2017 Outstanding Juniors Announced, 278 Inducted

April 12, 2017

On April 9, 2017, the Texas A&M Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi hosted its annual induction ceremony in Rudder Theatre, inducting 278 new members into our prestigious organization and the perspective of “let[ting] the love of learning rule humanity.” Dr. Nancy Dickey, physician and professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, gave the keynote address, making the point to the newly inducted members that “curiosity nurtured, captured, and directed results in a love of learning.” Dr. Dickey is a past president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and of the American Medical Association, and the first woman to hold either of these positions.

Dr. Nancy Dickey

The induction ceremony is also our opportunity to recognize the superior accomplishments of a few of this already excellent group. Each year, the 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 2017 Outstanding Juniors are:

Name                                 College
Kolby Broussard                College of Architecture
Kasey Heath                      College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Hannah Smith                   College of Education and Human Development
Chinmaz Nadiri                 College of Geosciences
Loraine Maxwell               College of Liberal Arts
Lindsey Ray                       College of Science
Sarah Speights                  College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Kendall Ezel                      College of Engineering
Rachel Keathley                Mays Business School
Samuel Rieta                     Texas A&M at Galveston
Shaika Al-Qahtani            Texas A&M at Qatar

2017 Outstanding Juniors
Top row: (left to right) Kasey Heath, Sarah Speights, Samuel Rieta, Hannah Smith, Rachel Keathley
Bottom Row: Shaika Al-Qahtani, Kendal Ezell, Kolby Broussard,, Loraine Maxwell, Lindsey Ray
Not Pictured: Chimnaz Nadiri


Each college Outstanding Junior is invited to interview with the TAMU Phi Kappa Phi Executive Committee and a University Outstanding Junior is selected based on academic merit, research and/or creative production, community engagement, and the student’s record of accomplishments & awards. The University Outstanding Junior is announced at the annual induction ceremony held each spring. Please keep reading for short bio-sketches of each Outstanding Junior:

Kolby Broussard is a construction science major with minors in business and leadership in the design and construction professions. Broussard has worked as a student assistant in the Offices of the Dean of Student Life and as an intern for Alexander Hunt Distinct Homes. He is a member of the National Association of Home Builders – Student Chapter and the Texas A&M Dove Hunters Association. Broussard has previously been recognized with a Gathright Award.

Kasey Heath is an agricultural communications and journalism major with minors in agronomy and horticulture. Heath has worked for the Aggieland Prospective Student Center and as a sales intern for AgriGold, and last summer was a participant in the Namibia Photojournalism and Cultural Pluralism in Agriculture study abroad program. He served as Vice-President of Public Relations for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (C.O.A.L.S.) Student Council and as an Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication Department Peer Advisor. Heath has previously been recognized as College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Study Abroad Photo Contest Grand Champion and with the Outstanding Student Award from the department of Agricultural Communications and Journalism.

Hannah Smith is an interdisciplinary studies major from Montgomery, TX. Smith has been active both in campus organizations such as International Student Mentor Association, Association for Childhood Education, and Aggie School Volunteers, as well as working for employers such as Texas A&M Rec Center and Walt Disney World. She also created and managed a small catering and specialty baking company.

Chimnaz Nadiri is a geophysics major with minors in geology and mathematics. She currently works as a research assistant at the International Ocean Discovery Program. Her project involves paleo-environmental reconstruction of late-Pleistocene bottom water conditions in the Maldives, central Indian Ocean based on ostracods and their paleooceanographic significance. Nadiri has presented her research at the American Geophysical Union meeting. She is fluent in Azerbaijani, Russian, Turkish, and English. Nadiri serves as Treasurer for the Azerbaijani Student Association and as in the Geosciences Tutor program, providing assistance to peers in math, physics, and mineralogy, and has previously been recognized with a Gathright Award.

