Meet the Brockman Scholars Class of ’23

Rafal Bilewski

  • Home Town: Passaic, New Jersey
  • High School: Churchill Fulshear High School
  • Intended Major: Petroleum Engineering

First-generation American Rafal Bilewski has a strong passion for problem solving and working with others. Growing up in the Houston area, Rafal soon realized the importance of energy – this inspired him to pursue a degree in petroleum engineering. He hopes to become a future leader in his chosen career and to bring energy to third world countries as demand increases. He is excited to take part in the MS Business program and further develop his business knowledge.

During his summers, Rafal plans on taking internships in his chosen field of study to help him gain valuable real-world experience. Rafal loves to travel to new places and meet new people along the way. He enjoys volunteering, exercising and working on motorcycles.

Justin Breen

  • Home Town: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • High School: Fox Chapel Area High School
  • Intended Major: Computer Engineering

Justin Breen set his eyes on majoring in computer engineering after discovering a passion for building computers during his Freshman year of high school. He hopes to use this degree – coupled with the business experience learned during the fifth year of the Brockman Scholars Program – to launch his own technology startup.

In his free time, Justin enjoys playing the trombone and engaging in Bible studies with his friends. As an out-of-state student from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he is very thankful to his parents and teachers for their constant encouragement and support to get him to where he is today.

Justin was named a National Merit Finalist.

Cole Catalena

  • Home Town: College Station, Texas
  • High School: A&M Consolidated High School
  • Intended Major: Mechanical Engineering

Cole Catalena demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit and competitive love for learning at an early age. He plans to use his engineering and business degrees to eventually start his own engineering firm. Cole is an avid outdoorsman. He also has his own Brangus cattle herd and is the manager for a storage business in College Station. He is responsible for handling all new contracts, collections and disbursements for the company.

Cole has been fluent in Spanish since early childhood – an attribute that has helped him significantly in prior places of employment and international travel. Cole’s other interests include sports, wake surfing, hiking and fishing.

Subha Cherukupalli

  • Home Town: Flower Mound, Texas
  • High School: Edward S. Marcus High School
  • Intended Major: Mechanical Engineering

Subha Cherukupalli is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. She has always harbored an interest in mathematics and science and believes that mechanical engineering is the perfect blend of those two subjects. After graduation, she hopes to obtain a teaching certificate in mechanical engineering and use this to pursue her passion for education and helping children.

Subha was among the top 20 students in her high school class and participated in many clubs such as DECA, ArtClub, SNHS, Mu Alpha Theta and more. Outside of school, Subha worked at her karate studio as an instructor with the ranking of a 1st Degree Adult Black Belt. She also learned Indian Classical Vocal Music for 14 years and opened her own professional photography business. Subha places great importance on her religion in her daily life and hopes to use this to help others.

Marc Choucair

  • Home Town: San Antonio, Texas
  • High School: BASIS San Antonio Shavano
  • Intended Major: Civil Engineering

Marc is a Lebanese-American who comes from a strong family line of engineers and architects. He plans to become a civil engineer. Marc has always been interested in preserving the health of the planet and wants to pursue a career in environmentally sustainable building to help others live cleaner lives. Marc hopes to pursue his passion by eventually founding his own engineering firm.

Marc loves music. He has played in piano competitions throughout Texas and performed in Carnegie Hall multiple times. He also enjoys the outdoors, soccer, football and food. Marc is an Eagle Scout and has been recognized as a National Merit Scholar. He speaks English, Arabic, French and Spanish.

Keegan Choudhury

  • Home Town: Plano, Texas
  • High School: Plano West Senior High
  • Intended Major: Computer Engineering

Marc is a Lebanese-American who comes from a strong family line of engineers and architects. He plans to become a civil engineer. Marc has always been interested in preserving the health of the planet and wants to pursue a career in environmentally sustainable building to help others live cleaner lives. Marc hopes to pursue his passion by eventually founding his own engineering firm.

Marc loves music. He has played in piano competitions throughout Texas and performed in Carnegie Hall multiple times. He also enjoys the outdoors, soccer, football and food. Marc is an Eagle Scout and has been recognized as a National Merit Scholar. He speaks English, Arabic, French and Spanish.

Allison Clarke

  • Home Town: Houston, Texas
  • High School: Bellaire High School
  • Intended Major: Civil Engineering

Allison Clarke is pursuing a degree in civil engineering with a minor in computer science. Her hope is to advance the practicality and sustainability of infrastructure worldwide. Allison attributes her experiences serving in Haiti and Latvia, where the longevity of infrastructure is often an afterthought, and living in Houston, where she was directly impacted by the consequences of Houston’s drainage problems, to sparking her interest in the field.

