Engineering Honors selects students for inaugural executive committee


The Dwight Look College of Engineering’s Engineering Honors program has selected 18 engineering honors students for its inaugural executive committee. 

The Engineering Honors program provides students the opportunity to interact with other high achieving students and with honors faculty, creating a community of scholars that combines the benefits of a small college with the resources of a major research institution. Honors students have access to priority registration, undergraduate research, honors courses, specialized advising and other benefits. Currently, more than 800 students throughout the college are part of the program.

The Engineering Honors program was recently redesigned to be more engaging and to provide discipline-specific programming and advising. This is accomplished by having students follow major-specific tracks, each led by a department coordinator who is a top researcher and teacher, that have been designed by the departments to include discipline-specific activities and requirements that are most suitable for their students. 

"I am very much looking forward to working with the executive committee,” said Dr. Nancy M. Amato, Sr. Director of Engineering Honors Programs and Unocal Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. “Although they have only been in place for just over a month, they have already had significant impact. I can't wait to see what they will accomplish next during their first full semester on the job.''

The executive committee will provide the student perspective on strengthening the Engineering Honors program and act as representatives throughout the college. The committee members will serve a public relations role with students, stakeholders and the engineering community.

Within the program, the committee provides insight on ways to develop the honors community and to enrich the program. An example of this would be additional professional development opportunities. The committee will also assist with additional Engineering Honors programming and events.

“Engineering Honors has already given me opportunity for undergraduate research in a subject of my dreams: ion propulsion for interstellar space exploration,” said Bryton Praslicka. “I hope to share with future Aggies and future Engineering Honors students my experience so as to bring more to an enriching educational experience.”

The students selected for the executive committee are: Elvin Bonilla (general engineering), Jonathan Carpency (chemical engineering), Sahil Dhanju (computer engineering), David Franklin (mechanical engineering), Kevin Kmetz (general engineering), Edward Leber (aerospace engineering), Austin Lu (biomedical engineering), Gabriel Lugo (general engineering), Vishal Modi (general engineering), Edgar Oviedo (electrical engineering), Bryton Praslicka (general engineering), Andrew Salazar (general engineering), Christian Sifuentes (general engineering), Nian Wei Tan (petroleum engineering), Philip Vanesky general engineering), Victoria Wei (general engineering), Luke Weissler (petroleum engineering) and Sean Whitney (aerospace engineering).

Students went through a nomination and application process to be selected for the inaugural committee. The committee will be charged with developing bylaws that will describe the roles and responsibilities of the executive committee, determining how future committee members will be selected and what the terms of their service will be.

“Engineering Honors students represent some of the best Texas A&M has to offer,” said Sean Whitney. “Our duty is to [help them] develop, especially in the face of a growing engineering student population.”


Top row, left to right:
Christian Sifuentes (ENGR), Craig Brown, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Bray Controls, Inc., Philip Vanesky (ENGR), Andrew Salazar (ENGR), Kevin Kmetz (ENGR), David Franklin (MEEN), Dr. Jack Rodden, Vice President & Treasurer, Tribune Media Company, Chris Curran, Principal and Chief Technologist, PwC LLP

Bottom row, left to right:
Dr. Sumana Datta, Assistant Provost, Undergraduate Studies; Executive Director, LAUNCH; Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Dr. Jennifer Welch, Regents Professor, Chevron Professor II; EH Department Coordinator, Computer Science and Engineering, Stephanie Hertzog, VP & Production Equipment Product Line Director, Exterran, Stephen Horn, Managing Partner, Ronin Partners LLC, Austin Lu (BMEN), Sahil Dhanju (CSCE), Dennis M. Wittry, Senior Principal Walter P. Moore and Associates, Dr. Nancy M. Amato, Unocal Professor, Co-Director Parasol Lab, Department of Computer Science and Engineering; Senior Director, Engineering Honors Program; EH Department Coordinator, Computer Science and Engineering, Pauline Wade, EH Program Coordinator

Executive committee members not pictured:
Elvin Bonilla, Jonathan Carpency, Edward Leber, Gabriel Lugo, Vishal Modi, Edgar Oviedo, Nian Wei Tan, Victoria Wei, Luke Weissler, Sean Whitney