Texas A&M University-Texarkana has recently announced the 2023 honorees for the upcoming Eagle Roundup, scheduled for October 5th. The Eagle Roundup will take place on the A&M-Texarkana campus and will begin at 6:30 p.m. The event will feature live music, a silent auction, and a BBQ dinner. Tickets to the event are $45 each and all proceeds go towards student scholarships at the university.
The 2023 Distinguished Alumni recipients are Kashandra Murphy, Jill Whittington, and Chase Brewster. The 2023 Distinguished Faculty member is Dr. Corrine Hinton and the A&M-Texarkana Spirit Award winner is Mel Walsh. The 2023 Emerging Alumni Award, given to a recent graduate who is already making a significant impact in their field, will be presented to Victor Pulida-Rojas.
Kashandra Murphy, Distinguished Alumni- Kashandra Murphy completed her bachelor’s degree in general studies from Texas A&M University-Texarkana in 2010 and earned her Master of Curriculum and Instruction degree from A&M-Texarkana in 2014. She holds EC-6 Generalist and EC-12 Special Education certifications and holds a graduate certificate in dyslexia therapy. Kashandra is currently a 5th grade English Language-Arts teacher at Kilpatrick Elementary in the Texarkana Arkansas School District. “I believe everyone deserves to receive the best education possible, regardless of their learning ability. Helping children discover their skills, talents, and gifts has always been my passion,” she said.
Kashandra has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work in education, including twice being named the Teacher of the Year for her campus. For 2022-2023 she was named Teacher of the Year for Harmony Leadership Academy, Teacher of the Year for the Texarkana Arkansas School District, and was a regional finalist for the Arkansas Teacher of the Year award.
Outside of the classroom she enjoys spending time with her family and watching her daughter Kaydence, an Arkansas High School Freshman, perform with the AHS Redline. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Park Avenue Baptist Church. She is involved in numerous community outreach programs and chairs the Londell and Mary Williams Scholarship Committee.
Jill Whittington, Distinguished Alumni- Jill Whittington completed her Master of Science in Business Administration from Texas A&M University-Texarkana in 2011 and is currently employed there as the university’s Compliance Director. She also holds Bachelor of Science in Material Science and Engineering from Georgia Tech.
Jill played a critical role in the university’s response to and navigation through the Covid-19 pandemic, helping to keep the campus safe and to calm the nerves of anxious students, parents, faculty, and staff. She is a proud supporter of Texas A&M University Athletics and can frequently be found at many university sporting events.
Throughout her career she has spent a great deal of time in service to her community. She served on the board of the A&M-Texarkana Alumni Association, including a two-year term as board president. She has served on the board and is a past president of the Literacy Council, served on the board of Leadership Texarkana, and on the board of the Junior League of Texarkana. She was actively involved as a Volunteer in Public Schools with Texarkana Independent School District, served as a Junior Achievement instructor, and trained to serve as a sanctioned swim meet official when COVID-19 led to a shortage of available officials.
When not working Jill enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and cheering for her beloved Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Chase Brewster, Distinguished Alumni- Chace Brewster, a graduate of Texas High School, earned his Bachelor of Science in criminal justice degree from Texas A&M University-Texarkana in 2011. Chase is thankful for his time at A&M-Texarkana and is an outspoken advocate for the university to the many young men and women he works with through Sticks Baseball and Softball.
Chase is the owner and founder of Sticks Baseball and Sticks Softball, which are based in Texarkana. Since 2017 his program has seen 540 athletes commit to play college baseball and 53 who were drafted by Major League Baseball teams. Chase was an Associate Scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2015-2020 and is currently the head coach of the Chicago White Sox Scout Team.
Chase and his wife Alisha are active members of Oasis Church in Texarkana, and he works closely with several youth sports associations, including the Texas High Youth Tigers Association, Texarkana Youth Athletics, and the BeLikeCJ Foundation. He is in the process of establishing the Chase Brewster Foundation through which he intends to continue giving back to the community.
