Karissa Yamaguchi Selected for Graduate Fellowship

College Station, TX – 2019 genetics graduate Karissa Yamaguchi ’19, the 2018 Texas A&M University Outstanding Junior and 2019 chapter nominee to the Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship, has been awarded one of 53 fellowships worth $8500. Congratulations!

To see Yamaguchi’s full bio, please visit her nomination announcement.

Karissa Yamaguchi 19, 2019 ΦΚΦ Graduate Fellowship winner

MORE ABOUT THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI
FOUNDED IN 1897 AND HEADQUARTERED IN BATON ROUGE, LA., THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI IS THE NATION’S OLDEST AND MOST SELECTIVE COLLEGIATE HONOR SOCIETY FOR ALL ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES. THE SOCIETY’S MISSION IS “TO RECOGNIZE AND PROMOTE ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE IN ALL FIELDS OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TO ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY OF SCHOLARS IN SERVICE TO OTHERS.” SINCE ITS FOUNDING, MORE THAN 1 MILLION MEMBERS HAVE BEEN INITIATED. SOME OF THE ORGANIZATION’S MORE NOTABLE MEMBERS INCLUDE FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT M. GATES, NASA ASTRONAUT WENDY LAWRENCE, AUTHOR ERNEST GAINES AND YOUTUBE COFOUNDER CHAD HURLEY. PHI KAPPA PHI AWARDS NEARLY $1 MILLION EACH BIENNIUM TO QUALIFYING STUDENTS AND MEMBERS THROUGH GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS, UNDERGRADUATE STUDY ABROAD SCHOLARSHIPS, MEMBER AND CHAPTER AWARDS AND GRANTS FOR LOCAL AND NATIONAL LITERACY INITIATIVES.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI, PLEASE CALL 800/804-9880 OR VISIT HTTP://WWW.PHIKAPPAPHI.ORG.

###

Advertisements

Anthropology PhD Candidate Selected for Inaugural Graduate Research Grant

College Station, TX – Jordan Pratt, a PhD candidate in anthropology with the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M University, has been awarded a 2019 Graduate Research Grant from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. This was the inaugural year for these grants, which provide up to $1500 to fund travel in support of career development opportunities such as conducting or presenting research.

Pratt’s research focuses on the stone tool technologies used by the first peoples to inhabit the northern Great Basin. She is currently leading archaeological excavations at two late ice age archaeological sites in eastern Oregon. The Graduate Research Grant supported her attendance at the 2019 American Archaeological Society meeting.

A woman in a white hat and turquoise shirt stands in a hole with archaeological implements surrounding her

2019 Graduate Research Grant recipient Jordan Pratt

Pratt provided some feedback on the value of her membership and advice for others interested in applying for the ΦΚΦ graduate research grant. 

How did you get involved with Phi Kappa Phi? What prompted you to join?

I got involved in Phi Kappa Phi during my third year of graduate school, after learning about several other graduate students who had joined.  I joined after learning more about the amazing work the society does to promote and support graduate research, which is something that other honor societies I am a part of don’t do.

How did you find out about the Graduate Research Grant? What was the application like?

I learned about the Graduate Research Grant from the Phi Kappa Phi newsletter, I’ve found that they are very communicative about resources available for students. The application was very straight forward, it asked me to provide details about how the grant would directly be used, and the ways in which being awarded funds would impact my own career, as well as my larger field.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

I would advise that future applicants spend extra time thinking about the ways in which their research and the ways the grant would be used impact not only their career trajectories, but also why that matters to others both within and outside of their discipline. I believe that making these  connections bolstered my application and made it more competitive.

To learn more about Phi Kappa Phi grants and awards, visit https://www.phikappaphi.org/grants-awards.

MORE ABOUT THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI
FOUNDED IN 1897 AND HEADQUARTERED IN BATON ROUGE, LA., THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI IS THE NATION’S OLDEST AND MOST SELECTIVE COLLEGIATE HONOR SOCIETY FOR ALL ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES. THE SOCIETY’S MISSION IS “TO RECOGNIZE AND PROMOTE ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE IN ALL FIELDS OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TO ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY OF SCHOLARS IN SERVICE TO OTHERS.” SINCE ITS FOUNDING, MORE THAN 1 MILLION MEMBERS HAVE BEEN INITIATED. SOME OF THE ORGANIZATION’S MORE NOTABLE MEMBERS INCLUDE FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT M. GATES, NASA ASTRONAUT WENDY LAWRENCE, AUTHOR ERNEST GAINES AND YOUTUBE COFOUNDER CHAD HURLEY. PHI KAPPA PHI AWARDS NEARLY $1 MILLION EACH BIENNIUM TO QUALIFYING STUDENTS AND MEMBERS THROUGH GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS, UNDERGRADUATE STUDY ABROAD SCHOLARSHIPS, MEMBER AND CHAPTER AWARDS AND GRANTS FOR LOCAL AND NATIONAL LITERACY INITIATIVES.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI, PLEASE CALL 800/804-9880 OR VISIT HTTP://WWW.PHIKAPPAPHI.ORG.

###

Karissa Yamaguchi Nominated for Graduate Fellowship

College Station, TX – Karissa Yamaguchi of Phoenix, AZ, has been selected as the 2019 Texas A&M nominee for the national Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship competition. Each year, Phi Kappa Phi – the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines – awards fifty Fellowships of $8,500 each and two at $35,000 each to members entering the first year of graduate or professional study. Our chapter has a strong history in this competition; Texas A&M applicants have been awarded fellowships in 7 out of the last 10 years.

