By Marisa Rios ’17
Dr. Jack Nation was an esteemed and significant faculty member in the Department of Psychology for more than 30 years until his death in 2008. Throughout his long career, he conducted research on learning, the effects of heavy metals on behavior and emotionality, and neurotoxicology in relation to drug abuse. Through his innovative teaching, mentorship, and research work, Nation had a positive impact on thousands of Texas A&M University students, and one of those students was Michael Shahnasarian ’81.
Shahnasarian came to Texas A&M to earn his master’s degree in psychology after receiving his bachelor’s degree in the same field from Indiana University. Nation was a mentor to Shahnasarian, as he was to so many graduate students.
When Psychology created the Jack Nation Outstanding Senior Award in 2013, Shahnasarian provided the department with a gift to help fund the awards for the immediate future while also creating a planned gift endowment to eventually fund the award in perpetuity. The Jack Nation Award is presented annually to the most outstanding graduating senior in psychology and includes a $1,000 cash award.
Besides honoring Nation’s legacy, Shahnasarian said the goal of giving back to the College of Liberal Arts was to support and encourage high-impact and experiential learning opportunities for psychology students.
“My hope would be that other students have an opportunity to benefit from it, as well as faculty, and that the program will continue to be committed to enriching the experiences that students have beyond the classroom,” he said.
After receiving his master’s degree from Texas A&M, Shahnasarian worked as a correctional counselor at a Chicago prison before going back to school for his doctorate in psychology at Florida State University. After finishing his third psychology degree, he decided to stay in Florida and made his dream of opening his own private practice a reality by establishing Career Consultants of America, Inc. in 1985.
Running the business has allowed Shahnasarian to travel all over the world and help a wide range of people with serious issues related to career development and earning wages. Despite the challenges of establishing and growing his own practice, his passion for his work continues to motivate him.
“We help people,” he said. “That’s why I went into psychology in the first place is because I wanted to be in a ‘helping’ profession.”
With this service-minded attitude that is prevalent among Aggies, it’s no surprise Shahnasarian chose to honor his mentor Nation by helping future Texas A&M students and the College of Liberal Arts.
With more than 7,500 undergraduates pursuing a Liberal Arts degree, undergraduate student support now is more valuable than ever. Your partnership affords our students the opportunity to participate in collaborative learning experiences, which help us recruit and retain top-performing students.
For questions and information about major gifts, please contact Senior Director of Development Larry J. Walker II at email@example.com or 979.458.1304.