Articles tagged as: Office of the Provost

October 16, 2013

Two Students To Be Presented Prestigious Astronaut Scholarships

Robert Cabana

Space shuttle astronaut and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana will visit Texas A&M University to present students Dillon Amaya and Amanda Couch each with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF), during a public lecture and ceremony, Monday, Oct. 28, at 10 a.m. in Rudder Theatre. 

Sponsored by Honors and Undergraduate Scholarships and the Office of the Provost, the program is free and open to the public, but tickets to the event are required from the Memorial Student Center Box Office.

During the visit, Cabana will share his perspective as director of one of NASA’s best-known facilities, as well as his experiences as a NASA astronaut who, as a veteran of four space shuttle missions, spent more than 910 hours in space.

Astronaut Scholarships are the largest monetary awards available to United States science, technology, engineering, and math students based solely on merit. ASF has awarded more than $3.7 million to deserving students around the U.S. to date. Texas A&M students have earned a total of $220,000 from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation since 1986.

Dillon Amaya

Dillon Amaya is a senior majoring in meteorology and a member of the inaugural group of Undergraduate Research Ambassadors who has amassed a wealth of academic experience in paleoclimate research and related fields. He has studied hurricane formation in the Atlantic, dust accumulation in the South Pacific, free convective similarity functions at the University of Alaska, and water and air quality aboard the NOAA Research Vessel Ron Brown over 37 days at sea.  Amaya is a co-author on two publications currently under review. He looks forward to a career advancing science to the best of his ability.

Amanda Couch

Amanda Couch is a senior majoring in electrical engineering. She participates in the university honors program and minors in mathematics. She has done extensive research in the field of electromagnetics, space communications and antenna design, and has worked as an ISS Electrical Power Systems intern at Boeing. Couch has co-authored four scholarly presentations and publications. Her future goals include a career in applied research within the private sector.

“We are thrilled that two of our students were selected for this prestigious award this year, the first time in the history of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation that two scholarships have been awarded to the same institution,” says Dr. Sumana Datta, executive director of Honors and Undergraduate Research. “This tells us that the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation recognizes the academic strength we have among our students here at Texas A&M. It’s also a special opportunity to hear from each recipient at the awards program and also from one of the leaders within NASA and our space industry.”

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1984 by the six surviving members of America’s original Mercury program. Its mission is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in these fields.  ASF funds 28  $10,000 scholarships annually and has awarded more than $3.7 million to deserving students nationwide. Today, more than 100 astronauts from the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs have joined in this educational endeavor.

For more information on the program, contact Peggy Samson in Public Partnership & Outreach, Office of the Provost, at (979) 845-6366 or

Media Contact: Peggy Samson, Office of the Provost, at (979) 845-6366 or Tura King, Division of Marketing & Communications, at (979) 845-4670

February 5, 2013

Campus Voices: Linda Edwards

Linda Edwards

Linda Edwards

Meet Linda Edwards: Linda Edwards is director of community outreach for the Public Partnership and Outreach unit in the Office of the Provost at Texas A&M. She has 15 years of experience in training and development specifically in areas of self-awareness and communication, which she applies to the First Year Seminar, “Raising Your Cultural IQ” she teaches each fall. Additionally, Edwards supports faculty application and participation in the Fulbright Scholars program, facilitates the hosting of international visitors, provides cultural protocol assistance and coordinates a number of faculty and alumni awards programs featuring international impact. She earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism in 2002 and a masters in management in 2003 from Texas A&M.

If there were only one quote that I could give about the Fulbright Scholar programs it would be, “it changed my life forever.”

Perusing through articles about Texas A&M Fulbright scholars and those of other universities on the Fulbright website, this phrase found a place in nearly every article. The benefits listed by each recipient also included “a whole new world of research was opened for me,” “this worked as a multiplier effect for me by building exchanges,” and “I met international colleagues and established long-term professional relationships.”

Terry Anderson, professor of history and Cornerstone Faculty Fellow in the College of Liberal Arts and the recipient of three Fulbright awards believes what he gained as a Fulbright scholar benefited his students.

“I bring these international experiences in to many lectures to help the students compare their personal and American history with that of other peoples,” Anderson said in an online Liberal Arts 2011 article. “In my opinion, that enriches their educational experience, and hopefully, stimulates them to travel and learn about other cultures, which will help them prepare for the global economy.”

I have been the Texas A&M Fulbright representative on campus for the past nine years. I could tell you countless other stories that say something along those same lines. So, how can you get this kind of experience? Apply for any one of the Fulbright grant opportunities and see where it takes you.

In 2009, I teamed up with Dr. Charles A. Johnson, IEA Fulbrighter in Japan and currently the senior vice president for research at Texas A&M, to see if we could increase the number of Fulbright scholars from Texas A&M. We have had a few peaks over the years, but mostly just a steady two or three per year. Since 1990, we have sent 88 faculty and administrator Fulbright ambassadors abroad to share the story of Texas A&M. This year we hit a high and were named as one of the top producing institutions of Fulbright Scholars, ranking seventh in the nation. Dr. Johnson thinks the way the university encourages applications and works with applicants may have something to do with the success of our Fulbright program

“The university has shown great flexibility in meeting the needs of Fulbright awardees to allow them to accept their award,” Johnson said.

It is relatively easy to apply; the challenge is where to go. Fulbright lists nearly 800 grants each year in countries all over the world. Virtually all disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas are eligible for Fulbright awards, and many are open with regard to areas of interest in the host country. The online application process is fairly simple and step by step guidelines are available. My office assists with the application process and we will do what we can to prepare a competitive application.

Each year the Dean of Faculties’ and Provost’s office join together to offer an information workshop to help interested faculty and administrators learn about the process and the benefits of becoming a Fulbright Scholar.

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