At Texas A&M, she looks forward to merging the worlds of science and economics in order to help materialize creative solutions to infrastructure needs and to design the way people connect with the world around them. In high school, Allison served as yearbook editor-in-chief and lacrosse president. This not only developed her leadership skills but also grew her love for graphic design and competition. Allison is an avid board game lover, coffee shop explorer and Houston sports fan.

Thomas Dexter

  • Home Town: Spokane, Washington
  • High School: University High School
  • Intended Major: Electrical Engineering

Inspired by an increasingly digital world, Thomas Dexter plans to pursue a degree in electrical engineeringHe believes that the most effective way to impact the world is through entrepreneurship, and therefore hopes to develop a high-impact technology startup using the skills gained through the MS Business program.

Thomas took a gap year after graduating as Valedictorian of his high school and interned at a local electrical contracting company, to which he credits his passion for electrical engineering and business. In his free time, Thomas enjoys developing web applications, contributing to open source projects and playing jazz guitar.

Andrew Doyle

  • Home Town: San Antonio, Texas
  • High School: Smithson Valley High School
  • Intended Major: Computer Engineering

Andrew Doyle’s interest in engineering was cultivated during his high school physics classes – he became fascinated with how mathematical equations and computer software could predict the outcomes of real-world situations. A self-taught web developer, Andrew created sites for his high school’s counselors and administration and helped form the computer science competition team. He plans to eventually use his knowledge of business and computer engineering to pioneer new technology for the sports industry.

Andrew qualified for the state Academics and Small Ensemble contests, competed in CyberPatriot and ran hurdles in track. As Tuba Section Leader in the marching band and Vice President of Program in his Venturing Crew, he taught school traditions and performance etiquette while planning kayaking and bouldering trips. Andrew enjoys trail biking, basketball, spikeball and watching Aggie football in his free time.

Allison Edwards

  • Home Town: Fulshear, Texas
  • High School: Obra D. Tompkins High School
  • Intended Major: Computer Science

Allison Edwards is pursuing a degree in computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity or software engineering. After graduation, she intends to use her undergraduate and business graduate degrees to pursue a career in government or the financial industry. Her goal is to improve the safety and security of American consumers in a world that continues to increase its dependence on technology.

Allison enjoys being actively involved in her church youth group where she has had the opportunity to serve others through children’s programs, community service projects and a mission trip to Guatemala. This passion for volunteering and her love of basketball led her to be an assistant coach in the youth Upwards Basketball League. Allison enjoys paddle boarding at the beach, reading the most recent John Grisham book, hammocking and spending time with her friends.

Emory Fields

  • Home Town: The Woodlands, TX
  • High School: Providence Classical School
  • Intended Major: Computer Science

Emory Fields plans to earn a degree in computer science. After completing her undergraduate degree and the MS Business program, she hopes to fulfill her childhood dream of working for NASA. With her mother working as a programmer, it was a regular occurrence for Emory to walk into her family’s study and see her mother quickly typing seemingly random, colorful combinations of numbers and letters onto a black screen. She later learned this is known as coding. Seeing this from a young age sparked a desire to pursue computer programming and other technical opportunities in high school. These experiences, in combination with a love for both mathematics and problem-solving, have led Emory to study computer science.

Emory’s other interests include tennis, which she played for three years during high school, part-time work, youth group participation, and giving back to her community through volunteering.

Aubrey Frazior

  • Home Town: Rowlett, Texas
  • High School: Garland High School
  • Intended Major: Biomedical Sciences

For Aubrey Frazior, the field of veterinary medicine combines her interests in medical science, analytical problems and all animal species. After graduating from Texas A&M with a degree in biomedical sciences and a minor in Spanish, Aubrey plans to acquire a doctorate in veterinary medicine and use the skills obtained through the MS Business program to run an animal clinic with low-cost care options. She hopes her minor in Spanish will enable her to reach a wider range of devoted pet parents.

Aubrey is an avid photographer, artist, reader, and dancer. These activities have taught her discipline, balance, and the importance of nurturing a creative outlet.

Jake Gartrell

  • Home Town: Rowlett, Texas
  • High School: Rowlett High School
  • Intended Major: Biomedical Engineering

Creative yet analytical, Jake Gartrell flourishes in the field of biomedical engineering. Taking inspiration from existing structures in the natural world, he aims to create new biomaterials that make the drug delivery process more reliable and cost-effective.

Experiences on his high school’s Academic Decathlon team fostered a love for immunology, literary analysis of Bob Dylan’s lyrics and public speaking. But the most important lesson Jake took away from his time on this team was an appreciation of holistic learning.

