2019 Gathright/Dean’s Excellence Award Winners

Chapter 053 of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is proud to announce the 2019 cohort of freshman and sophomore Gathright and Dean’s Excellence Award winners!

Portrait of President Thomas S. Gathright provided courtesy of Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M University

To see the list of 2019 Gathright Outstanding Juniors, announced last spring, visit 2019 Gathright Outstanding Juniors Announced

These awards were created in collaboration with LAUNCH: Academic Excellence to help recognize and celebrate outstanding first- and second-year students whose exceptional promise makes them good candidates for future awards. Starting in 2019, the Dean’s Excellence Award process was merged with the Gathright Scholars award.

Up to two students in each classification in each college can be selected for recognition; the top student is recognized with the Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award and the second with the Dean’s Excellence Award. Up to two additional students in each classification in each college can selected for honorable mention. Students selected for recognition are invited to visit with Phi Kappa Phi officers as well as their college dean at a special breakfast each fall.

The students being recognized with the 2019 Dean’s Excellence Award are:

College of Agriculture and Life Science

  •  Cody McQueen – Freshman Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Mallory Moorefield – Freshman Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Katharine Tyson – Sophomore Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Evan Berger – Sophomore Dean’s Excellence Award

College of Architecture

  • Abigail Steudtner – Freshman Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award

College of Education and Human Development

  • Mary McQuade – Freshman Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Haley Olsovsky – Freshman Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Samantha Gonzales – Sophomore Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Jennifer Porter – Sophomore Dean’s Excellence Award

College of Engineering

  • Meghan Truong – Freshman Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Furkan Toprak – Freshman Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Qiji Lian – Sophomore Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Brady Allen – Sophomore Dean’s Excellence Award

College of Geosciences

  • Paige Wirth – Freshman Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Andrew Vita – Freshman Dean’s Excellence Award

College of Liberal Arts

  • Emily Mann – Freshman Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Paige Stevenson – Freshman Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Sheridan Steen – Sophomore Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Madison Poe – Sophomore Dean’s Excellence Award

Mays Business School

  • Sunjay Letchuman – Freshman Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Sarah Sriram – Freshman Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Elena Bacon – Sophomore Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Rachel Bayless – Sophomore Dean’s Excellence Award

College of Science

  • Ryan Rahman – Freshman Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Jacob Kuempel – Freshman Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Rachel Porter – Sophomore Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Bridger Freeman – Sophomore Dean’s Excellence Award

College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

  • Mariana Cantu – Freshman Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Brittany Landavazo – Freshman Dean’s Excellence Award
  • Joshua Korb – Sophomore Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award

The following students achieved Honorable Mention:

College of Agriculture and Life Science

  •  Emalee Hoffman – Sophomore Honorable Mention

College of Education and Human Development

  • Katherine Everhard – Freshman Honorable Mention

College of Engineering

  • Noble Gutierrez – Freshman Honorable Mention
  • John Blausen – Sophomore Honorable Mention
  • Ian Xia – Sophomore Honorable Mention

College of Liberal Arts

  • Joshua Carley – Freshman Honorable Mention
  • Sophia North – Freshman Honorable Mention
  • Lucas Mendoza – Sophomore Honorable Mention
  • Antonio Partida – Sophomore Honorable Mention

Mays Business School

  • John Tucker – Sophomore Honorable Mention

College of Science

  • William Chisholm – Freshman Honorable Mention
  • Bryce Olinger – Sophomore Honorable Mention
  • Yahui Xie – Sophomore Honorable Mention

College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

  •  Charles Lee – Freshman Honorable Mention
  • Jacob Menchaca – Freshman Honorable Mention

The application process includes a personal statement which outlines the student’s long-term goals, evidence of research and/or creative production, community engagement, accomplishments and awards, as well as a review of the student’s transcript.

Complete details for the application process can be found at http://tx.ag/DeansExcellenceAwards.

Support for the Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award and many other LAUNCH programs that enrich the undergraduate experience are generously supported by The Association of Former Students.

Proudly supported by The Association of Former Students

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
Demonta 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.

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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.

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