Residence Life Recognizes Faculty, Staff and Students for Academic and Leadership Excellence

The Department of Residence Life recognized eight Texas A&M University students and their faculty and staff mentors during its inaugural Honoring Excellence Awards Ceremony, held on campus this semester.

The award process recognizes on-campus students who have demonstrated academic and leadership excellence, including those who achieve Distinguished Student status (Student Rule 11), and gives these students the opportunity to nominate faculty and staff members for awards. This year’s ceremony honored seven faculty, one staff member, eight academic peer mentors, and on-campus residents who achieved Distinguished Student status.

“For the fall 2017 semester, we had 280 on-campus residents excluding the Corps of Cadets achieve Distinguished Student status” said Bonnie McDonough, administrative coordinator for Academic Support Initiatives and one of the event coordinators. McDonough continued, “these distinguished students are recognized at the event with a plated meal and certificate of achievement.”

With Distinguished Students as the audience, Residence Life also recognized eight academic peer mentors as they obtained the first and/or second levels of a three-tier certification program. The three levels of certification offered are: regular certification, advanced certification, and master certification. In order to complete the first level, academic peer mentors must accumulate over 50 certification hours, and must log over 75 hours of direct mentor time with students for level two. Master certification requires a total of 100 logged hours of student interaction and is the highest level offered by the College Reading and Learning Association.

This certification component is built into fall and spring APM training, regular staff meetings, and additional commitments that are the responsibility of the peer mentor to complete. For instance, many of the certification requirements asked for theory-to-practice reflections or for APMs to complete training worksheets. We are excited to share that the following academic peer mentors received their regular certification:

  • Princess Draine ’20, Biology, Sugar Land, Texas
  • Danielle Godfrey ’20, Chemical Engineering, El Paso, Texas
  • Alexander Lockaby, Electrical Engineering, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Enrique Lopez-Ramirez ’20, University Studies, El Paso, Texas
  • Celeste Lundy ’20, Chemical Engineering, Houston, Texas
  • Olivia Martin ’19, Accounting, San Antonio, Texas
  • Ryan McColley-Perez ’19, Sport Management, San Antonio, Texas
  • Helena Rodriguez ’20, University Studies, Bellaire, Texas

Danielle Godfrey, in her first year as an academic peer mentor, also completed the requirements for the advanced certification. As a cohort, the academic peer mentors awarded at the Honoring Excellence Ceremony contributed to almost 470 hours of direct on-campus student mentorship hours.

The ceremony also included a faculty and staff recognition component. The Honoring Excellence awards are presented to outstanding faculty and staff members each year who go above and beyond, both inside and outside their classroom/positions to impact student learning and academic success.

Eight recipients were selected by a committee of faculty, staff and students from a competitive pool of 128 nominations. What makes this award unique is that student nominators are invited to present their recipient with the award.

“The nominees received one of the greatest honors they could,” said Chareny Rydl, director of Residence Life, “by receiving recognition from the students that they serve. It is a great honor when students go out of their way during a busy semester to write on your behalf. It was wonderful to hear the impact our faculty and staff have on our residents’ academic success.”

Student nominators shared themes of going above and beyond to focus on learning not memorization, a personal approach to education, and easing transitions to college. With that, the following faculty and staff members were presented with the 2018 Honoring Excellence Award:

  • Angela Allen, Instructional Assistant Professor, Mathematics
  • William Collopy, Lecturer, History
  • Don Curtis, Assistant Dean, Public Health Studies
  • Michael Douglas, Facilities Coordinator, Mechanical Engineering
  • JoungDong Kim, Instructional Assistant Professor, Mathematics
  • Duncan MacKenzie, Associate Professor, Biology
  • Tony McDonald, Assistant Professor, Industrial Engineering
  • Dwight Roblyer, Lecturer, Political Science

After the inaugural Honoring Excellence Awards Ceremony, Rydl shared with guests that she was “looking forward to a new tradition of recognizing faculty, staff and on-campus students.”

To learn more about the Honoring Excellence Awards Ceremony, contact Dustin Grabsch at (979) 862-9172 or If you are interested in supporting Texas A&M’s Honoring Excellence Awards Ceremony or other programs within the Division of Student Affairs, contact Torii Kapavik at (979) 845-4728 or

Story by Dustin Grabsch
Program Manager, Residence Life & Housing
Department of Residence Life