member of the Delta Company in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets serving as Fish/Corporal in 2017-18 and Sergeant First Class/ Academic Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in 2018-2019. He was recipient of the Corps of Cadets Academic Gold Stars and Silver Star for academic performance. He has also been involved with Texas A&M University Student Veterans Association (SVA). Aaron has immersed himself in activities in the Poultry Science Department with the Texas A&M University Poultry Science Research Center, the Poultry Science Club, Poultry Science Aggie Leadership Council and the Poultry Science Mexico Study Abroad trip. As a student worker at the Poultry Science Research Center, he assisted in preparing facilities for over 30 research projects. As a member of the Poultry Science Club, he helped secure a grant to renovate the entrance and landscape to the Poultry Center. As member of Aggie Leadership Council, he assisted with the Area and State FFA Poultry Career Development Events and student recruitment efforts at the Texas FFA Convention and Aggieland Saturday. He also completed an internship with Sanderson Farms in Summer 2018 and worked on project to evaluate production performance and efficiencies. He also worked a part-time job with True Light Pools in 2017. Aaron has extensive community involvement through serving on the Security Team for Life Church, supporting veterans in American Legion Post 159, serving as Assistant Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troup 159, recruiting members for Team Red, White, and Blue (RWB), serving as Parent Volunteer with Cub Scout Pack 802, volunteering with Renovation Project for Saint Marks Missionary Baptist Church in Bryan, Mentoring students at Mary Branch Elementary School, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity Service Project and serving as President of Blinn College Student Veterans Association. He was recognized as Alpha Zeta Outstanding Sophomore and Junior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and was nominated by the college for the first annual E. King Gill Selfless Service University Award. Aaron plans to pursue a career in poultry production through breeder management or as a service technician. From His industry experience, he hopes to utilize the knowledge gained for agricultural projects in underdeveloped areas of the world but also to meet needs in the United States.
Shannon Spragg, Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences
Shannon Spragg is a Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences major from Poway, CA. She has been active in Chi Omega Fraternity as Affiliate Chair for university transfer students and Sisterhood Chair and Sisterhood Mentorship Team Leader. She is also a member of Texas A&M Society for Conservation Biology and Texas A&M Chapter of The Wildlife Society where she was a delegate to the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society Conference. Shannon was a Conservation Ambassador with Global Vision International (GVI) which partners with Texas A&M Study Abroad. Through the organization, she was a GVI US Ambassador, member of the Youth Advisory Board for Charitable Programs and a volunteer for GVI South Africa, a 6-week research internship conducting wildlife conservation field research on a game reserve in Limpopo, SA in 2019. She also volunteered to mentor young girls at Still Creek Ranch and volunteered with Aggieland Humane Society as Foster parent for a variety of pets needing temporary homes outside of kennel conditions. Shannon has been a Research Assistant with Texas A&M Wildlife & Fisheries ungulate research lab under direction of Dr. Perry Barboza from 2018 to present. She was a Global Partnerships Research Fellow with the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research in 2018, job shadowed Greg Vicino, Curator for Elephants and Animal Welfare and Care Manager for San Diego Zoo Global in April 2016 and participated in an 8-week internship with San Diego Zoo InternQuest which included photojournalism project, weekly interviews with zoo staff and informational blogs for the San Diego Zoo website. Shannon received a 1st Place Undergraduate Research Award from the TAMU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2019 and has a research publication in progress on spatial and temporal displacement of elephants in Botswana surrounding the Okavango River Delta and impact of anthropogenic pressure on access of elephants to vital resources like water. Shannon was a transfer student from Colorado State University and was a recipient of the W.B. Davis and Harvey E. Guinn scholarships. She plans to pursue a graduate degree investigating human-wildlife relationships and hopefully return to Africa to work in wildlife research and community-based conservation management.