Jake was heavily involved in his high school’s art program and designed stage lighting for a variety of school events, community speakers, and even the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Creativity and logic have a symbiotic relationship in Jake’s life, and he is excited to bring this dichotomy to the forefront of everything he does at Texas A&M.

Ryan Gehm

  • Home Town: Austin, Texas
  • High School: Westlake High School
  • Intended Major: Mechanical Engineering

Ryan Gehm plans to pursue a mechanical engineering degree and to leverage skills learned through the MS Business program to obtain a management position within a growing company. Ultimately, his goal is to build his own business and to push himself to achieve his greatest potential.

Ryan has always had a knack for understanding other people and has worked to develop his leadership skills as a Senior Patrol Leader throughout his path to Eagle Scout, captain of his soccer teams, and supervisor of various technical theater productions. Ryan enjoys helping others, and spends his summers working at a camp run by a non-profit organization devoted to helping children. He also frequently goes on outdoor adventures and spends his free time staying physically fit.

Adam Hauschel

  • Home Town: Missouri City, Texas
  • High School: Ridge Point High School
  • Intended Major: Chemical Engineering

Adam Hauschel was introduced to the world of engineering by his father, a mechanical engineer. He has always had a passion for mathematics and science, and believes engineering is the perfect profession for him to apply those passions to solve world problems. Adam is particularly interested in creating his own business focused on developing more efficient forms of energy and energy systems.

In school, Adam was always most intrigued by his physics and chemistry classes, which inspired him to start a modern physics club. In addition, he was part of both National Honor Society and National Science Honor Society, is an Eagle Scout, and graduated salutatorian of his class. Adam’s other interests include cars, playing his guitar, outdoor activities and being involved with his church.

Mason Imrie

  • Home Town: Richmond, Texas
  • High School: Foster High School
  • Intended Major: Civil Engineering

Mason Imrie is pursuing a degree in civil engineering at Texas A&M. From a young age he enjoyed using mathematics and physics to solve real world problems. He credits this to his parents, who inspired him to pursue his interests. On several relief trips with his church, he personally witnessed the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey in his community. The experience led him to seek to help others through selfless service. He hopes to one day design buildings and bridges that are better equipped to protect people during natural disasters.

Throughout high school, Mason was part of the Foster Swim Team and competed at the state swim meet for four consecutive years. Mason’s other interests include watching football, playing board games, spending time with friends and family, and being an active member in his church.

Julia Jachimowicz

  • Home Town: Schertz, Texas
  • High School: Samuel Clemens High School
  • Intended Major: Mathematics

Julia Jachimowicz has always had a passion for learning, leading and problem solving. These qualities are part of what led her to Texas A&M University where she will major in mathematics and minor in English. She plans to take this knowledge with her into the business world. A “people person”, Julia hopes to find a career that allows her to interact and collaborate with others as she works to positively impact the world.

Growing up as a military child, Julia learned the importance of hard work and selfless service and plans to apply these values to her studies and future career. Julia’s other interests include reading, dancing, socializing with friends and family and being active in her church.

Caitlyn Jennings

  • Home Town: Round Rock, Texas
  • High School: McNeil High School
  • Intended Major: Civil Engineering

Caitlyn Jennings is pursuing a civil engineering degree with a specialization in structural engineering. Caitlyn developed a strong belief at a very young age that no one should have to experience homelessness due to economic misfortune. In high school, she was given the opportunity to take Civil Engineering classes, which introduced her to non-profit, affordable housing organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation. In college, she hopes to research ways to improve efficiency and cost in building residential structures.

Upon obtaining her MS Business degree, Caitlyn intends to become involved with these non-profit organizations and assist them in making affordable housing widespread globally.

In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, drawing, writing and playing the clarinet.

Catherine Johnson

  • Home Town: Kingston Springs, Tennessee
  • High School: St. Cecilia Academy
  • Intended Major: Aerospace Engineering

Between robotics practices and mathematics team meetings, Catherine Johnson read about and watched reusable orbital rocket booster launches and found a passion for aerospace engineering. She hopes to enter the private spaceflight industry with the aim of making spaceflight affordable and sustainable for the public.

Catherine was able to pursue her passion for teaching and helping her peers by tutoring throughout high school. In her free time, Catherine enjoys volunteering with a local hippotherapy organization, playing the clarinet and flute, and coding autonomous robots. Catherine has also been recognized as a National Merit Scholar.

