Trey Bodwin ’13, a communications major from Dallas, has his sights set on being a company spokesperson someday. He says he wants to be the person that can be counted on to calm the waters during a crisis. He certainly displays the skills and qualities one would expect to see in a spokesperson. He is articulate, sincere, and quietly enthusiastic. And when he recounts the events that nearly quashed his dream of attending Texas A&M, he also displays the poise and grace under pressure a leader needs during a crisis.
As he tells it, Bodwin was on track to realize his dream of enrolling at Texas A&M. He was in the top 10% of his class. His application was submitted. All he needed to do was receive his acceptance letter, finish his senior year of high school, and register for a New Student Conference.
But the acceptance letter never arrived. What Bodwin charitably describes as an administrative error caused one of his high school’s counselors to recommend that Texas A&M rescind his acceptance letter. Bodwin had worked hard to fulfill his “personal commitment” to become an Aggie. He had made repeated visits to the Prospective Student Center in Arlington. He had hit the books hard in order to earn a place at Texas A&M. But in the spring semester of his senior year, all that work looked as though it would be for naught when the letter was rescinded.
A stunned Bodwin moved ahead. He had been accepted to Texas Tech, which was still a significant achievement. After all, few of his peers went on to attend four year institutions, much less major research universities. Although disappointed that he wouldn’t be spending the next four years in Aggieland, Bodwin made plans to attend school in Lubbock the following fall.
Then, Bodwin says, he got to “experience firsthand what the Aggie Network and Aggie Spirit are all about.” Someone at Texas A&M had gone to bat for him. He’s not exactly sure who, but he thinks the relationships he built with staff members at the Prospective Student Center served him well.
It was too late to offer him full admission, but Bodwin was offered provisional admittance through the Aggie Gateway to Success program. He again went to work. “If this was the only option I was going to have (to get into A&M) then of course I was going to go with it,” he says.
He attended the second summer session in College Station and far exceeded the grade requirements to gain full admission in the fall semester. In typically philosophical fashion, he even sees participation in the Gateway program as “a blessing.” It gave him the opportunity to acclimate to college life, and with few distractions during the summer he was able to focus on school and build relationships with academic advisors. By the time the fall semester rolled around, he knew what it would take to succeed in college.
And succeed he has. His fraternity brothers in Alpha Phi Alpha have pushed him to excel in his coursework, and he has been an active participant in campus life. He became an ExCEL team leader his sophomore year, and the experience led him to more opportunities. “After ExCEL I thought, ‘that was cool, so what else can I do?’” he says. He went on to leadership positions with the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference, and the Aggie Experience Council as well as in Alpha Phi Alpha.
He believes those leadership positions have been as important to his education as his classroom work. “The two (coursework and involvement) work together,” he says. “My involvement allows me to apply what I learn in the classroom, and I can also relate what I learn through involvement to my work in class.”
In May, 2013 Bodwin was awarded the Buck Weirus Spirit Award in recognition of his accomplishments as a leader and student. He says that he is “still surprised” by the honor. “People tell me I’ve done a lot of things, but I don’t feel like it,” he says. “I feel like I’ve had a lot of opportunities thrown my way.”
For Bodwin it all comes back to one of the qualities that attracted him to Texas A&M in the first place: the Aggie Core Value of Selfless Service. “It’s not about giving to get something in return,” he says. “It’s about giving to help someone else out. I’m just trying to be an example.”
Bodwin has already begun practicing work as a spokesperson. He has worked at the MSC information desk, meaning he was often the first face greeting visitors when they entered the building, and he has led tours and hosted visitors for the Aggie Experience Council. Fueled by the gratitude he expresses towards those Aggies who went out of their way to help him make it to Aggieland, Bodwin will undoubtedly continue to be an ambassador for Texas A&M. “Anything I can do for Texas A&M, I’ll do it,” he says.
For more on the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference visit http://sbslc.tamu.edu.
For more about the Aggie Experience Council visit http://aec.tamu.edu.
For more about Alpha Phi Alpha visit http://www.thepotentpio.com/home.html.
Eric Blodgett, Communications Coordinator
Memorial Student Center