Amanda Stuart, Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences
Amanda Stuart is a Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences major from Manor, TX. She was a member of Alpha Delta Pi where she served on Songfest, Scholarship and Philanthropic committees. She was a member of Veterinarians Without Borders volunteering at Bryan Animal Shelter, Haven for Horses and Reptile Hospice. She was also a member of Wildlife Disease Association, Order of Omega Panhellenic Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi, Aggie Keys and Patriot Paws. Amanda was a student worker with Biological Research and Teaching Collections in College Station and an intern with Hill Country Aviaries which maintains over 200 exotic birds in Dripping Springs, TX. She conducted undergraduate research with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Texas A&M University Small Mammal Specialist Group to evaluate conservation status of rodents within Central America. She worked with Century Club Call Center for The Association of Former Students, Stuart Developmental Pediatrics in Austin, TX and Lifetime Fitness in Austin, TX. Her volunteer work included Smith and Shedd Family Pet Hospital, Deerfield Animal Hospital and Austin Animal Center. Amanda plans to attend a College of Veterinary Medicine to pursue a career as a Veterinarian.
Sarah Swiney, Nutritional Sciences
Sarah Swiney is a Nutritional Sciences major from Richardson, TX. Sarah was very involved in the Student Government Association serving on the Executive Cabinet of the Student Body President working closely with university administration and student leaders. She served as Vice President of University Committees in 2017-18 and Operations Executive Vice President in 2018-2019. She was recognized as Executive Cabinet Member of the Year in 2018. She was also involved in Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority serving as Book Club Leader, Recruitment Director for Education and Songfest Chair. She was a Maroon Coat from 2018 to the present which is the student group that collectively serves as ambassadors of the Texas A&M Foundation by thanking donors through stewardship and building relationships rooted in respect, admiration, and service to the university. She was also a member of the Legislative Relations Commission from 2016-17 which established the Texas Student Government Coalition, an organization that significantly improved how college students advocate for state legislation. Sarah’s community involvement included Sul Ross Elementary School Tutor, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Clinic assistance and Fish Aides Winter Trip to perform manual labor for orphanages, schools, and local food banks. She was a Nutritional Sciences Intern in Summer 2018 for the International Institute for Anti-Ageing and assisted with research and product development of a food supplement brand distributed in 17 countries. Sarah was Kanakuk Kamps’ Counselor in Summer 2017 and was responsible for creating engaging recreational opportunities for children. She was a recipient of Dallas A&M Club Aggie Ring, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Joe & Billy Manion Endowed and Gremminger & Bullard Endowed Scholarships. Sarah recognizes that her degree in Nutritional Sciences affects all aspects of health, including oral health and she will attend the University of Texas School of Dentistry in the fall.
Ellie Tuchaai, Nutritional Sciences
Ellie Tuchaai is Nutritional Sciences major from Fulshear, TX. She was a Maroon Coat which represents selected student leaders to serve as ambassadors for the university and build important relationships between students and potential donors of the Texas A&M Foundation. She served on the Executive Council for Maroon Coats in 2019-2020 as Director of Internal Affairs. Ellie was a delegate to the Memorial Student Center Abbott Family Leadership Conference in 2018-19. She was a member and Fundraising Officer for the MED Life Texas A&M Chapter, a Fish Camp Counselor and a member of Freshman Leaders in Progress. She was also a member of Chi Omega Fraternity, Xi Kappa Chapter, where she has served on the Sisterhood Support Team and as Houston Recruitment City Chair and Sisterhood Retreat Coordinator. She has been a volunteer with Women, Infants and Children Clinic and with the Children’s Ministry at Grace Bible Church. Her medical shadowing has included General Surgery with Dr. Michael Steines, OB/GYN Shadowing with Dr. Bill Rayburn and Pediatric Neurology Shadowing with Dr. Pedro Mancias. She conducted Undergraduate Research with Dr. Nancy Turner in 2017 with a research proposal investigating the prevention of colon cancer through the consumption of butyrate and phytochemicals. She also conducted Undergraduate Research in Dr. Yuxiang Sun’s lab on neuroendocrine systems related with ghrelin and its relationship with obesity, diabetes and beta cell failure. Her research efforts have contributed to four research publications for the Journal of Neuroendocrinology, Gerontological Society of America, Geroscience Symposium and FAS Experimental Biology. Ellie stated that robust education she received in Nutrition Honors has provided a foundation of scientific intellect and emotional capacity to confidently enter medical school upon graduation. As a future physician, she will seek to leverage her knowledge and training in nutrition as a therapeutic agent for the prevention and treatment of metabolic disease.
