Materials science and engineering advisor pays it forward

Friend, confidant, advisor, advocate. These words have long been used to describe the personality and drive Julianne (Jules) Henry encompasses in her every day work. As the sole academic advisor for more than 150 students in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, she has taken on any necessary roles for each person that walks through her door.

“Jules is one of the reasons I attended Texas A&M,” said Wesley Higgins, current graduate student in the department. “She gave me a one-on-one recruitment experience to the materials science and engineering department, showing me everything Texas A&M has to offer. She strives to see every one of the students in our department succeed.”

While Henry’s job description is but one small piece of what her normal day entails, students find her dedication and compassion unmatchable.

“This unswerving loyalty is truly awe-inspiring, as Jules gives limitless grace and mercy to those around her,” said Evan Prehn, current graduate student. “She not only respects Aggieland and its traditions, but she also shows the upmost respect for each student. She sacrifices time and energy for students, staff and faculty around her on a daily basis.”

Henry recently received the 2017 Kunze Award from the Graduate and Professional Student Council.

Jules Henry receives 2017 Kunze Award“This award is an annual achievement award that recognizes a faculty or staff member of Texas A&M University that has made outstanding contributions to the success and prosperity of the welfare of a graduate student or group of students,” said Paul Taele, 2016 president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council. “Based on the nominations we received from students, it was very clear that [Jules is] extremely deserving of the values this award stands for.”

Although she is humbled to have been selected as the first staff member to receive this award, she finds greater satisfaction in knowing she has positively impacted the lives of the students she interacts with.

“I want to inspire others to have faith in their capabilities to achieve their life goals,” Henry said. “I feel the reason I have that desire is because I did not have the best experience with advisors when I was in school. Many times I found myself experiencing conversations of doubts, when all I needed to hear were my options.”

Henry remembers two distinct conversations that shaped her growth and development during her undergraduate and graduate studies.  For one, a business law professor encouraged her to go outside her comfort zone and try something new. Her advice to her was, “Success is not a matter of where you stand, but what direction you are moving.” The words spoken that day shaped her outlook on life. Henry is reminded to heed these words that drive her, and strongly wants to pay that impact forward to others.

This motivation to continue impacting students has resulted in eight nomination letters detailing the numerous occurrences she has impacted those she serves regularly.

She takes every student under her wing and helping through whatever process or event life throws at them. Her commitment to seeing every student succeed exudes the enthusiasm she has when one reaches their goals.

“Jules’ dedication for the success of our students tremendously impacted the department and our students are much happier than before,” said Dr. Ibrahim Karaman, Chevron professor and head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “Her recruitment efforts help increase the number of students in the department more than 30 percent and the number of domestic students has doubled since she joined the department.”

“I have these day-to-day interactions with people, but I did not think I was making any kind of impact,” Henry said. “As I continue to learn about each of our students, they inspire me to do better. As a result of this, there is something inside me that feels more ‘complete’ due to having passed on a piece of myself and my mentors’ energy to the future generations. In the most humbling of moments, the Kunze Award is an honor and a responsibility for me to carry forward.”