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Recognition Roundup 2020

The College of Liberal Arts is known for having highly-regarded faculty members and students. Here, we compiled just a few of the recent recognitions this semester.

2020 Gathright/Dean’s Excellence Award Winners

The Gathright and Dean’s Excellence Awards were created in collaboration between The Association of Former Students, LAUNCH: Academic Excellence, and the chapter of Phi Kappa Phi at Texas A&M University in order to help recognize and celebrate outstanding first and second-year students with exceptional promise.

To those who fulfilled the Phi Kappa Phi mission of “recognizing and promoting academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others,” the Texas A&M chapter of Phi Kappa Phi is pleased to announce the 2020 Excellence Award Winners! By year level, the College of Liberal Arts recipients are:

Aya Hobeika – Freshman Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award

Austin Biehle – Freshman Dean’s Excellence Award

Haley Frank – Freshman Honorable Mention


Essynce Lewis – Sophomore Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award

Ashlyn Chauhan – Sophomore Dean’s Excellence Award

Sophia North – Sophomore Honorable Mention

Annika Roberts – Sophomore Honorable Mention


Distinguished Dissertation Award Recipients 

Out of nearly 1,600 doctoral degrees awarded over the last two years, four awardees whose dissertations represent extraordinarily high-level scholarship and make a significant contribution to their field of study were honored this year with the Distinguished Dissertation Award.

These recipients have produced outstanding dissertations that represent the culmination of years of dedication and hard work. The College of Liberal Arts alumni are as follows:


Mary Reagan is a former doctoral student in the Department of English at Texas A&M University. Reagan’s dissertation, “Constructing Victorian Masculinity: The Academic Prize Book and the Etonian Leaving-Book,” is the fruit of her using innovative methods to research nineteenth century British literature, book history, and Victorian boyhood and masculinity.

Katherine Anne Calle Willyard is a former doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Texas A&M University. As a survey statistician with the United States Census Bureau, Willyard’s dissertation project, which received financial support from numerous sources including the National Science Foundation, examined the impact of organizational and community characteristics and regulatory factors on Texas oil and gas. 


Distinguished Graduate Student Awards

This year, the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies and the Association of Former Students granted eighteen graduate students the Distinguished Graduate Student Awards in one of two categories: Excellence in Research and Excellence in Teaching. The College of Liberal Arts recipients are as follows: 

Teaching Awards


This award is presented to superior classroom teachers: individuals whose command of their respective disciplines, methodologies, pervasive caring, communication skills, and commitment to the learning process exemplify the meaning of a teacher in its highest sense.

Chante Ajalon Anderson, Department of Communication, College of Liberal Arts

Faculty Advisor: Kristan Poirot

Michaela Baca, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts

Faculty Advisor: Nandra Perry

Kimberly Clough, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts

Faculty Advisor: Marian Eide

Felicia York, Department of Communication, College of Liberal Arts

Faculty Advisor: Lu Tang


U.S. Senator Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellowship Recipients 

Named for politician and Texas A&M University alum Phil Gramm, the titular U.S. Senator Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellowship was established to promote, encourage and reward outstanding teaching and research by doctoral students whose command of their respective disciplines exemplifies the meaning of scholarship and mentorship in the highest sense. 

This year, Graduate & Professional Studies will be honoring seven exceptional graduate student recipients of the Gramm Doctoral Fellowship. The College of Liberal Arts recipients, their departments and faculty advisors are as follows:


Michaela Baca, Department of English

Faculty Advisor: Nandra Perry

Kimberly Clough, Department of English

Faculty Advisor: Marian Eide


Presidential Impact and EDGES Fellowships 2020

Chancellor Enhancing Development and Generating Excellence in Scholarship (EDGES) Fellows

Launched in 2019, EDGES Fellowships were developed with resources from Chancellor John Sharp to honor mid-career faculty who are making significant marks in their discipline and who achieve national and international acclaim through their Texas A&M scholarship. EDGES Fellows retain the right to use the title throughout their tenure as faculty members in good standing. The College of Liberal arts fellows are as follows: 


Sonia Hernández, Associate Professor in history

Kenny Easwaran, Associate Professor in philosophy


Presidential Impact Fellows

Eleven Texas A&M faculty have been honored among the 2020 Presidential Impact Fellows. The fourth class of Presidential Impact Fellows joins more than 65 colleagues recognized in prior years with one of the most prestigious scholarly impact awards presented to Texas A&M faculty. 

The award was initiated by President Michael K. Young to recognize rising stars in their respective fields and those who embody the university’s commitment to advancing knowledge through transformational learning, discovery, innovation, and impact for Texas and the world. 

The 2020 Presidential Impact Fellows from the College of Liberal Arts include: 


Amy Earhart, Associate Professor of English 

Theresa Morris, Professor of Sociology


The Veteran’s Legacy Grant

The College of Liberal Arts’ own Patricia & Bookman Peters Professor in History Lorien Foote, in partnership with The National Cemetery Administration in the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, is part of a successful federal grant, The Veteran’s Legacy Grant. 

In a rare collaboration between colleagues in the colleges of Engineering, Geosciences, and Liberal Arts, Foote and Stacey Lyle of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering co-chair a campus advisory board. The board will bring together engineering, geography, and history students and faculty to collaborate on the use of drones to map the National Cemetery in Houston and create a 3-D interactive website that archives and shares veterans’ stories for research, education, and historical narratives. 


2020-21 Hagler Fellows

The Hagler Institute for Advanced Study was established in 2010 by the Board of Regents to build on the growing academic reputation of Texas A&M and provide a framework to attract top scholars from throughout the nation and abroad for appointments of up to a year.

Fellows are selected from among top scholars who have distinguished themselves through outstanding professional accomplishments or significant recognition. Of the ten Hagler Fellows for the Class of 2020-21, the College of Liberal Arts recipients are as follows:


Lena Cowen Orlin, Professor of English, Georgetown University

Orlin is an expert on private domestic life during the Renaissance and specializes in the works of Shakespeare, serving on editorial boards for the journals Shakespeare Studies and Shakespeare Survey and the publication series Oxford Shakespeare Topics and Arden Shakespeare State of Play.


Media Awards, Recognitions, and Projects

Elizabeth Cobbs, Melbern G. Glasscock Chair in American History, made a documentary called CyberWork and the American Dream, a film examining the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) in the nature of work in American life and culture. The film recently won both a Los Angeles Regional Emmy Award and an international Telly Award.

Angela Hudson, a history professor, has been awarded the 2020 Arrington-Prucha Prize from the Western History Association for her essay “There is no Mormon Trail of Tears: Roots, Removals, and Reconstructions.” The Arrington-Prucha Prize is awarded to the best essay on the religious history of the American West. 

Stephen J. O’Shea, a Texas A&M graduate, has been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner award for his recently published book From the Land of Genesis. It is a collection of short stories centered on veterans whose lives have been permanently affected by the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq that O’Shea began researching and writing during his time working with Marian Eide at Texas A&M. 

Amy Earhart, associate professor in the English department, has been asked to serve on the advisory board of “Scholar-Curated Worksets for Analysis, Re-use, and Dissemination,” a project with Hathitrust Research Center that recently received a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, whose funding will enable new methods for creating and analyzing digital collections, with an emphasis on historically under-resourced and marginalized communities.