Sarah Johnson

  • Home Town: San Antonio, Texas
  • High School: Reagan High School
  • Intended Major: Biomedical Science

Sarah Johnson is majoring in biomedical science with the intention of pursuing a career as a veterinarian. During high school, she interned with her local veterinary clinic to learn more about the field and was able to participate in hands-on work that confirmed her passion for the care of animals.

Sarah strongly believes in the benefits of a multicultural community and therefore intends to pursue a Spanish certification. She hopes this will broaden her ability to assist animal lovers from diverse backgrounds.

Sarah also organized a fun run in high school to help a boy in her community who has diagnosed with leukemia. The event brought together more than 300 people who donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Sehun Joo

  • Home Town: Ilsan, South Korea
  • High School: Bellaire High School
  • Intended Major: Computer Science

Sehun Joo was born in South Korea but moved to Houston at a young age. His love for videogames pushed him to pursue a degree in computer science, which he hopes to use to develop videogames for educational, military and medical purposes. After graduation, Sehun hopes to study supply chain management to bolster his sister’s dentistry business.

Sehun has held many leadership positions, including running videogame tournaments with more than 100 people, organizing officially licensed TEDx talks, and coordinating video game creating projects online. Outside of programming, Sehun enjoys reading papers on natural history as well as rock-climbing, robotics and competitive gaming. He has placed in many Korean fighting game tournaments.

Landon Kirchner

  • Home Town: Wimberley, Texas
  • High School: Wimberley High School
  • Intended Major: Chemical Engineering

Landon Kirchner – a second-generation Aggie engineer – knew from a young age that he wanted to pursue engineering as a career. With his degree in chemical engineering and master’s degree in business, Landon hopes to impact the world by developing processes that reduce the emission of harmful chemicals into the environment in a way that is both effective and cost efficient.

Keen on becoming the best person he can be, Landon has always worked hard to achieve his goals both in and out of the classroom. He believes that giving back to society is an essential component of a meaningful life and has volunteered numerous hours in community organizations and with his church.

Landon’s interests include being outdoors, playing sports such as basketball and competitive tennis, spending time with family and friends, and attending church.

Emily Leeke

  • Home Town: Austin, Texas
  • High School: James Bowie High School
  • Intended Major: Biomedical Sciences

Emily Leeke aspires to become a veterinarian – she hopes to combine her altruism and passion for animals into a lifelong career. In high school, Emily interned at a diagnostic veterinary hospital and took part in RBM10 genome research. She plans to pursue research in histology and medicine while at Texas A&M in hopes that new diagnostic or treatment methods in animals could one day be applied to human medicine as well.

Throughout high school, Emily felt driven to serve her peers by creating student mentoring programs as the National Honor Society vice-president and developing custodial appreciation programs as the Hispanic Honor Society president.

In her free time, Emily enjoys playing tennis, collecting insects, playing a variety of musical instruments, or reading literature. She believes that her identity is rooted in Jesus Christ and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Brandon Mann

  • Home Town: Foothill Ranch, California
  • High School: El Toro High School
  • Intended Major: Mechanical Engineering

Brandon Mann’s interest in aerospace – sparked after a visit to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in eighth grade – inspired him to pursue engineering at Texas A&M. After graduation, Brandon aspires to combine his mechanical engineering and business skills to develop cost-effective technology for future space missions.

Brandon competed as a middle infielder for the baseball team in high school and volunteered hundreds of hours as a dedicated tutor and mentor to students in his community. He also served as president of the El Toro Make-A-Wish Club and his Lion’s Heart volunteer services group. He was a member of the National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation. Beyond STEM, Brandon found interest in classes such as art history and history of American cinema. He enjoys working at In-N-Out and playing intellectual games in his free time.

John McKelvey

  • Home Town: Garland, TX
  • High School: Sachse High School
  • Intended Major: Mechanical Engineering

John McKelvey developed an interest in engineering though participation in Vex Robotics and home projects. He now intends to expand his skills by majoring in mechanical engineering. Using the knowledge acquired during this degree in conjunction with the MS Business degree program, he plans to help lead the engineering world into an innovative future. John is an Eagle Scout and as part of a Venturing Crew, has traveled the world, exploring cultures, SCUBA diving, and participating in high adventure treks. He intends to stay physically fit by continuing to play ultimate frisbee and golf.

John has been recognized as a salutatorian and National Merit Scholar.

Petru Mihailescu

  • Home Town: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • High School: Mt. Lebanon High School
  • Intended Major: Chemical Engineering

Petru Mihailescu, a Pittsburgh native, is pursuing a chemical engineering degree at Texas A&M University. He hopes to one day start his own sustainable business and contribute to a greener future. He discovered his passion for sustainability through research conducted in computational chemistry, which focused on greener catalysts used in industrial processes.