Taylor Tulloch, Bioenvironmental Sciences
Taylor Tulloch is a Bioenvironmental Sciences major from Hewitt, TX. She served as Departmental Representative on the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council for 2019-2020, Fish Camp Counselor in 2017, Public Relations Committee member with ARIAS: Aggies Representing Independence, Authenticity, and Servanthood for 2018-2020, Publicity Subcommittee member with Aggie Replant for 2017-2018 and a member of the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) in 2016. Her community involvement included Camp-For-All, Brazos Valley Worldfest, Scotty’s House and the Brazos Valley Food Bank. She has been an intern with FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies Environmental Health and Safety for 2019-20 and a Counselor with the City of Bryan Camp in 2018. She also competed in the Bioenvironmental Sciences Poster Symposium with a First Place Poster for an Environmental Professional Internship in 2019. Taylor plans to utilize her degree to pursue a career in Environmental Health and Safety as well as educate others about environmental issues.
Austin Vetter, Agricultural Leadership
Austin Vetter is an Agricultural Leadership major from Robinson, TX. Austin was very involved with Impact Retreat from 2017 to the present by serving as a Counselor, Co-Chair, Co-Chair Trainer and Public Relations Executive. Impact is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded to welcome the incoming Aggie student class into the Christian community in the Bryan/College Station area. Austin was selected for the Dr. Joe Townsend Leadership Fellows Program to participate in a fellowship program focused on enhancing students’ leadership skills for the work place and studied leadership in other cultures by traveling to Mexico in March 2020. He was also an Aggie Representative for the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications (ALEC), as liaisons between the department’s students, faculty, and board members and recruiters for the department. He served on Class Councils from 2016 to 2019 to promote unity within the university by hosting traditions. He also played the tuba with the Texas A&M Wind Symphony from 2016-2020. His community involvement included the New Life Baptist Church where he served on the Usher and Missions teams and the Big Event. He worked as a Texas A&M Residence Life Tour Guide from August 2018 to December 2019 and as Texas A&M Residence Life Assistant Tour Coordinator in 2020. Austin was a Market Host at Magnolia Market in Summer 2017. He participated in Undergraduate Research in the ALEC Department under direction of Dr. Gary Wingenbach by conducting a literature review and collecting data to identify common themes on the employability benefits of study abroad. His research resulted in a publication in the NACTA Journal in 2019. He was an Undergraduate Research Scholar in 2019 with an investigation of the effects of Nationalism on refugee integration in Texas metropolitan cities. He also went on a summer mission trip to Turkey in 2018. Austin received the Eagle Scout distinction in 2015. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in public service with an emphasis on conflict and security in the Middle East.
