A&M-Texarkana students win top awards at 14th Annual Pathways Symposium

Dr. Credence Baker, chair of The Texas A&M University System’s 14th Annual Pathways Symposium , presents Esther Pippins (right) with the first-place award in the master’s level division for her research project in education at The Texas A&M University System’s 14th Annual Pathways Symposium.

Three Texas A&M University-Texarkana students brought home awards from The Texas A&M University System’s 14th Annual Pathways Symposium Nov. 2-3 at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.


Esther Pippins of Texarkana, Texas, won first place in the master’s level division for her research project in education. Hollis Thompson of Texarkana, Texas, won second place in the undergraduate humanities division, and Jonathan Nonmacher of Houston, Texas, took second place in the undergraduate business and computer information systems division.


Nine students presented their academic research at the event, which provides students with opportunities to showcase their research efforts, network with faculty, gain exposure to graduate and post-graduate opportunities, and form lasting collaborative relationships for future research.


“Pathways focused on student research, and I was very impressed with the rigor, quality and sophistication of all of the projects,” said Dr. Gaynell Green, associate professor and program coordinator for Adult and Higher Education and the Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, who served as faculty adviser to Pippins and Leira Moore of Redwater, Texas, and as co-adviser to Sydney Steed with Dr. Sara Lawrence, Quality Enhancement Plan director. “There was great representation from most of the system schools.  It was a great experience for our students and good for the faculty to see what research other schools were doing with students.  I certainly do think that faculty should attend this with students each year.”


Nonmacher said his research project focused on his experiential learning opportunity at Tri-State Iron & Metal in Texarkana.


“I had an opportunity to intern at Tri-State over the summer,” he said. “The internship provided me with real-world business experience that I was able to showcase to the judges and participants. The internship was extremely beneficial, and I’m excited that I had an opportunity to share the results of my experiences.”


Students Lara Jolley of Hooks, Texas, and Alisa Robinson of Texarkana, Texas, with the University Honors program were advised by Brandon Quaid, instructor of biology. Dr. Angela Sikorski, associate professor of psychology, served as adviser to Gabby Thompson of Atlanta, Texas, who represented the College of Arts, Sciences and Education. Dr. Fawad Rauf, visiting professor of electrical engineering, advised Nonmacher, as well as Ashley Gilmore of New Boston, Texas, who also represented the College of Business, Engineering and Technology.


“Encouraging students to see that their work can have a life and influence beyond our classroom walls is a constant challenge, and Pathways 2017 was a welcome opportunity to showcase that idea,” said Joe Burzynski, assistant professor of English, who served as Hollis Thompson’s adviser. “At the very least, the symposium was a great opportunity to showcase A&M-Texarkana’s expanding support for undergraduate research opportunities.”


Teacher preparation student Steed of Texarkana, Texas, said, “Teachers must learn for students to learn,” adding that the Pathways Symposium was a wonderful experience.


Dr. Nancy Jordan, associate provost, said, “We are proud of our student-researchers who represented us at the research symposium. Our students gain many direct and indirect benefits from conducting research. Students learn more about their chosen fields and gain valuable insights in their future work environments. Some students catch the research bug and continue on to graduate studies where they contribute to the body of knowledge of their field through their research. Students learn important life skills such as setting goals, planning projects, working in teams, and managing their time. Finally, students gain confidence and a sense of accomplishment from completing their projects and making professional presentations.”


The Pathways Symposium was open to all Texas A&M University System students with separate categories for undergraduate, master’s and doctoral level research.



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