In addition to academics, Petru enjoys swimming competitively and playing basketball. He also loves music and plays the piano and the violin.

Ruth Mitchell

  • Home Town: Pecos, Texas
  • High School: Pecos High School
  • Intended Major: Biomedical Sciences

Inspired by several strong and influential female role models in her life, Ruth Mitchell plans to pursue a life of caring for women as a physician’s assistant, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. She is passionate about providing accessible and comprehensive healthcare to women and hopes to go on to own a pregnancy resources center that serves women in need.

Raised by both a pastor and an elementary administrator, Ruth learned the value of combining her strong faith and her education early on. Through leadership opportunities in her nationally recognized high school marching band, student council, student government and church, Ruth has been able to grow as an effervescent and assiduous individual. In her free time, she loves to paint, play piano and spend time with her nephew.

Joshua Mo

  • Home Town: Frisco, Texas
  • High School: Lone Star High School
  • Intended Major: Computer Engineering

Joshua Mo is pursuing a degree in computer engineering with a focus on computer science. He plans to innovate devices that will improve the lives of people with type I diabetes. Joshua, whose sister has type I diabetes, has seen the impact blood sugar monitoring software and closed loop technology has had on her life. He hopes to help improve this technology by strengthening its ability to predict, monitor, and address blood sugar changes.

Through his experience running a STEM Club at a local middle school, Joshua learned the value of passionate leadership, creativity, and perseverance. Joshua also enjoys outdoor activities: including rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking.

Abhishek More

  • Home Town: Dublin, Ohio
  • High School: Dublin Jerome High School
  • Intended Major: Computer Engineering

From creating computer games at an early age to building his own PC, Abhishek More has always been fascinated by the power and versatility of computers. He enrolled in computer science courses throughout high school and participated in numerous “hackathons” with his friends. Additionally, Abhishek was involved in his school orchestra and performed at special events.

In the future, he hopes to use his computer engineering experience to revolutionize the world. In his free time, he enjoys gaming, hanging out with friends, listening to music, and playing the violin. Abhishek has also been recognized as a National Merit Scholar.

Renate Olson

  • Home Town: San Antonio
  • High School: Alamo Heights High School
  • Intended Major: Mechanical Engineering

A strong interest in mathematics and science has drawn Renate Olson to mechanical engineering. She is interested in pursuing a career in an energy-related field.

Renate’s volunteer work in a variety of settings has earned her a Gold Presidential Service Award. Her precision and attention to detail have served as invaluable assets in both her scholastic achievements and her employment settings. She earned her high school’s departmental achievement awards for both mathematics and physics. Playing sports and participating in orchestra have also helped Renate become a strong team member. Renate enjoys baking and photography in her free time.

Logan Perry

  • Home Town: Giddings
  • High School: Giddings High School
  • Intended Major: Mechanical Engineering

Logan Perry has harbored a desire to invent and bring his ideas to life ever since he was a young boy. Because of this passion for innovation, Logan currently plans to complete a degree in mechanical or biomedical engineering. After completing his undergraduate studies, Logan aspires to attend Texas A&M University’s EnMed program, where he hopes to invent new medical devices that will better humanity.

Logan was heavily involved in servant leadership and UIL Academics in high school, serving as the Secretary of 4-H State Council and winning computer science at the state level. Logan loves to paint, draw, code, and listen to old rock music in his down time.

Rishi Phatak

  • Home Town: Mumbai, India
  • High School: DeBakey High School for Health Professions
  • Intended Major: Computer Science

Reading about the power of modern computers in middle school sparked an interest in computer science in Rishi Phatak – and led to his participation in the Science Olympiad. His high school mathematics teacher encouraged him to explore links between mathematics and computer science. He won awards in both computer science and mathematics, and through AP Computer Science realized his vocation as a computer science major at Texas A&M. He hopes to contribute to the existing field of knowledge by designing better systems to increase efficiency and sustainability. Rishi also hopes the MS Business degree will complement his technical knowledge and help hone his management skills.

Rishi moved to Houston from his hometown, Mumbai, India, in 2014, as his mother pursued her PhD degree. At his high school graduation, he was recognized with the “Outstanding Young Man” award. In his free time, Rishi enjoys playing the keyboard and table tennis.

Nathan Purwosumarto

  • Home Town: Portland, Oregon
  • High School: Sunset High School
  • Intended Major: Computer Science

Nathan Purwosumarto was drawn to pursue a major in computer science because of its impact and prevalence in the modern world. He hopes to work in the field of artificial intelligence and contribute to the technologies of the future.