Alison Vicary, Biochemistry/Genetics
Alison Vicary is a Biochemistry and Genetics double major from Houston. She is involved in the University Honors Program and the Undergraduate Research Scholars Thesis Program. Alison is a Texas A&M National Scholar Ambassador who has volunteered at Texas A&M recruiting events to interact with high school National Scholars. She was very involved with the Baptist Student Ministry with leadership roles on Freshman Bible Study, English Class Lead Teacher for International Bible Study and Community Group Leader. She also served as Student organization that brings weekly church services to people in the community who cannot go to church, a student organization that brings weekly church services to people in the community who cannot go to church. She was a member of Texas A&M University Symphonic Winds Band from 2016-2018. Alison has been active with Antioch community Church and served as a 2019 Engage the Nations Intern in South Asia. She has also assisted nurses in the oncology department at CHI St. Joseph Health in 2018. She participated in the Summer 2017 MD Anderson Cancer Center CPRIT-CURE Undergraduate Program working with Dr. Michael Andreeff in the leukemia research lab and presented findings at Summer Research Poster Session. Alison has been involved in Undergraduate Research since 2016 in Biochemistry and Genetics lab with a Dr. Vishal Gohil conducting research about proteins required for mitochondrial respiration and drugs to treat mitochondrial diseases. She presented oral presentations on research in in Student Research Week, Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium, and lab meetings. Alison contributed data to journal publications and helped proofread and revise lab documents, grant applications and journal articles. She also conducted research in Dr. Vishal Gohil’s lab for the Texas A&M University Summer 2018 Undergraduate Research Program in Biochemistry which resulted in a thesis, poster presentation at LAUNCH Undergraduate Research Summer Poster Session and an oral presentation at Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Biochemistry Symposium. Her research efforts have resulted in two scientific publications to date. Alison is a Barry Goldwater Scholar, Craig and Galen Brown Foundation Scholar and Texas A&M President’s Endowed Scholar. She was nominated for the prestigious Brown-Rudder Award by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Following graduation, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences to begin a career as an innovative researcher with hopes of uncovering the molecular bases of human diseases.
Emily Watson, Animal Science
Emily Watson is an Animal Science major from Alvarado, TX. She has been active in numerous extracurricular activities including CARPOOL, Saddle and Sirloin club, Pre-Vet Society, Aron and Mary Lois Savell Leadership Mentor Program and Aggie Research Scholars. She competed nationally on the Texas A&M Wool Judging Team and won Reserve Champion Individual Overall at San Antonio and national recognition as an All-American Wool Judging Team Member in 2017. Her community service involvement included the Brazos Valley Archery Club, Heifer International Gala, Aggieland Humane Society, S.H.A.R.E. Big Event, Texas A&M Sheep Show, Texas A&M Area FFA Career Development Events and Texas A&M Veterinary School Open House. Emily is a student worker with the large animal research facility at the TAMU College of Veterinary Medicine and became supervisor of student workers in January 2019. She was an intern with the U.S. Dairy Education and Training Consortium, in Summer 2019 which provided in-depth and hands-on training aimed at learning about the dairy industry. She also worked with Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center and City View Animal Hospital. Emily conducted Undergraduate Research in Dr. Ivan Rusyn’s Toxicology Lab and Dr. Tryon Wickersham’s Ruminant Nutrition Lab. She was the recipient of the Johnson County A&M Club Award of Excellence. Emily plans use her degree as foundational knowledge to become a food animal veterinarian and ultimately reside in rural Texas to improve animal care and health.
Wallace Wilkins, Horticulture
Wallace Wilkins is a Horticulture from Cypress, TX. Wallace was a Bachelor of Science degree recipient in Chemical Engineering from Arizona State University and pursued a career with Shell Oil Company and Shell Chemicals following graduation. He started as a Process Engineer with Project Engineering and Operations Management roles, then transitioned into a Technology Manager with Shell Chemicals where he was responsible for providing global technology leadership for the Lower Olefins & Aromatics business of Shell Chemicals including process research and development, technical support for existing plants and process design of new facilities with a team of 14 research scientists and 26 technicians based at sites in Houston and Amsterdam. From 2006 to 2018, he served as General Manager of Manufacturing with Shell Catalysts and Technologies providing global leadership for 1000+ employee manufacturing organization with sites located in North America, Europe and China. Wallace became a member of the Board of Directors and Director of Operations for Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation in 2016 where he was responsible for supervision of all staff, leadership of strategic planning activities and coordination of collaborations with other public gardens and academic institutions. His professional involvement includes International Oak Society and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers – Process Safety Subcommittee. He served on Citizen Advisory Panels – Senior Shell Leader on community/industry advisory panels in Bay Point, CA, Michigan City, IN and East Baton Rouge Parish, LA. He also served on the Board of Directors and as President of the West Side Montessori School. Wallace completed the Shell Executive Education Program at the Wharton School -University of Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2006. He started his undergraduate program in Horticulture in the Summer 2018 and following graduation, he plans to continue his role as Operations Director of Peckerwood Garden in Hempstead, TX with the goal of furthering the transformation of the private garden into a unique but accessible public institution to serve as a refuge from the stress of modern life and providing opportunities to see and learn about plants, ecology and the need for conservation of the earth’s biodiversity.
