Freshman says ENGAGE Summer Camp inspired him to become an Aggie engineer

Bryson

Bryson Keal first stepped foot on the Texas A&M University campus the summer before his junior year when he attended an ENGAGE Summer Camp with Carver High School, an ENGAGE partner school in Houston.

A video game enthusiast with a knack for taking things apart and putting them back together, Keal had already made up his mind that he wanted to some day pursue an engineering degree.

The Dwight Look College of Engineering made that dream become a reality.

The ENGAGE Summer Camp is a six-day residential summer camp program designed for underrepresented students who show an interest in science, mathematics and engineering. Through tours, tutorials, project design, laboratory work and competitions, ENGAGE Summer Camp students get a glimpse of what their life could be like as an engineering student at Texas A&M.

“Honestly, before ENGAGE, I had no idea where I wanted to go to college,” Keal said. “I understood the fact that they [Access and Inclusion] were working with us to give us an opportunity to visit the school.

“Because they were working so hard to show us what A&M was all about, teaching us how things are here and making sure we had fun, I felt it would be against my better judgment not to go here.”

 Getting to Texas A&M

Originally, Keal thought he might pursue a degree in music. An accomplished violinist, he enjoys playing everything from classical to popular music in his free time.

“There aren’t very many opportunities today for good paying jobs in music,” he said. “With engineering, there are a lot of opportunities out there.”

However, it’s not about money, he said.

“I plan to enjoy life,” he said. “If I’m going to enjoy life, I’d rather do something that I can get paid for, that I can live off.”

Keal’s father is an electrical engineer, and he said his family is very proud of him for pursuing his dreams. Many of his family members haven’t had the opportunity to go to college.

“I came here because not only was it the first college to take an interest in me, but it also has one of the most well-respected engineering programs in the United States,” he said.

Inspiring the next generation

It’s only been a few months since Keal left his home in Houston and became a college student, but that hasn’t stopped him from stepping up to inspire the next generation.

Access and Inclusion, the engineering program that hosts the ENGAGE Summer Camp, also hosts fall and spring invitationals. The ENGAGE Invitationals are one-day, on-campus events for Texas high school students from underrepresented populations. The students tour campus and engineering labs, meet with faculty and students and participate in hands-on engineering activities.

Keal has begun helping with these invitationals, by participating as a student panelist, hosting parents and students, and soon, after training, he will be teaching activities. He hopes more students like him will decide to follow their dreams, and as a result, create a more diverse engineering field.

To Keal, increasing diversity isn’t just about changing the ethnic fabric of a particular field, it’s about transforming the collective experience of engineers to create a better future.

“It’s not the ethnicity that matters,” he said. “It’s that person’s life experience. You can bring something different to the table, and it could be the next greatest thing.” 

To learn more about ENGAGE programs, contact Dr. Sonia Garcia, senior director of Access and Inclusion, at accessengineering@tamu.edu, or visit the program's website.