Nathan was among the top one percent of his graduating class and was recognized as a National Merit Scholar. He enjoys studying history and was the leader of his high school’s History Bowl team. He also has an interest in keeping up with current events and foreign policy to understand events taking place in the world. In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing the piano, listening to music, hiking, and playing strategy games.

Taylor Reinke

  • Home Town: Fort Collins, Colorado
  • High School: Liberty Common High School
  • Intended Major: Mechanical Engineering

Taylor Reinke plans to pursue a mechanical engineering degree in the hope of one day making a positive impact on the world. She participated in FIRST robotics for six years, which sparked her love for engineering.

Taylor has been heavily involved in student government leadership, service and faith-based organizations, and volleyball. On her robotics teams, she was on the build team and was head of the outreach and marketing team. As part of her robotics outreach, Taylor doubled the number of FIRST robotics students in grades K-4th in her region and personally coached three of these teams. She enjoys giving back to her community and spreading her passion for STEM to the younger generation.

Out of college, she would love to be involved in a startup company or to create her own company. Taylor also enjoys learning new skills and is currently learning how to play guitar and speak Spanish.

Yashas Salankimatt

  • Home Town: The Woodlands, Texas
  • High School: The Woodlands College Park High School
  • Intended Major: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Born in a small town in India, Yashas Salankimatt was fascinated by technology from a very young age. Moving from India to America at the age of 6 allowed Yashas more ready access to technology and fueled his love for all things engineering-related. Yashas enjoys tinkering and creating small electronics projects, programming, woodworking, cooking, or doing anything that has to do with building something.

In high school, he discovered his passion for business through DECA and by helping found an entrepreneurship program at his high school where he taught business principles to other students. He plans to use this experience along with the knowledge from the MS Business program to create a start-up of his own. Ambitions aside, he enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, writing and daydreaming.

Scott Shepherd

  • Home Town: Mason, Ohio
  • High School: William Mason High School
  • Intended Major: Mechanical Engineering

Scott Shepherd has enjoyed building and repairing things with items found around the house from a young age. He discovered his passion for computer programming during the ninth grade and began to spend his free time learning new languages and organizing programming-related outreach events such as hackathons and coding workshops. He plans to incorporate his interests in programming and building things into his career by earning a degree in mechanical engineering and working to optimize designs and improve efficiency of manufacturing. Scott plans to pursue a project management role using the skills and knowledge developed during the MS Business program.

Scott was co-captain of his swim team in high school. His other interests include weight lifting, hiking, and running. Scott was also recognized as a National Merit Scholar.

Thomas Simms

  • Home Town: Richardson, Texas
  • High School: Plano East Senior High School
  • Intended Major: Electrical Engineering

Thomas Simms is pursuing a degree in electrical engineering with the goal of starting his own business. He is interested in advancing technology in a responsible way to solve both existing and future problems. This interest stems from his involvement with robotics throughout high school, including starting his school’s First Tech Challenge robotics team. Thomas is also passionate about helping his community, having served with his local church and Young Men’s Service League. In his free time, he enjoys programming, reading, and playing basketball. Thomas is looking forward to his time at Texas A&M, both to further develop his passion for engineering and to become involved in the Aggie community.

Ashton Smith

  • Home Town: Lubbock, Texas
  • High School: Lubbock High
  • Intended Major: Biomedical Engineering

Having grown up in a family where service to others is paramount, Ashton Smith feels compelled to use her gifts to better the world. The field of biomedical engineering is a place where she feels she can combine her passion for helping others with her love of problem solving, mathematics and science.

The process of obtaining an International Baccalaureate diploma in high school inspired Ashton to see herself as someone who has the potential to assist people internationally. She is pursuing a minor in Spanish with hopes of being able to learn from and assist medical professionals in Central and South America. Inspired by a mission trip to East Africa where she saw the crippling effects of disease on developing nations, Ashton plans to work in research and development to create innovative solutions and treatments for infectious diseases.

Reed Smoot

  • Home Town: Dallas, Texas
  • High School: Highland Park High School
  • Intended Major: Biomedical Engineering

Having found an intersection between innovation, humanitarian issues and science, Reed Smoot plans to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering. Upon graduating, she intends to integrate her engineering and business skills to expand the footprint of applied biotechnology. Reed is interested in NASA’s biomedical research efforts to develop technology that reduces the damaging effects of space exploration on the human body.

Her interest in Chinese culture led her to take Chinese language classes in high school and she plans to continue her Mandarin studies at Texas A&M. Reed also has an interest in public policy and plans to intern in Washington D.C. to learn more about healthcare policy and contribute her perspective in addressing this critical issue.