Yamaguchi received a $500 scholarship as the nominee from the local chapter. The national fellowship recipients will be announced in mid-June.

Karissa Yamaguchi ’19, 2019 TAMU Nominee to ΦΚΦ Graduate Fellowship

Karissa was highly involved throughout her time at Texas A&M with activities such as undergraduate research, mentoring, and volunteering work. Karissa’s interest in intricate natural biochemical processes led her to pursue a degree in Genetics, bolstered by undergraduate research, to prepare her for a career using those processes to create potent and targeted cures. She plans to pursue an M.D./M.P.H. at Stanford University School of Medicine or Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Karissa joined Dr. Xiuren Zhang’s lab in the Texas A&M Borlaug Institute to receive training in the complexities of genetic regulation by microRNAs, and then pursued a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) in Dr. Nikolaos Sgourakis’ lab at UC Santa Cruz to refine cancer patients’ immune cells to specifically recognize cancerous cells for the development of a more targeted cure and reduce broad toxicity to patients.

Utilizing these research experiences, Karissa also enjoyed mentoring other students how to get involved in research and promote the value of higher education to officials at the university and state government as an Undergraduate Research Ambassador and member of the Academy of Undergraduate Researchers Across Texas. Simultaneously her faith and passion for medicine lead her to begin the Texas A&M chapter of Global Medical Missions Alliance, a Christian organization that seeks to equip Christian healthcare leaders through providing medical service to their partner communities in Mexico.

Through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship she explored the value and intersections between culture, social justice, and faith, and she served as a Bible study leader, mentor, and General Meeting Coordinator. Through living within an urban poor community in the Philippines one summer organized by InterVarsity, Karissa witnessed first-hand the necessity in understanding and stewarding her education and other privileges well. Upon her return, her minor in Public Health further affirmed the role of a physician in recognizing patients’ cultures, perspectives, and socio-economic contexts to deliver the best patient-centered care and promote equity through affirming the individuals she treats.

Karissa excelled both in and out of the classroom during her college career, earning a number of accolades and scholarships. Karissa represented the Texas A&M Archery Team and was a four-time All Academic American Athlete. She was a junior Gathright Award recipient and Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Junior for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and was also selected as the Texas A&M University Outstanding Junior. At graduation, Karissa earned the Honors Fellows distinction and was honored with the Brown Foundation Earl Rudder Memorial Outstanding Student Award, the highest honor bestowed on a graduating senior at Texas A&M University.

When asked to provide advice to future applicants, Karissa answered:

“Assign meaning and discover your context.

“Live intentionally, not to craft a specific resume but to discover your passions. Reflect regularly to know what you are learning and how you are changing through each experience. When you understand your story it helps you identify why you are drawn to what you do, and why you want to push yourself even further in that area. Explaining those motives to others is then much more simple, authentic, and driven.

“Knowing who you are and the communities you are a part of is also helpful in crafting a more full story. I personally believe in a God who has hand-crafted my identities and has equipped me through both my identities and experiences to serve. As a fourth generation Japanese American, my grandparents’ experiences in incarceration during World War II necessitates my activism for people who are alienated or scapegoated by the current political rhetoric. My adoption into my Filipino host community require my commitment to not only serving the poor with dignity, but changing the structures that have forced them into intractable poverty. My identity as a Christian requires I view all people–regardless of race, socio-economic status, ability, gender, etc.–as valuable and worthy of compassion and justice and that I must play a role in promoting equity for the vulnerable. As a student and physician, I will both serve and advocate for the vulnerable.

“Overall knowing who you are and the context you exist within will help you identify your passions and the needs you are called to fill.”

MORE ABOUT THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI
FOUNDED IN 1897 AND HEADQUARTERED IN BATON ROUGE, LA., THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI IS THE NATION’S OLDEST AND MOST SELECTIVE COLLEGIATE HONOR SOCIETY FOR ALL ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES. THE SOCIETY’S MISSION IS “TO RECOGNIZE AND PROMOTE ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE IN ALL FIELDS OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TO ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY OF SCHOLARS IN SERVICE TO OTHERS.” SINCE ITS FOUNDING, MORE THAN 1 MILLION MEMBERS HAVE BEEN INITIATED. SOME OF THE ORGANIZATION’S MORE NOTABLE MEMBERS INCLUDE FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT M. GATES, NASA ASTRONAUT WENDY LAWRENCE, AUTHOR ERNEST GAINES AND YOUTUBE COFOUNDER CHAD HURLEY. PHI KAPPA PHI AWARDS NEARLY $1 MILLION EACH BIENNIUM TO QUALIFYING STUDENTS AND MEMBERS THROUGH GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS, UNDERGRADUATE STUDY ABROAD SCHOLARSHIPS, MEMBER AND CHAPTER AWARDS AND GRANTS FOR LOCAL AND NATIONAL LITERACY INITIATIVES.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI, PLEASE CALL 800/804-9880 OR VISIT HTTP://WWW.PHIKAPPAPHI.ORG.

###

 

2019 Induction Ceremony, TAMU Outstanding Junior Announced

Demonta Coleman ’20, 2019 TAMU Outstanding Junior (center), with Dr. Elizabeth Crouch (left) and Dr. Stephanie Graves (right).