Loraine Maxwell is an economics major in an accelerated dual degree program, also completing requirements for a Master’s of Public Service and Administration with a concentration in public policy analysis and state & local government. Maxwell has experience working as an intern with Katherine Overbeck Maxwell CPA, PLLC and as a graduate assistant for the Texas Transportation Institute. She has worked with local nonprofits through the Bush Board Fellows Program, served as Public Relations Chair for the Association of Cornerstone Students, and is an active member of the Liberal Arts Student Council. Maxwell has also studied Abroad at the Texas A&M Santa Chiara Study Center in Castiglioni Fiorentino, Italy.

Lindsey Ray is a mathematics major with a minor in applied learning – science, technology, engineering, and math. Ray has worked as a salesperson for Barnes & Noble, as a business math tutor, and as a counselor for Girlstart and Camp Kids-R-Awesome. She serves as Treasurer for AggieTEACH, and has volunteered through Phi ETA Sigma.

Sarah Speights is a biomedical sciences major. She has conducted undergraduate research in Dr. Robert Watson’s Microbial Pathogenesis & Immunology lab, as well as completed extensive volunteering and shadowing at St. Joseph Regional Health Center and Methodist Hospital – San Antonio. Speights has also worked as an intern at The Fertility Center of San Antonio and facilitated a three-day medical clinic as part of the Nicaragua Medical Brigade. Speights has built extensive leadership experience through her roles as President and Service Executive Chair of Ryllies Women’s Organization, Fundraising Director of the Global Medical Brigade, Fish Camp Counselor, and as a mentor in Freshman Leaders Advancing in Service and Honor (FLASH). She has completed week-long mission trips to Haiti in 2013, 2014, and 2016, and has also been involved on campus as an Aggie Muster host, Conference on Student Government Association host, and as a participant in flag football intramurals.

Kendal Ezell is a biomedical engineering major with a minor in neuroscience. Ezell has conducted research Dr. Mark Packard in Institute of Neuroscience on the relationship between emotions and learning-memory, with Dr. Jeremy Wasser in the Germany Biosciences Study Abroad Program on biotech device design, and with Dr. Duncan Maitland in the Biomedical Device Lab on shape memory polymers. Her extensive research has produced three publication, one of which she is first author, and numerous abstract presentations. Ezell is an Undergraduate Research Scholar, completing a thesis with Dr. Maitland on shape memory polymer foams for clinical treatment of brain aneurysms. She is incredibly active in campus organizations such as Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, Student Engineers’ Council, and Biomedical Engineering Student Ambassadors. Ezell is a member of both the Engineering Honors program and the University Honors Program. Among her long list of awards and recognition, Ezell has received Honorable Mention in the Goldwater Scholarship competition, and has been nominated for an Astronaut Scholarship Award.

Rachel Keathley is a business honors and management double-major with minors in Spanish and economics. Keathley has extensive international experience, having completed Study Abroad experiences in Italy, Costa Rica, Panama, South Africa & Swaziland, and Nicaragua. She has built significant professional experience as an Event Coordinator for the Mays Business Honors Program and as an intern for U.S. Congressman Bill Flores (TX-17). Keathley has also been highly involved on campus, taking on progressively more responsibility within Student Government Association, Philadelphia Sisters, Memorial Student Center (MSC) Wiley Lecture Series and MSC Freshman Leadership International. Keathley has previously been recognized with a Gathright Award.

Samuel Rieta is a maritime studies major and a member of the TAMU Galveston Honors Program. He has extensive volunteer experience working on the Tall Ship Elissa at the Texas Seaport Museum. He has established leadership skills in his work as a senior lifeguard and Assistant Manager at the Blue Water Swim School and as a Peer Educator at the Counseling and Career Services office at TAMU Galveston. Rieta served as a Sophomore Class Representative and continues to be an active member in Lambda Kappa Alpha Honor Society.