Reed plays piano and percussion and is a member of the Symphonic Band at Texas A&M.

William J Stroh

  • Home Town: Pearland, Texas
  • High School: Strake Jesuit
  • Intended Major: Mechanical Engineering

William Stroh’s desire to major in mechanical engineering stemmed from a deep-seated interest in understanding the world around him. Ultimately, he wants to apply this passion to positively impact his community. William’s goal in his professional career is to further improve upon energy storage. He believes that the innovations he hopes to achieve will make the world a more efficient place while also positively impacting people ranging from first responders to cancer patients.

William’s extracurricular interests include community service, sports, and social organizations. He has served the rural Alaskan community of Bethel and helped combat invasive species in Galveston, Texas. William enjoys swimming and playing water polo in his free time. Never backing down from a new challenge, he plans to join a Freshman Leadership Organization, take a rock-climbing course his first semester at A&M and go skydiving before he graduates.

Austin Thombs

  • Home Town: Slidell, Louisiana
  • High School: Northshore High School
  • Intended Major: Mechanical Engineering

From a young age, Austin has been fascinated by flight, a passion that eventually introduced him to engineering. In high school, Austin joined his school’s robotics team, where he worked from grease monkey to build captain and found an interest in management after creating a project manager position to streamline the team’s design process. Austin was an All-District defensive end on his school’s football team, pole vaulted and threw discus for track.

He also participated in myriad service organizations. After high school, Austin began a long-term internship at the Naval Research Lab at Stennis Space Center, where he worked with CFD modeling to study bioluminescence.  Austin hopes to enter the private aerospace industry as mankind sets its sights on Mars. In his free time, Austin can usually be found at church, with friends, wakeboarding, rock climbing or accidentally burning ramen. Austin has also been recognized as a National Merit Scholar.

Abby Trangsrud

  • Home Town: Flower Mound, Texas
  • High School: Marcus High School
  • Intended Major: Biomedical Sciences

Driven by an unwavering desire to serve The Lord and those around her, Abby Trangsrud is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences. After pursuing her Master’s in Business, she intends to graduate from PA school. Knowing that a proper education will not satisfy her ambitions, she intends to harness her newfound skills and partner with nonprofits to join medical mission trips. Serving others on mission trips is not a foreign concept for Abby – as an active member of her church, Abby has spent the past two summers on mission trips to Guatemala and Costa Rica, where she has been able to impact those communities and share her faith. In high school, Abby was actively involved in student council, numerous honor societies, and served as president of Mu Alpha Theta. When she isn’t focused on fulfilling her goals of serving others, Abby loves exploring the outdoors, trying new coffee shops and traveling.

Alejandro Urista

  • Home Town: Austin, Texas
  • High School: Lake Travis High School
  • Intended Major: Chemical Engineering or Materials Science and Engineering

Alejandro’s love for engineering began at a young age when his mother took him to museums all over Detroit, embedding an inescapable passion for mathematics and science.  His dad taught him commitment and the definition of hard work. He credits Mr. Wedemeyer, his junior English teacher, for showing him that learning goes beyond books and grades and for encouraging him to make a difference in the lives of others. Because of those who have inspired him, Alejandro plans to use his degree to create effective yet affordable biomaterials for use in prosthetics. He hopes to work with veterans due to his gratitude for their sacrifices.

In high school, Alejandro played alto saxophone in the marching band and competed in UIL spelling. He enjoyed volunteering frequently at the local elementary school, preparing and organizing classrooms. During his free time, he likes to play ping pong and pick-up basketball.

Alec Verastegui

  • Home Town: Boerne, Texas
  • High School: Boerne High School
  • Intended Major: Biomedical Engineering

Inspired by his caring grandmother and a love for science and volunteer work, Alec Verastegui is pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering on the pre-medicine track so that he can positively impact the lives of people both inside and outside of the operating room.

In his free time, Alec enjoys watching the San Antonio Spurs, riding motorcycles, playing with his dog, Bell, and competing in any sport that he can get involved in (especially tennis). Alec has also acquired a love for traveling and an appreciation for other cultures thanks to his diverse family background ranging from Texan, Cherokee, and Mexican to Japanese, Spanish, Irish, and French influences.

Timothy Lee Vordenbaumen III

  • Home Town: Tyler, Texas
  • High School: Robert E. Lee High School
  • Intended Major: Biomedical Engineering

As a child of two Texas A&M Lettermen, Tim Vordenbaumen grew up immersed in the Aggie culture and always imagined studying there himself. Tim’s love for mathematics and science as well as a strong desire to help and serve others led him to pursue a career in biomedical engineering.