The Texas A&M Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi held its annual induction ceremony on Sunday, April 14, 2019, welcoming over 250 new members representing seventeen different colleges and professional programs to Phi Kappa Phi, the oldest and largest interdisciplinary honor society in the United States.

In addition to undergraduate and graduate student initiates, the 2019 ceremony included Dr. Paul Dechow, Regents Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the Texas A&M College of Dentistry; Dr. Robin Means Coleman, Professor of Communication and Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity; and Dr. Patrick Stover, Vice Chancellor and Dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences.

As part of a new partnership with The Association of Former Students, a dozen Former Students were initiated to membership who had previously been recognized in the 12 Under 12 Young Alumni Spotlight. The Former Students inducted included:

    • Kelly Davis Baylan ’05
    • Saurabh Biswas ’11
    • Katy Lowe Boatman ’04
    • Rayburn Jake Donaldson ’04
    • Israel Escamilla ’11
    • Alyssa Fenoglio ’03
    • Sally Kolenda ’08
    • Chris Krueger ’04
    • Aaron Rainer ’98 & ’06
    • Grant Speakes ’04
    • Angela Stephens ’03
    • Mike Yantis, Jr. ’02

Celebrating this new partnership, Association of Former Students President and CEO Porter S. Garner III ’79 gave a congratulatory address and helped recognize the Gathright Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Junior from each college with a $500 scholarship and plaque. Mr. Garner was also presented with a lifetime membership in Phi Kappa Phi.

Demonta Coleman, junior biomedical sciences major, was announced as the 2019 Texas A&M University Outstanding Junior and was presented with a $1,000 scholarship and a plaque.

MORE ABOUT THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI
FOUNDED IN 1897 AND HEADQUARTERED IN BATON ROUGE, LA., THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI IS THE NATION’S OLDEST AND MOST SELECTIVE COLLEGIATE HONOR SOCIETY FOR ALL ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES AND ANNUALLY INDUCTS APPROXIMATELY 32,000 STUDENTS, FACULTY, PROFESSIONAL STAFF AND ALUMNI. THE SOCIETY HAS CHAPTERS ON MORE THAN 300 SELECT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN NORTH AMERICA AND THE PHILIPPINES. MEMBERSHIP IS BY INVITATION ONLY TO THE TOP 10 PERCENT OF SENIORS AND GRADUATE STUDENTS AND 7.5 PERCENT OF JUNIORS. FACULTY, PROFESSIONAL STAFF AND ALUMNI WHO HAVE ACHIEVED SCHOLARLY DISTINCTION ALSO QUALIFY.

SINCE ITS FOUNDING, MORE THAN 1 MILLION MEMBERS HAVE BEEN INITIATED. SOME OF THE ORGANIZATION’S MORE NOTABLE MEMBERS INCLUDE FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT M. GATES, NASA ASTRONAUT WENDY LAWRENCE, AUTHOR ERNEST GAINES AND BROADCAST JOURNALIST DEBORAH NORVILLE. NEARLY $1 MILLION IS AWARDED EACH BIENNIUM TO QUALIFYING STUDENTS AND MEMBERS THROUGH GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS, UNDERGRADUATE STUDY ABROAD SCHOLARSHIPS, MEMBER AND CHAPTER AWARDS AND GRANTS FOR LOCAL AND NATIONAL LITERACY INITIATIVES. THE SOCIETY’S MISSION IS “TO RECOGNIZE AND PROMOTE ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE IN ALL FIELDS OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TO ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY OF SCHOLARS IN SERVICE TO OTHERS.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI, PLEASE CALL 800/804-9880 OR VISIT HTTP://WWW.PHIKAPPAPHI.ORG.

###

2019 Gathright Outstanding Juniors Announced

The Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Junior Award was established in 1982 as a way for our chapter to recognize students who exemplify our motto, “let the love of learning rule humanity.”

The Thomas S. Gathright Scholar Award was established in April 1973 by The Association of Former Students in conjunction with Texas A&M’s Student Government Association. Named in honor of the first president of the A&M College of Texas, this award recognizes outstanding scholastic achievement on a university-wide scale. As of this spring, the two awards have been merged as a collaboration between The Association of Former Students, LAUNCH: Academic Excellence, and the Texas A&M chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.

At its April 14, 2019 induction ceremony, the Texas A&M Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi announced the Gathright Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Junior for each college.

Selection for the Phi Kappa Phi Gathright Outstanding Junior Award is based on an evaluation of research and/or creative production, community engagement, accomplishments/awards, and academic record, with the final selection criteria determined by the dean of each respective college.

In alphabetical order by college, the 2019 Outstanding Juniors are:

Name                                     College

Marina Conner                   College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Savannah Sinowitz           College of Architecture
Brody Coombes                  Mays Business School
Jason Zertuche                   College of Education and Human Development
Hannah Lehman               College of Engineering
Samantha Longridge       College of Geosciences
Olivia Osteen                       College of Liberal Arts
Claire Kovacevich              College of Nursing
Gabriella Hand                    School of Public Health
Jonathan Bywaters            College of Science
Demonata Coleman          College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Alexandra Yard                   Texas A&M at Galveston
Seif Elgazar                          Texas A&M at Qatar

Eighteen people stand in two rows, with those in the first row holding framed certficates.