Shaikha Al-Qahtani is an electrical engineering major. Al-Qahtani is fluent in Arabic and English, and is building proficiency in Korean and Japanese. She has conducted undergraduate research on the importance of measuring density and medications that offer protection from harmful gas emissions, as well as worked on concrete structures as part of the Al-Bariq program with Qatar University. Al-Qahtani worked as a summer intern with RasGas, winning recognition as Summer Intern Star. Al-Qahtani is active in the Voice of Qataris organization, serves as President for Women in Egineering – IEEE, and has organized events such as the “Bright Thoughts” book fair event for Al-Khor Independent Secondary School for Girls and a summer art workshop for girls through the Al-Khor Cultural Center. She is also an accomplished artist and author, earning multiple recognitions for the National Day art event. Al-Qahtani produced illustrations for the book “A Sky Without Stars,” and published a childrens’ book, “Exploring Engineering,” through TAMU Qatar which is now used in schools throughout the country. Among her long list of accolades, Al-Qahtani earned a place on the Dean’s Honor Roll in 2016 and has been selected to Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu.

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.

###
Advertisements

2015 Outstanding Juniors Announced

Each year, the Texas A&M chapter of Phi Kappa Phi 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 2015 Outstanding Juniors are:

Name                             College
Taylor Hermann          College of Architecture
Kallie Fuchs                  College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Emma Epps                  College of Education and Human Development
Collin Kohlmeyer       College of Geosciences
Kaitlyn Kellermeyer  College of Liberal Arts
Eleni Mijalis                 College of Science
Andy Habib                   College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Austin Hahn                 Dwight Look College of Engineering
Julia Deleeuw               Mays Business School
Amanda Sterne           Texas A&M at Galveston
Salwan Abou Salem   Texas A&M at Qatar

Each college Outstanding Junior is invited to interview with the TAMU Phi Kappa Phi Executive Committee and a University Outstanding Junior is selected based on academic merit, research and/or creative production, community engagement, and the student’s record of accomplishments & awards. The University Outstanding Junior is announced at the annual induction ceremony held each spring. Please keep reading for short bio-sketches of each Outstanding Junior:

A smiling female student with dark hair and blonde highlights. Student has her arms folded in front of her and is leaning against a white pillar, with a row of pillars in the background.

Taylor Herrmann ’16, 2015 College of Architecture Outstanding Junior

Taylor Herrmann is majoring in landscape architecture with a minor in urban planning. She is previously a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. In addition to the demanding coursework in architecture, Herrmann works in the summer. She is particularly proud of the skills learned for studio projects that enhance and allow her to express herself creatively. Among these are a laser printer and woodshop certification, model building and drafting. Herrmann has been honored with the Gathright Scholar Award.

Kallie Fuchs '16, A smiling female student with long brown hair, wearing a red blazer over a black shirt rests with her arms folded on a concrete hand-rail with an ornate building in the background.

Kallie Fuchs ’16, 2015 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Junior

 

Kallie Fuchs is majoring in nutritional sciences with a minor in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and plans to attend medical school. Fuchs is highly involved on-campus and off; her activities include employment, volunteering, and student organizations related to her college, career interests, and student leadership. Fuchs has served in several capacities on the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council, where she currently holds the position of President. Her outstanding work in and out of the classroom has garnered numerous honors, among them the President’s Endowed Scholarship, Buck Weirus Spirit Award, and Gathright Scholar Award.

 

Emma Epps is majoring in Allied Health in preparation for a career in nursing. Epps is an active volunteer and is widely involved in campus activities such as Muster and Fish Camp. She serves on the Academics Committee for Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, and has been honored as a Gathright Scholar.

A smiling male student with very short brown hair, wearing a dark jacket over a grey and black plaid sweater against a white background.

Collin Kohlmeyer, 2015 College of Geosciences Outstanding Junior

Geography major Collin Kohlmeyer has been heavily involved in undergraduate research while at Texas A&M. He has worked with Dr. Cairns and Dr. Naito researching shrub patterns in Alaska, and with Dr. Guneralp studying land usage around the Refugio River in Texas. Kohlmeyer has also served as a Supplemental Instructor (SI) Leader for Planet Earth (GEOG 203)  and History of Texas (HIST 226).