Faculty Teaching Awards
Honor Professor – Max “Dusty Menzies”
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council selects an outstanding teacher every year for recognition as Honor Professor. It is awarded to the professor who truly connects with the students in the classroom but just as importantly provides the mentorship and caring demeanor to bring out the best in his/her their students.
Max “Dusty” Menzies is a Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M. He has been employed at A&M for 25 years and received his Ph.D. in Education Administration from A&M in 2017. Dusty has taught over 3000 students at A&M and has received teaching awards including the Student Led Award for Teaching Excellence and the Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for College Level Teaching.
He was a part of the College of Agriculture’s inaugural Critical Thinking Fellowship and First Year Friendly Faculty initiative. He has mentored students in three organizations and has helped raise over $100,000 in grants for those organizations. His Academic Quiz Bowl teams have recorded three top-five teams in the past two years. Dusty has served two national associations as student section advisor for the past three years and has organized the section’s participation in annual meetings during that time.
His most challenging and most rewarding activities have been the nine study abroad trips to Scotland and Ireland that he has developed, organized, and led. These trips have included 170 students and has resulted in multiple students pursuing graduate degrees in those countries.
Gail and David P. Marion ‘65 Teaching Award – Dr. Katherine H. Carson
In 2012, the Gail W. and David P. Marion ’65 Teaching Award was established in memory of Dr. Richard C. Potts to recognize a faculty member (Professor) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who routinely teaches and mentors freshman and sophomore students and is an effective communicator. Dr. Richard Potts ’45, was a respected administrator and faculty member in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who contributed to the success of Texas A&M University. He treated his students like his very own children, knowing that sometimes they just needed someone to talk to.
Katherine Carson has over 20 years of experience in academia as a teacher, scientist, and mentor. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Agronomy from Texas A&M University in 1995. She then graduated with her Ph.D. in Agronomy from The University of Arkansas in 1999. She returned to Texas A&M and has been with the Department of Soil & Crop Sciences since 1999.
Katherine has spent the majority of her time researching pesticide fate in environmental systems, but has taught graduate courses in Methods of Plant, Soil, and Water Analysis in Environmental Systems and Weed Biology and Ecology as well as an undergraduate course in Weed Management and Ecology. She currently teaches two undergraduate courses, Problem Solving in Plant and Soil Systems and World Food and Fiber Crops, which is an undergraduate core curriculum course. Additionally, she teaches a graduate course in Mode of Action and Environmental Fate of Herbicide. Katherine has chaired one MS student and has been on three graduate committees. She has spent numerous years mentoring graduate students as well as undergraduate students in Soil & Crop Sciences and the Weed Judging Team.
Dr. Carson has been recognized by Soil & Crop Sciences Department for her contributions in research support and teaching. She has also been recognized by the Southern Weed Science Society for her role as a coach in weed judging. In addition to teaching, Dr. Carson has also co-authored seven journal publications.
Alpha Zeta Outstanding Students
Alpha Zeta is an honorary professional society for students and industry professionals in agricultural and natural resources fields. Founded in 1897, Alpha Zeta is the first and oldest society for agriculture and the Texas A&M chapter is one of the largest in the nation. Each of the college’s departments select an outstanding freshman, sophomore and junior student that they nominate for this award. The Alpha Zeta team then reviews applications, interviews the finalists and selects the award winners.