The 2019 Gathright Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Juniors at the induction ceremony, with chapter officers and Porter Garner ’79

Please keep reading for short bio-sketches of each Outstanding Junior:

Two men and a woman present a certificate to a second woman

Marina Conner, 2019 Gathright Outstanding Junior for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Marina Conner is a junior entomology major from Rowlett, TX, who is also pursuing certificate programs in public health entomology and leadership study and development. Conner plays French horn in the Texas A&M Symphonic Band and the mellophone in the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, and has been recognized with several leadership roles and honors through her participation in the Corps of Cadets including serving as a squad leader, Alpha Company Scholastics Sergeant, and was selected for the General O.R. Simpson Corps Honor Society, President George H. W. Bush’s ceremonial funeral procession band, and First Lady Barbara Bush’s funeral procession Honor Guard. Conner is the Department of Entomology representative on the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council and a co-leader in the Campus Crusade for Christ Freshman Female Bible Study. Conner has pursued undergraduate research in Trinidad and Tobago, and is submitting her personal field study project on the Streak Gecko for publication. An aspiring veterinarian, Conner logged extensive shadowing and volunteer hours, and has previously been recognized by the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, the Texas A&M Pre-Vet Society, on the COALS Dean’s Honor Roll, and with the Buck Weirus Spirit Award.

Savannah Sinowitz, 2019 Gathright Outstanding Junior for the College of Architecture

Savannah Sinowitz is a junior environmental design major from Henderson, NV. Sinowitz serves as Vice President of Recruitment for Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, and helped earn Chapter of the Year honors from Texas A&M and AEPhi national during her 2018 Executive Board term. Sinowitz also serves on the Command Team for TAMU BUILD, and was Vice-President and Treasurer for Rita Crocker Clements Residence Hall Council in 2016-17. Sinowitz has completed three professional design internships and has previously been recognized with the AEPhi Outstanding Leadership Award in 2017, the Panhellenic Woman of the Year for Texas A&M in 2018, and the Sophomore Dean’s Excellence Award for the College of Architecture in 2018.

A woman and two men present a certificate to a third man.

Brody Coombes, 2019 Gathright Outstanding Junior for Mays Business School

Brody Coombes is a junior supply chain management major from Medina, TX. Coombes was a Fish Camp counselor in 2017, a member of Freshman Leaders Establishing eXcellence and Aggie Supply Chain Professionals, and organized the Relay for Life of Aggieland in 2017. Coombes has completed a professional internship and has been active in service through The Big Event, the Brazos Valley Food Bank, and two medical mission trips to Belize.

A woman and a man present a certificate to at second man.

Jason Zertuche, 2019 Gathright Outstanding Junior for the College of Education and Human Development

Jason Zertuche is a junior allied health major from San Antonio, TX. Zertuche serves as Vice-President of the College of Education and Human Development Undergraduate Student Council, and as an assistant in the Health and Kinesiology Academic Advising Office. Zertuche is an Aggie Research Scholar and co-author on a presentation at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in 2018. Zertuche has previously been recognized on the Dean’s List and with a Health Professions Excellence Award.

A man and a woman present a certificate to a second woman.

Hannah Lehman, 2019 Gathright Outstanding Junior for the College of Engineering

Hannah Lehman is a junior aerospace engineering major from Austin, TX with minors in computer science and mathematics. Lehman is University Scholar, highly engaged undergraduate researcher, and a dedicated member of the Vietnamese Student Association. Lehman works in Dr. Valasek’s Vehicle Systems & Control Laboratory and has co-authored three professional publications through her work there. Lehman has also completed three professional internships, worked as a TA for engineering courses, and is engaged STEM outreach to middle and high school students through the College of Engineering, her organizations, and on her own time. Lechman has previously been recognized as an Aggie Research Scholar, a Rockwell design award, second place in a student startup competition, and is on the Dean’s List.

A man and a woman present a certificate to a second woman.

Samantha Longridge, 2019 Gathright Outstanding Junior for the College of Geosciences

Samantha Longridge is a junior oceanography major from Houston, TX with a minor in mathematics. Longridge serves as treasurer of the TAMU Oceanography club, is a member of the TAMU SCUBA club, volunteers with the Department of Oceanography, and is a member of the University Honors Program. Longridge has numerous diving and coastal sailing certifications and she has taken part in three research cruises on the R/V Trident in Galveston Bay and tropical marine biology cruises in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the British Virgin Islands.

Two men and a woman present a certificate to a second woman.

Olivia Osteen, 2019 Gathright Outstanding Junior for the College of Liberal Arts

Olivia Osteen is a junior telecommunication studies major from Houston, TX with minors in film and art. Osteen has served as staff assistant for The Big Event, an ad hoc senator in the Texas A&M Student Senate, and was a member of Fish Aides her freshman year. Osteen also has extensive professional acting and communication experience including a current role as a content creator for a start-up app with over 170,000 users. Osteen is participating in undergraduate research with Dr. Srividya Ramasubramanian and also serves as a teaching assistant in the Department of Communication.

A man and a woman present a certificate to a second woman.

Claire Kovacevich, 2019 Gathright Outstanding Junior for the College of Nursing

Claire Kovacevich is a junior nursing major from Double Oak, TX. Kovacevich serves as as an SI Leader for pharmacology, President of the Student Nurses’ Association and is a Student Ambassador for the Texas A&M Health Science Center Opioid Task Force. She has volunteered extensively in Bryan/College Station and has served as Assistant Bid Day Chairman and Academic Excellence Chair for the TAMU chapter of Kappa Delta sorority, and as secretary for Order of the Omega. Kovecevich is self-employed as a personal care attendant, has extensive professional health care experience, and completed a nursing internship at the UT Medical Branch in Galveston. She plans to pursue a masters’ degree and become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Two men and a woman present a certificate to a second woman.