Victor Pullido-Rojas, Emerging Alumni- Victor Pullido-Rojas completed his Master of Education in Education Leadership degree at Texas A&M University-Texarkana in December 2022. Victor is also currently finishing his Texas Superintendents Certification with A&M-Texarkana and will complete those studies in December 2023.
Victor began his career in education as a substitute teacher at the De Queen, AR Primary School in 2014. He worked as a substitute teacher and paraprofessional at the primary, middle school, and high school in De Queen until 2019. During that time, he assisted as a tutor, administered college readiness exams like the ACT and ACT Aspire, and served as a Spanish interpreter for the district.
He began his full-time classroom teaching career in 2019 at Westlawn Elementary School in Texarkana, where he taught 4th grade math and science while continuing work to boost student engagement and continuing to volunteer as a Spanish interpreter. He has also taught 6th grade science and social studies at Texas Middle School, as well as Economics, Government, and World History at Pleasant Grove High School.
In addition to his classroom duties Victor has served on The Pleasant Grove High School Guiding Coalition, the Leadership Action Team for Leader in Me, the Social Studies Curriculum Writing Team at Texas Middle School, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for TISD, as well as the Strategic Planning Committee and Technology Action Team for TISD.
The first member of his family to hold a graduate degree, Victor believes that the well being of our communities depends on a strong public education system. He cares deeply about students and teachers.
Dr. Corrine Hinton, Distinguished Faculty- Corrine Hinton, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of English (tenured) and the Chair of the Department of Arts, Communications, Media, and English at Texas A&M University-Texarkana. She began her career at A&M-Texarkana as an Assistant Professor of English in 2013, where she currently teaches multiple courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
Dr. Hinton holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and a Ph.D. in English from Saint Louis University. Her doctoral dissertation was titled “The Experiences of Marine Student Veterans in Undergraduate Composition Courses: A Phenomenological Study.”
During her time at A&M-Texarkana Dr. Hinton has become both a beloved professor to her students and a highly respected colleague not only to her fellow faculty members, but to the greater university community as well. Her innovative teaching practices foster intellectual curiosity and growth in her students. Her ability to connect with them personally inspires them to think more critically and creatively…skills that will benefit them long after completing their coursework in her classes.
Dr. Hinton’s work outside the classroom is both extensive and impressive. Her scholarly work includes dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, other publications, and conference presentations. Her teaching and scholarly work have led to her multiple awards, honors, and recognitions. She has served on numerous committees in positions of leadership, including the faculty senate where she has served as both the Vice-President and President, and is heavily involved with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and its work with military caregivers, where she was named a Fellow in 2017.
Mel Walsh- A&M-Texarkana Spirit Award- Each year Texas A&M University-Texarkana recognizes a member of the community for their support of and involvement with the university. The recipient of the A&M-Texarkana Spirit Award for 2023 is Mel Walsh. Mel is very involved with the Women for Texas A&M University-Texarkana and currently serves on the organization’s board. She is a fixture at A&M-Texarkana events both on campus and throughout the community and is a tireless advocate for the university. She serves the university as an unofficial but highly effective ambassador, recruiting potential students everywhere she goes. As a registered nurse, Mel understands the value of higher education and supports both the university and its students in immeasurable ways.
“It is our privilege to celebrate the accomplishments of our honored alumni, faculty, and University friends,” said A&M-Texarkana President Dr. Ross Alexander. “Their professional accomplishments, service to the community, and commitment to the University exemplify what it means to be an A&M-Texarkana Eagle. We commend them all!”
The presenting sponsor for the event is Farmers Bank & Trust. For additional information about the 2023 Eagle Roundup contact Brooklyn Jones, Development Officer at 903-334-6732 or email@example.com. Tickets for the event can be purchased online at www.tamut.edu/roundup.