 

Kaitlyn Kellermeyer, 2015 College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Junior

Kaitlyn Kellermeyer, 2015 College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Junior

Kaitlyn Kellermeyer is majoring in international studies with a focus on international politics and diplomacy. A member of the College of Liberal Arts Cornerstone Honors program, Kellermeyer serves as a student mentor and chair of the Award Nomination Committee for the Association of Cornerstone Students. Kellermeyer is completely blind, and is spearheading an initiative to improve the physical accessibility of college campuses in Texas. She serves as a council member on Student Advisory Board for Texas A&M Disability Services and on the Aggie Honor Council, and as the volunteer coordinator and publicity outreach coordinator for the Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living’s “Dining in the Dark” program. Kellermeyer was recognized by the Texas Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired as the 2013 TXAER Outstanding Student.

 

Black and white photo of a smiling female student's head and shoulders, lying prone in the grass giving a thumbs-up. Student has shoulder-length dark hair, is wearing a light-colored sleeveless dress and a pearl necklace.

Eleni Mijalis ’16, 2015 College of Science Outstanding Junior

Eleni Mijalis is a biology major minoring in computer science. Mijalis, a member of the University Honors Program, is also co-founder and treasurer for TAMUHack, an organization that hosts and competes in hackathons, events that challenge participants to use technology in innovative ways to address problems. Mijalis has been involved in diabetes research with Dr. Kevil at the LSH Health Science Center in Shreveport, Louisiana since before she started at Texas A&M and has published research in Diabetologia. At Texas A&M, she has worked in the Brain Networks Laboratory under Dr. Choe. Mijalis’ has been honored with the President’s Endowed Scholarship and is on the Dean’s List.

A smiling make student with curly dark hair wearing a pink button-up shirt in front of a blurry outdoor background.

Andy Habib ’16, 2015 College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science Outstanding Junior

 

Andy Habib is a biomedical sciences major planning to go to medical school. Habib works in a local clinic and has volunteered abroad in Haiti as part of Live Beyond. He serves in the TAMU Student Senate as a senator for the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, as well as Executive Officer for the National Aggie Scholar Ambassador student organization, and previously as a staff assistant for The Big Event, among his many involvements. This summer, he will be part of the DeBakey Summer Surgery Program at Baylor. A well-rounded scholar has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and speaks fluent Arabic. He has been honored as a President’s Endowed Scholar and is on the Dean’s List.

A smiling male student with light brown hair and facial hair stubble wearing a button-up shirt with vertical blue and white stripes, in front of a wooden wall showing signs from the Startup Aggieland business accelerator.

Austin Hahn ’16, 2015 Dwight Look College of Engineering Outstanding Junior

 

Petroleum engineering major Austin Hahn is also an entrepreneur. He developed a training tool, TackleTape, through the Startup Aggieland business accelerator, which helps reduce tackle-related injuries for youth football players. Hahn is active in the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the American Association of Drilling Engineers, and enjoys playing piano in his spare time. His favorite song to play is Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” reflecting his twelve years of classical training. He is on the Dean’s List, and is the recipient of the Chevron International Reach, Houston-American Petroleum Institute, and Statoil Merit scholarships.

Female student with blond hair in a sleeveless maroon dress gives a thumbs-up in front of a giant replica of the Aggie Ring with Kyle Field in the background

Julia Deleeuw ’16, 2015 Mays Business School Outstanding Junior

 

Julia Deleeuw is majoring in marketing and is a member of the University Honors Program. In addition to working, Deleeuw is active in several business career-related organizations and in volunteering with community organizations. Deleeuw will complete her undergraduate degree early this August and being a master’s program in marketing this fall. She has been honored with a President’s Endowed Scholarship, and was a finalist in the 2013 Ideas Challenge Competition.

Amanda Sterne, 2015 Texas A&M - Galveston Outstanding Junior

Amanda Sterne, 2015 Texas A&M – Galveston Outstanding Junior

 

Amanda Sterne is a marine sciences major minoring in chemistry. Sterne was born and raised in Canada, where she trained in her hometown of Kelowna, BC to become a certified PADI instructor. From Canada, she went to Nha Trang, Vietnam, the first step on a three year journey that stoked her deep love of the ocean and took her around the globe. This love of the ocean is what brought Sterne to Texas A&M Galveston, where she has done extensive research and completed an undergraduate thesis titled Controls of Carbon Preservation in Coastal Wetlands of Texas: Mangrove vs. Saltmarsh Ecosystems. Sterne has presented her work at the American Geological Union’s 2014 Fall Meeting. She serves as the Historian for the Lambda Kappa Alpha Honors Association. Among her many scholarships, Sterne has been selected for the Welch Foundation Scholarship, a Texas Institute of Oceanography summer fellowship, and the Texas Oilman’s Charity Scholarship.

