As campus begins buzzing with the start of the fall term, 11 students from departments across the Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are preparing to share their experiences and Aggie pride with prospective students as ambassadors.
Every year, the College selects a cohort of students for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Ambassador Program. Each recipient particularly exemplifies leadership, academic achievement, and a commitment to service in the university.
The student ambassadors work with Danielle Harris, Ph.D., assistant dean for student success, and other leaders in the College throughout the year. They represent the College at various events, lead tours of West Campus and interact with prospective and current students. Through their involvement in various events, ambassadors create greater awareness of academic programs, opportunities, and accomplishments of the student body affiliated with agriculture and life science disciplines.
“This program provides our students with a voice and platform to share their experiences. They will connect with other students who might be interested in pursuing degrees in agriculture and life sciences,” Harris said. “We’ve expanded our programming this year to better serve prospective students. We understand how the ambassadors can be a resource for them and their parents. This also allows our ambassadors to develop leadership and professional skills that they can apply in their individual studies. These are skills that they might not otherwise get in the classroom.”
I love learning, not only from the faculty but also from my fellow peers. With such a wide array of majors in the College, you get to learn about the agriculture and life sciences through many different people and perspectives.Grace Bodine ’22, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences
Student ambassadors for 2021-2022
This year’s ambassadors represent an exemplary group of interdisciplinary scholars.
— Clayton Elbel ’23 is a junior in the Department of Agricultural Economics from Spring Branch. After earning a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics, Elbel seeks to pursue a master’s degree in public administration. He then hopes to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and attend Harvard law school. “I appreciate how the College is a place where students can grow to their fullest potential,” Elbel said. “Our College provides students with opportunities and experiences that challenge and grow students into leaders of character.” Following law school, Elbel will pursue a career in public policy to engage in the legislative and regulatory process.
— Olivia Fazzino ’23 is a third-year student studying agricultural science in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications. Fazzino, a Bryan native, brings abundant passion and leadership experience. With a background in advancing and placing in state and National FFA Agriscience Conventions and Houston Livestock Shows, Fazzino exudes a strong commitment to the advancement and education of agriculture. Following graduation, Fazzino hopes to become an educator and teach the importance of agriculture.
— Allie Campbell ’24 is a sophomore studying agricultural communication and journalism in the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications department. Following her first visit, Canton native Campbell said she knew the College was a place where she could thrive. “All of the professors truly want you to succeed. They want to connect you with professionals with your similar interests,” Campbell said. “It is truly like a second family. The faculty and staff want to help you do your best and take you where you want to go.” Following graduation, Campbell will pursue law school to become a lawyer focusing on agricultural law and oil and gas.
— Abigail Tack ’23 is a junior from Humble studying animal science with a minor in business in the Department of Animal Science. Tack said her favorite part about the College is the friendly and encouraging atmosphere. “I love that the professors and faculty are all extremely involved in seeing you succeed as a student and a person,” Tack said. “It helps me feel like I have the resources to figure out what and how I am going to achieve my goals.” Once Tack receives her degree from the Department of Animal Science, she aspires to work in food production law and policy, focusing on more meat science and production.
— Presley Wirebaugh ’24 is a sophomore in the Department of Animal Science from New Braunfels. “One of the things I love the most about the College is the people,” Wirebaugh said. “You meet so many individuals from diverse backgrounds and make connections with them. There is a true sense of community within the College.” She uses those connections to further study and broaden her agricultural reach through opportunities and experiences. She has a natural passion for agricultural advocacy. She aspires to work with legislative officials to create policies to positively impact agriculture and natural resources industries.
— Ariana Lazo ’23 is a plant and environmental soil science major in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. A Pharr native, Lazo is currently the Texas A&M Agronomy Society’s vice president and the 2021 Students of Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Sciences vice president on the elected national officer team. “What I love the most about the College is that we have so many research opportunities for students,” Lazo said. She believes that encouraging discussions with people from various educational and cultural backgrounds will create a diverse community. This will lead to spreading awareness of the importance of agriculture. Later, Lazo plans to attend graduate school and pursue a master’s degree in soil science.
— Grace Bodine ’22 is a senior, majoring in plant and environmental soil science with a soil and water emphasis in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. An Austin native, she is a leader who is continually deepening her knowledge as an undergraduate research assistant, student worker, and the president of the Texas A&M Agronomy Society. “The thing I specifically love the most about the College is the people,” Bodine said. “I love learning, not only from the faculty but also from my fellow peers. With such a wide array of majors in the College, you get to learn about agriculture and life sciences through many different people and perspectives.” Bodine aspires to prioritize soil science and soil health in the U.S. and beyond by effectively communicating scientific topics. She plans to continue studying soils in her journey to then promote sustainable solutions for producers’ operations.
— Chris Barron ’24 is a Slidell, Louisiana, native, representing both the Departments of Soil and Crop Sciences and Biochemistry and Biophysics as a double major in plant and environmental soil science and biochemistry with a minor in genetics. During his summer, he traveled to Aberdeen, South Dakota, to intern with Agtegra Cooperative as a seed plot research and development intern. Barron has always had a fascination with gardening, thus leading to his interest in agriculture. He is an active member of the Student American Institute of Floral Design and the Agronomy Society. “I think that West Campus has the nicest buildings and outdoor spaces and the best advisors Barron said. “They all are interested in knowing you and your plans and not just worried about the classes that you need to take each semester to graduate.” Barron aspires to be a genetic scientist. He wants to develop corn varieties with improved drought tolerance and nutrient content, specifically for use in Sub-Saharan Africa. “My ultimate goal is to live in a world where food insecurity is no longer an issue. Altogether everyone can get the nutrients that they need every day,” he said.
— Abbey Pollok ’23 is a junior from Weatherford pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the Department of Food Science and Technology and a recent Southwest Meat Association Foundation Scholarship recipient. Pollok is fascinated by the chemistry of food, spending hours reading scientific articles on food engineering experiments. She has kept overall busy this year, conducting water sampling research in May and teaching at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service STEM camp in Harris County in June. Pollok recently initiated her own undergraduate research project on electron beam irradiation. “I love being in the College because I constantly interact with different departments to learn from the best specialists. Everyone in the College strives to assist and teach you in the best way they can. Pollok plans to pursue a microbiology doctorate, researching the effects of electron beam irradiation on foodborne pathogens.
— Shreya Veeravelli ’23 is from Dallas, entering her junior year as a Department of Food Science and Technology student. Veeravelli has a passion for improving the world and has found places that allow her to do just that. She previously worked as an intern for the Office of Sustainability at Texas A&M, where she critically evaluated all aspects of economic, environmental and social sustainability across campus. Veeravelli strives to get a graduate degree and eventually a doctorate. She wants to work within agricultural policy in the hopes that she can develop research solutions for sustainable agriculture. “What I love the most about the College is 100% the people,” Veeravelli said. “They are some of the most genuine people I have ever met. The professors truly care about you and want to help you with any questions or doubts you may have. Altogether, they want you to have that ultimate experience that will fuel your future ambitions. I have found that they will do whatever they can to help guide you along the way.”
— Allison Brenner ’23 a third-year Department of Food Science and Technology student from San Antonio, radiates aptitude and leadership. She is the current president of the Texas A&M Food Science Club, the 2021 Bon Longan Fund for Excellence in Food Technology Scholarship recipient, and a 2021 Longhorn Institute of Food Technologists Scholarship recipient. “I love the faculty and small class sizes the College affords me. As well as access to industry connections and opportunities,” Brenner said. She said she hopes to be a product developer for new food products. “I want to see our community grow and gain knowledge needed to lead the future of the food industry.”