Gabriella Hand, 2019 Gathright Outstanding Junior for the School of Public Health

Gabriella Hand is a junior public health major from Meridian, ID. Hand serves as a Student Ambassador for The Association of Former Students and has been on the Traditions Council for two years, serving as the Outreach and Education Chair and a Silver Taps committee member. She is also an undergraduate program representative on the Student Experience Committee for the TAMU School of Public Health and has served as an ambassador for the School of Public Health through Broad Street Society. Hand is also an entrepreneur, running a custom online bakery called Gabbi’s Goodies. Had has previously been recognized as Member of the Year for Traditions Council, the Sophomore Gathright Award recipient for the School of Public Health, and on the Dean’s Honor Roll.

A woman and two men present a certficate to a third man.

Jonathan Bywaters, 2019 Gathright Outstanding Junior for the College of Science

Jonathan Bywaters is a junior biology major from Athens, TX. Bywaters has served as a Resident Advisor for Krueger Hall, is a member of the Texas A&M Pre-Medical Society, and has participated in The Big Event. Bywaters has previously been recognized with the Sophomore Gathright Award for the College of Science, the Timothy P. Scott ‘89 Endowed Lifelines Scholarship, and is on the Dean’s List.

Two women and a man present a certificate to a second man.

Demonta Coleman, 2019 Gathright Outstanding Junior for the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Demonta Coleman is a junior biomedical sciences major from Lufkin, TX with a minor in psychology. Coleman serves as a Community Leader in the FOCUS Learning Community in LAUNCH, as a peer tutor with the Academic Success Center, and as a participant in in Big Event for three years. In addition to extensive volunteer experience, Coleman has engaged in undergraduate research in the lab of Dr. Wenshe Liu, and is on the Dean’s Honor Roll.

Alexandra Yard, 2019 Gathright Outstanding Junior for Texas AM Galveston

Alexandra Yard is a junior marine biology major from Pleasanton, TX with a minor in chemistry. Yard currently serves as President of the Lambda Kappa Alpha Honors Program at Texas A&M – Galveston, student leader for the Coastal College Bible Study, and has had increasing leadership roles with the Sea Aggies Learning Traditions (SALT) Camp, culminating in her role as director this year. Yard has extensive volunteering experience and has engaged in undergraduate research with Dr. Antoinetta Quigg, presenting her research at the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium and the Texas A&M Galveston Student Research Symposium, at which she was recognized with a first place Marine Science, and third place Overall Undergraduate awards.

A woman and a man present a certificate to a second man.

Seif Elgazar, 2019 Gathright Outstanding Junior for Texas A&M at Qatar

Seif Elgazar is a junior electrical engineering major from Doha, Qatar. Elgazar serves as Student Body Class Representative, Aggie Orientation Leader, and is a member of the Eta Kappa Nu honor society. He was Electrical Team Leader for the AIChE Chem-E Car Team which won third place at the AIChE 2017 competition in Barcelona. Elgazar has completed a professional internship and has undertaken undergraduate research with Dr. Hussein Alnuweiri.

MORE ABOUT THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI
FOUNDED IN 1897 AND HEADQUARTERED IN BATON ROUGE, LA., THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI IS THE NATION’S OLDEST AND MOST SELECTIVE COLLEGIATE HONOR SOCIETY FOR ALL ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES AND ANNUALLY INDUCTS APPROXIMATELY 32,000 STUDENTS, FACULTY, PROFESSIONAL STAFF AND ALUMNI. THE SOCIETY HAS CHAPTERS ON MORE THAN 300 SELECT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN NORTH AMERICA AND THE PHILIPPINES. MEMBERSHIP IS BY INVITATION ONLY TO THE TOP 10 PERCENT OF SENIORS AND GRADUATE STUDENTS AND 7.5 PERCENT OF JUNIORS. FACULTY, PROFESSIONAL STAFF AND ALUMNI WHO HAVE ACHIEVED SCHOLARLY DISTINCTION ALSO QUALIFY.

SINCE ITS FOUNDING, MORE THAN 1 MILLION MEMBERS HAVE BEEN INITIATED. SOME OF THE ORGANIZATION’S MORE NOTABLE MEMBERS INCLUDE FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT M. GATES, NASA ASTRONAUT WENDY LAWRENCE, AUTHOR ERNEST GAINES AND BROADCAST JOURNALIST DEBORAH NORVILLE. NEARLY $1 MILLION IS AWARDED EACH BIENNIUM TO QUALIFYING STUDENTS AND MEMBERS THROUGH GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS, UNDERGRADUATE STUDY ABROAD SCHOLARSHIPS, MEMBER AND CHAPTER AWARDS AND GRANTS FOR LOCAL AND NATIONAL LITERACY INITIATIVES. THE SOCIETY’S MISSION IS “TO RECOGNIZE AND PROMOTE ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE IN ALL FIELDS OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TO ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY OF SCHOLARS IN SERVICE TO OTHERS.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI, PLEASE CALL 800/804-9880 OR VISIT HTTP://WWW.PHIKAPPAPHI.ORG.