A smiling female student with long dark hair twisted up into a bun and held in place with a stick, wearing a maroon Addidas-branded Texas A&M shirt with the long sleeves pushed up to her elbows. Other students are working in the background.

Salwan Abou Salem ’16, 2015 Texas A&M – Qatar Outstanding Junior

 

Salwan Abou Salem is majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics. She has conducted undergraduate research on thermal imaging software with Dr. Hassan and on gaseous radiation detection with Dr. Bouhali; she serves as a grader for the TAMUQ Science department. Abou Salem is active with Student Body Government on the Qatar campus, serving as Class Representative and Vice President. She is also a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Pi Tau Sigma International Mechanical Engineering Honor Society. Abou Salem maintains an active extra-curricular schedule as well, playing both table tennis and basketball, serving as an orientation leader, Lebanese Red Cross volunteer, attending the COSGA and SCONA conferences in College Station, as well as participating in the Unite Lebanon Youth Project. Abou Salem has been honored with the Hamad Bin Khalifa Scholarship and is on the Dean’s List.

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.

 ###

2015 Spring Induction and Recognition

April 19, 2015

College Station, TX – The Texas A&M chapter of Phi Kappa Phi inducted 328 new members. Students were selected from the top 7.5% of junior undergraduate students, the top 10% of senior undergraduate students and top 10% graduate and professional students in each college.  Austin Hahn, 2015 Outstanding Junior for the Dwight Look College of Engineering was honored as University Outstanding Junior. Hahn will receive a $1000 scholarship and plaque commemorating his selection. Ten additional students were honored as Outstanding Junior for their respective colleges, and were each presented with plaques and $500 scholarship.

Sevent students stand holding plaques.

2015 Outstanding Juniors (left to right): Kallie Fuchs, Collin Kohlmeyer, Andy Habib, Julia Deleeuw, Taylor Herrmann, Eleni Mijalis, Amanda Sterne. Not pictured: Emma Epps, Austin Hahn, Salwan Abou Salem.

The 2015 PKP Outstanding Juniors are Kallie Fuchs, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences; Taylor Hermann, College of Architecture; Julia Deleeuw, Mays Business School; Emma Epps, College of Education and Human Development; Collin Kohlmeyer, College of Geosciences; Kaitlyn Kellermeyer, College of Liberal Arts; Eleni Mijalis, College of Science; Andy Habib, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Amanda Sterne, Texas A&M University at Galveston; and Salwan Abou Salem, Texas A&M University at Qatar. For more information about the 2015 Outstanding Juniors, please see: 2015 Outstanding Juniors Announced.

In addition to the junior, senior and graduate student inductees,  Dr. S. Kent Anderson, executive associate professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning was initiated based on his  commitment to the mission of Phi Kappa Phi “to promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.”

The ceremony provided an opportunity to recognize the Texas A&M nominee for the Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship. This national competition features five $15,000 scholarships and fifty-one $5,000 scholarships for students entering the first year of graduate or professional study. Senior environmental geosciences major Amélie Berger, the 2014 TAMU Outstanding Junior, received the chapter nomination for the national competition and a scholarship from the local chapter.

Dr. Steven Quiring, outgoing president, offered the following reflection on the ceremony: “The motto of Phi Kappa Phi is ‘Let the love of learning rule humanity.’ I am pleased to report that the love of learning is alive and well at Texas A&M University. This year we recognized an outstanding group of students who are not only passionate about learning, but who are also putting what they learn into practice through their service and leadership activities on the campus and around the world. It is a privilege to acknowledge the accomplishments of these students.”

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.