Tim accredits the Boy Scouts of America for developing his leadership skills as well as showing him the joy in helping others. While working to earn his Eagle Scout, Tim led a community service project called “Good Read! Good Deed!”, which installed many lending libraries in Goodwill stores across East Texas while advocating for Goodwill’s Adult Literacy campaign. Throughout high school, he was a member of many service organizations, was in the marching band, was the vice president of his National Honor Society chapter and was on the UIL mathematics team.

Darius Wang

  • Home Town: San Antonio, Texas
  • High School: BASIS San Antonio Shavano Campus
  • Intended Major: Biomedical Engineering

Darius Wang aspires to become an orthopedic surgeon by studying biomedical engineering on the pre-med track prior to attending medical school. He hopes to pursue his passion by developing better prosthetics and innovative surgery techniques to accelerate patient recovery times. With the business acumen he hopes to acquire over time, he would ultimately like to start his own company to design these new prosthetics and to implement new techniques to provide affordable operations accessible to everyone.

Darius loves sports, music, nature, and health and nutrition. He was the top graduate for his class and recognized as a National Merit Scholar. Darius is a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo and competed in the US Open and US Nationals in 2018. He has studied Taekwondo for 15 years and hopes to continue at the collegiate level.

Katherine Weaver

  • Home Town: Grapevine, Texas
  • High School: Colleyville Heritage High School
  • Intended Major: Biology

Having grown up with a keen interest in the ever-changing world of human genetics, Katherine Weaver is directing her passion into the study of biology on a pre-med track at Texas A&M. She hopes to one day become a clinical cytogeneticist and to help people understand their unique genetic makeup. In addition to her prospective career, Katherine has a desire to research the potential biological underpinnings of various neuropsychiatric disorders. Through her research and career, Katherine hopes to initiate a process by which people can understand themselves better and seek aid when necessary.

Academics aside, Katherine served as motivational leader and then vice-president of her high school dance team, and she was an avid volunteer in the special needs’ ministry at her church. Katherine loves to travel, spend time with her friends and family, and cheer on the Fighting Texas Aggie Football and Baseball teams.

Nathan Wilke

  • Home Town: Round Rock, Texas
  • High School: Round Rock High School
  • Intended Major: Computer Science

Growing up loving mathematics courses and technology, it was only natural for Nathan Wilke to progress into the field of computer science. He plans to graduate with a degree in computer science and a master’s degree in business, and then immediately delve into this field.

Nathan has always prioritized leadership as an essential trait when it comes to making a positive change. He grew up learning leadership skills with the Boy Scouts of America and in his high school’s JROTC, becoming an Eagle Scout and a commanding officer of his battalion. Using the skills gained throughout those experiences, and which he hopes to further develop at Texas A&M, Nathan strives to eventually climb the ranks of a large company and help it develop the best technology to make a positive change for the world. Nathan also loves to play ultimate frisbee and is an avid supporter of the Dallas Cowboys.

Jacob Wright

  • Home Town: Eagle Pass, Texas
  • High School: Eagle Pass High School
  • Intended Major: Biomedical Sciences

Jacob Wright is pursuing a biomedical sciences degree at Texas A&M with the aim of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. He hopes to better the lives of people, including athletes, and enable them to return to their full potential. Jacob, who graduated valedictorian and was named a National Merit AP Scholar and National Hispanic Scholar, has been able to pursue his passion for service and helping others as president of the National Honor Society, and as captain of the EPHS Varsity Tennis Team. He is also part of a Cinematography Club and Our Lady of Refuge Church Youth Group. He plans to continue to follow his passion with various clubs and organizations at Texas A&M.

Jacob is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys tennis, hunting, fishing, hiking and spending time at his local swimming pool as a lifeguard.

Hanson Yu

  • Home Town: Houston, Texas
  • High School: St. John’s School
  • Intended Major: Computer Science

Hanson Yu is pursuing a computer science degree at Texas A&M with plans to double major in mathematics. He has an affinity for technology and from an early age expressed an interest in computer science. Hanson is now a passionate computer hardware enthusiast, having recently successfully built a workstation desktop PC. During his undergraduate career Hanson plans to engage in research and undertake a long-term project relating to software development. Hanson also enjoys the fine arts: he has been a cellist in numerous orchestras and ensembles, including the Houston Youth Symphony.

In his free time, he enjoys playing the piano for entertainment. Hanson also likes sketching and drawing.  Other hobbies include bouldering and playing basketball with friends.