###

Anthropology Doctoral Student Selected for 2018 Dissertation Fellowship

Morgan Smith, a Ph.D. student in the Center for Study of the First Americans in the Department of Anthropology, has been awarded a 2018 Dissertation Fellowship from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. This award supports doctoral candidates who are in the dissertation writing stage of their doctoral study. Ten Dissertation Fellowships of $10,000 each are awarded annually.

Morgan Smith, 2018 ΦΚΦ Dissertation Fellow, holds a Suwannee style projectile point found at an Ice Age underwater archaeological site in Florida.

Smith provided some feedback on the value of his membership and advice for others interested in applying for the ΦΚΦ dissertation fellowship. 

1.       How did you get involved with Phi Kappa Phi? What prompted you to join?

I joined Phi Kappa Phi in 2012. My dad, a member of Phi Beta Kappa,advised me to join when I received the invitation in my third and final year at the University of West Florida.  I was unaware of the effect it would have on my life as a young professional. With hindsight, that was great advice and joining Phi Kappa Phi has had a strong positive impact on both my undergraduate and graduate career.

2.       Briefly describe the significance of your dissertation research that will be funded by this award.

I am researching how prehistoric human groups adapted to rapid climate change in the Southeast United States at the end of the last Ice Age. During this period, paleoenvironmental data show that sea-level rose quickly, the climate warmed considerably, and plant and animal communities changed drastically. My analysis of archaeological sites in Florida dating to the last Ice Age is designed to provide a framework for understanding how prehistoric people responded to this changing landscape regarding technological adaptations and land-use strategies.

3.       What advice would you give to future applicants?

Receiving an honor society membership from Phi Kappa Phi is a great achievement at the start of your career. As you move forward, don’t be afraid to lean on the resources and benefits of being a member to expand your learning even further. Funding for graduate research and professional development has helped me tremendously, and the application process is helpful in sharpening technical writing skills. If you can demonstrate that you are committed to furthering your discipline, in my experience, Phi Kappa Phi is always happy to assist. Plus, the Phi Kappa Phi publications are always informative and full of inspiring people and impressive research that keeps you motivated!

To learn more about the Phi Kappa Phi Dissertation Fellowship, as well as other awards available to members, please visit https://www.phikappaphi.org/grants-awards.

MORE ABOUT THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI
FOUNDED IN 1897 AND HEADQUARTERED IN BATON ROUGE, LA., THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI IS THE NATION’S OLDEST AND MOST SELECTIVE COLLEGIATE HONOR SOCIETY FOR ALL ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES AND ANNUALLY INDUCTS APPROXIMATELY 32,000 STUDENTS, FACULTY, PROFESSIONAL STAFF AND ALUMNI. THE SOCIETY HAS CHAPTERS ON MORE THAN 300 SELECT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN NORTH AMERICA AND THE PHILIPPINES. MEMBERSHIP IS BY INVITATION ONLY TO THE TOP 10 PERCENT OF SENIORS AND GRADUATE STUDENTS AND 7.5 PERCENT OF JUNIORS. FACULTY, PROFESSIONAL STAFF AND ALUMNI WHO HAVE ACHIEVED SCHOLARLY DISTINCTION ALSO QUALIFY.

SINCE ITS FOUNDING, MORE THAN 1 MILLION MEMBERS HAVE BEEN INITIATED. SOME OF THE ORGANIZATION’S MORE NOTABLE MEMBERS INCLUDE FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT M. GATES, NASA ASTRONAUT WENDY LAWRENCE, AUTHOR ERNEST GAINES AND BROADCAST JOURNALIST DEBORAH NORVILLE. NEARLY $1 MILLION IS AWARDED EACH BIENNIUM TO QUALIFYING STUDENTS AND MEMBERS THROUGH GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS, UNDERGRADUATE STUDY ABROAD SCHOLARSHIPS, MEMBER AND CHAPTER AWARDS AND GRANTS FOR LOCAL AND NATIONAL LITERACY INITIATIVES. THE SOCIETY’S MISSION IS “TO RECOGNIZE AND PROMOTE ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE IN ALL FIELDS OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TO ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY OF SCHOLARS IN SERVICE TO OTHERS.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI, PLEASE CALL 800/804-9880 OR VISIT HTTP://WWW.PHIKAPPAPHI.ORG.

###

2018 Outstanding Juniors Announced

On April 15, 2018, The Texas A&M Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi will host its annual induction ceremony in Rudder Theatre, inducting a new cohort of members into our prestigious organization and growing the community of people committed to “letting the love of learning rule humanity.”

The induction ceremony is also our opportunity to recognize the superior accomplishments of a few of this already excellent group. Each year, our campus chapter invites deans to select the most outstanding junior in their respective colleges. The students selected are honored as the Outstanding Junior for their college and are invited to serve as student vice-presidents of our local chapter.