 ###

Mays Outstanding Junior Focuses on Lifelong Learning

March 24, 2014

College Station, TX – Each year, the officers of the Texas A&M chapter of Phi Kappa Phi (PKP), have the pleasant task of meeting with ten of the best students on campus. These students have each been selected as the Outstanding Junior for their respective colleges. The difficult part of these meetings is deciding which of these students will be selected as the TAMU Outstanding Junior.

The typical profile for PKP Outstanding Juniors includes excellent grades (junior inductees are selected from the top 7.5% of their class), extensive leadership, service, and a great deal of poise. These students often exhibit a great deal of integrity between their dreams and their plans. The best candidates elegantly describe how their interests and actions fit together.

Among the questions typically asked of these students is to apply the PKP motto “let the love of learning rule humanity,” to their own lives. 2013 Mays Business School Outstanding Junior Taylor Vestal, ’14, stands out in this amazing peer group for having already taken concrete steps in pursuing lifelong learning herself and fostering opportunities for others.

2013 Mays Business School Outstanding Junior Taylor Vestal, '14

2013 Mays Business School Outstanding Junior Taylor Vestal, ’14

Taylor, a Business Honors student, was one of five students selected to attend the Wakonse conference on College Teaching in May 2011. The Wakonse conference, which has traditionally served faculty seeking to improve their teaching, had started a new undergraduate program targeted to students who exhibited potential for leadership. The students in Taylor’s cohort from TAMU were selected for their outstanding participation in the freshman leadership organization PREP and the Freshman Business Initiative. At the time, Taylor had just finished her freshman year, and was the youngest student in the group. She described herself as the participant with the “least experience and most potential for growth.” This experience offered students, like Taylor, the opportunity to develop themselves as people and as leaders.

While some activities of the Wakonse conference remain separate for faculty and students, the student presence provides a built-in focus group for the faculty in attendance. One of the activities at the conference called “Mutual Expectations” asked faculty participants to list the ten best and worst things about students. The student participants, in turn, listed the ten best and worst things about faculty. Taylor said that the resulting conversation was “an eye-opening experience.” The student and faculty participants from Mays Business School were inspired to return to TAMU and share their epiphany with other students and faculty.

Thus, the Mays Academy of Learning and Teaching (MALT) was born in Fall 2011. Taylor describes the strength of this coalition of teachers and students, “who aren’t known to collaborate but are working toward the same thing,” as creating a space in which each can start to understand the other. Taylor has served as an event coordinator for the group: booking rooms, arranging food, and advertising the meetings to other students. Taylor is rewarded by seeing the dialogues that emerge from the MALT meetings.

“Students realize for the first time that teachers are ‘real people,’ and professors realize that what they think their students are thinking may not be quite right. [The faculty] might also learn that what they’re saying doesn’t resonate. Also, most importantly, they find what they’re doing right. Everyone in every department in every college needs to know that.”

The most recent MALT activity, a breakfast to which faculty brought student guests, and students brought faculty guests, resulted in the first non-Mays participants (faculty in chemistry and agriculture) and created some cross-disciplinary synergy. Taylor is excited for what this expanded reach might mean for students and faculty in other colleges. As she leaves, the group that Taylor described as “a fellowship of friends” has established a leadership structure, but has resisted becoming a student organization. She describes MALT as a “50/50 collaboration” between students and faculty. That shared ownership reinforces for everyone the goal of lifelong learning and constantly finding ways to improve oneself.

As a graduating senior, Taylor is sure of the impact that MALT has had on her experience. Taylor hopes that MALT might become a way for intellectually-motivated students, such as those selected to Phi Kappa Phi, to start creating dialogue about important issues related to teaching and learning. While Taylor is headed to a management consulting position with PriceWaterhouseCoopers after graduation, she sees graduate school—and perhaps teaching—in her future.

For more information about the Texas A&M chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, please visit http://pkptamu053.tamu.edu/.

More About Phi Kappa Phi
Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Phi Kappa Phi inducts annually 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 President Jimmy Carter, NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, novelist David Baldacci and YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley. The Society has awarded approximately $14 million since the inception of its awards program in 1932. Today, 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 Phi Kappa Phi, please call 800/804-9880 or visit http://www.PhiKappaPhi.org.