In alphabetical order by college, the 2018 Outstanding Juniors are:

Name                                     College

Karissa Yamaguchi                College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Nicholas Houser                     College of Architecture
Ryan Zepeda                          Mays Business School
Rachel Koerner                      College of Education and Human Development
William Newman                  College of Engineering
Jacob Escobedo                     College of Geosciences
Nathan Howard                    College of Liberal Arts
Tristan Pace                           College of Science
Menaka Tandon                    College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Karthik Ramaswamy             Texas A&M at Galveston
Syeda Akhter                         Texas A&M at Qatar

Please keep reading for short bio-sketches of each Outstanding Junior:

Karissa Yamaguchi – 2018 Outstanding Junior for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Karissa Yamaguchi is a genetics major with a minor in public health from Phoenix, AZ. She was recruited to Texas A&M to continue to pursue competitive Archery for the Texas A&M Archery Team. An Honors Student, Yamaguchi also enjoys mentoring students as an Undergraduate Research Ambassador, promoting research as a member of the Academy of Undergraduate Researchers Across Texas, serving her peers as a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Council Department Representative and serving underserved and impoverished areas through Global Medical Missions Alliance and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Maroon & White leadership Fellows has been instrumental in her development as a servant leader and initiator of new student organizations. Her interests are in Public/Global Health, cultural exchange, missions and justice. In school, she hopes to encourage and build up future leaders conscientious of their local and global communities and their role in using their privileges in advocacy on behalf of other groups. After Texas A&M she hopes to continue serving underserved communities through her role as a physician, going beyond typical healthcare management and addressing systemic needs in the communities she serves.

Nicholas Houser – 2018 Outstanding Junior for the College of Architecture

Nicholas Houser is an environmental design major with a minor in architectural fabrication and product design from Round Rock, TX. He has pursued broad interests throughout his life including  Boy Scouts (in which he attained the rank of Eagle Scout), Dance, Marching band, STEM,  as well as two- and three-dimensional media. Houser has been able to work for some of the top Contemporary Architects Including Kivi Sotamaa in Helsinki, Finland, and Mark Foster Gage, in New York City. He is the Design Lead for Freedom By Design, a community service program of the American Institute of Architecture Students. Houser Has plans earn his master’s in architecture at Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), or The Bartlett after graduation.

Ryan Zepeda – 2018 Outstanding Junior for Mays Business School

Ryan Zepeda is a Business Honors and finance double major with minors in economics and sociology from Cypress, TX. Throughout his time at A&M, Zepeda has been broadly involved, including being a member of Mays Business Fellows Group XXXV, working in the Business Honors department as the Academics Coordinator, teaching a course titled Middle Ground, representing A&M in a case competition in Norway, and writing grants worth $100,000 to local nonprofits in the Strategic Philanthropy initiative. He also spent the summer of 2017 studying abroad in South Africa, learning about entrepreneurship and consulting for small businesses in historically disadvantaged communities. This upcoming summer Zepeda will be interning for Bain & Company Consulting in Houston, Texas. In addition to his academic pursuits, he enjoys watching and playing sports, trying new foods, and reading. He is a second generation Aggie who bleeds maroon and deeply believes in the traditions and core values of Texas A&M.

Rachel Koerner – 2018 Outstanding Junior for the College of Education and Human Development

Rachel Koerner is majoring in kinesiology with a focus on dance science supplemented with a business minor. She is from Houston, TX, where she attended Clear Brook High School. In her time at Texas A&M Koerner has been involved in MSC Hospitality, MSC OPAS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, Delta Eta Pi Honor Society, and Dance Arts Society. Koerner is actively involved in the TAMU Dance Program, through which she has had opportunities to work closely with guest artists, participate in undergraduate research, and attend conferences across the nation. In fall 2017 she worked as an intern at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, and in summer 2018 she will be interning with the American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina. She is very grateful for the support and education she has received from the faculty within the College of Education and Human Development, and gives special thanks to that faculty within the Dance Program.

Bill Newman – 2018 Outstanding Junior for the College of Engineering

Bill Newman is a computer engineering major with minors in mathematics and cybersecurity from Murphy, TX. He is also pursuing a certificate in engineering leadership. Newman is the incoming Treasurer for Century Men’s Society and is a member of the Zachry Leadership Program, expanding his views on leadership in a global society. He will be interning with Deloitte Consulting this summer and is excited to apply his engineering background to a business role. In his free time, Newman enjoys playing racquetball, trying new restaurants, and spending time with friends.

Jacob Escobedo is a meteorology major from Austin, TX. He is a member of the Texas A&M Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, plays trumpet in the Hullaballoo Band, and serves as President of the Texas A&M Tennis Club. Escobedo has been involved with undergraduate research in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and received the Albert R. Ochoa Scholarship from the Austin Community Foundation and the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He is also certified in SKYWARN basic and advanced storm spotting for the National Weather Service. Escobedo volunteers as a youth tennis coach and practice partner for Texas A&M Women’s tennis, and hopes to become a high school teacher.

Nathan Howard – 2018 Outstanding Junior for the College of Liberal Arts

Nathan Howard is an economics major and philosophy and business double minor from Austin, TX. Coming from a small school (his graduating class had 22 students), he described coming to Texas A&M as something of a culture shock, but has been softened by his experience in the Liberal Arts Cornerstone Honors program. He is a volunteer team leader with Breakaway, and hosts English conversation practice for international students. In his spare time, Howard spends time with friends or reads historical non-fiction, historical fiction, or Christian theology. His career plans include pursuing a master’s degree in finance, “hoping one day to serve others and glorify God through helping others steward their resources well.”

Tristan Pace – 2018 Outstanding Junior for the College of Science

Tristan Pace is pursuing a combined bachelor’s and master’s program in mathematics through the FastTrack program, as well as a minor in Physics. A native of San Antonio, TX describes having loved Math for as long as he can remember. He is part of the Honors in Mathematics program, and in his free time volunteers with the Baptist Student Ministry’s Children’s Ministry called “Sowers” in Bryan, Texas.

Menaka Tandon – 2018 Outstanding Junior for the College of Veterinary Medicine Biomedical Sciences

Menaka Tandon is a biomedical sciences major from San Ramon, CA. After extensive shadowing, she has decided to attend dental school to pursue a career as an oral maxillofacial surgeon. Eventually she hopes to join and become active in an organization like Dentists Without Borders to volunteer her time and skills to improve dental health internationally. She has previously conducted research in the Olgin Lab (part of the UCSF Division of Cardiology), investigating both the effect of a protein in mouse growth and the effect of alcohol on mouse atrium size. At Texas A&M, she joined the Wooley Research Group where she conducts research on the effectiveness of nanocarriers in treatment of lung metastases of osteosarcoma. She is also working on a project involving the use of a triblock brush polymer for imaging and therapy of metastatic colorectal cancer. Tandon is very passionate about integrating the principles of research into her future dental practice so that she can constantly improve herself and offer patients the best procedures and care possible. She loves to keep herself busy by regularly volunteering at her local senior center, taking part in a UCSF annual program providing yearly cardiac physicals to underprivileged high school athletes and staying physically active by running or dancing. She has even had the opportunity to compete and represent Texas A&M nationally in Garba & Raas Indian Dance as a part of Texas A&M’s Wreckin’ Raas.

Karthik Ramaswamy – 2018 Outstanding Junior for Texas AM at Galveston

Karthik Ramaswamy is a marine biology major with a double minor in chemistry and diving technology and methods from North Wales, PA. He has conducted research with Dr. Thomas Linton in the S.E.A.S. lab on the movements of Sargassum throughout the Gulf of Mexico using satellite images, under Dr. Yu Shin Kim in University of Texas Medical Branch on pain receptors in mice models, and is currently working with Dr. Randall Davis on leatherback sea turtle nesting ecology. He has presented multiple abstracts on these research projects and others on various topics resulting in the Sammy Ray Marine Science Award at the 120th Texas Academy of Science Research Symposium and first place presentation in the Chemistry section at the TAMU at Galveston Research Symposium. Ramaswamy is active on campus, volunteering extensively and serves as the president and founder of the “Orcastra,” the TAMUG orchestra club `and the TAMUG Symphony, the treasurer of the Pre-Allied Health Society, Junior President in the Lambda Kappa Alpha Honors society, Student Ambassador for TAMU at Galveston. Ramaswamy has been named to the Dean’s Honor Roll, speaks three languages, plays four instruments, and holds down three jobs.

Syeda Akhter – 2018 Outstanding Junior for Texas AM at Qatar

Syeda Manahil Akhter is a mechanical engineering student. She moved to Qatar over twelve years ago from Karachi, Pakistan. Syeda holds several leadership positions: she is the event coordinator in both the Society of Women Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers, she serves as an officer in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and as the Philanthropy chair in Student Engineering Council, in which role she was responsible for organizing an event for camp workers. Akhter has a passion for exploring new things, places, and cuisines. She plays several sports such as volleyball, rounders, and badminton, and lives by the motto, “The question isn’t who’s going to let me, it’s who’s gonna stop me.” After graduation, Akhter plans to pursue graduate study.

MORE ABOUT THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI
FOUNDED IN 1897 AND HEADQUARTERED IN BATON ROUGE, LA., THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI IS THE NATION’S OLDEST AND MOST SELECTIVE COLLEGIATE HONOR SOCIETY FOR ALL ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES AND ANNUALLY INDUCTS APPROXIMATELY 32,000 STUDENTS, FACULTY, PROFESSIONAL STAFF AND ALUMNI. THE SOCIETY HAS CHAPTERS ON MORE THAN 300 SELECT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN NORTH AMERICA AND THE PHILIPPINES. MEMBERSHIP IS BY INVITATION ONLY TO THE TOP 10 PERCENT OF SENIORS AND GRADUATE STUDENTS AND 7.5 PERCENT OF JUNIORS. FACULTY, PROFESSIONAL STAFF AND ALUMNI WHO HAVE ACHIEVED SCHOLARLY DISTINCTION ALSO QUALIFY.

SINCE ITS FOUNDING, MORE THAN 1 MILLION MEMBERS HAVE BEEN INITIATED. SOME OF THE ORGANIZATION’S MORE NOTABLE MEMBERS INCLUDE FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT M. GATES, NASA ASTRONAUT WENDY LAWRENCE, AUTHOR ERNEST GAINES AND BROADCAST JOURNALIST DEBORAH NORVILLE. NEARLY $1 MILLION IS AWARDED EACH BIENNIUM TO QUALIFYING STUDENTS AND MEMBERS THROUGH GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS, UNDERGRADUATE STUDY ABROAD SCHOLARSHIPS, MEMBER AND CHAPTER AWARDS AND GRANTS FOR LOCAL AND NATIONAL LITERACY INITIATIVES. THE SOCIETY’S MISSION IS “TO RECOGNIZE AND PROMOTE ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE IN ALL FIELDS OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TO ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY OF SCHOLARS IN SERVICE TO OTHERS.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE HONOR SOCIETY OF PHI KAPPA PHI, PLEASE CALL 800/804-9880 OR VISIT HTTP://WWW.PHIKAPPAPHI.ORG.

###