On Aug. 10, Elizabeth Shaw graduated from Texas A&M University-Commerce, becoming the first member of the university’s Regents’ Scholars Program to do so. Shaw, an English major with a 3.57 GPA, was one of 25 students admitted to the inaugural cohort of the program in 2010.
For standout freshmen, the Regents’ Scholars Program provides four-year scholarships that cover 70 percent of tuition, fees, room and board. The students pursue bachelor’s degrees while receiving leadership training, advocating student travel and engaging themselves with international issues and global cultures in their communities and overseas.
The program includes a rigorous tiered curriculum that, according to Shaw’s adviser, Jennifer Hudson, asks students to expand their comfort zones rather than step out of them.
“These students take classes others shy away from. They are mindful of not only local and campus communities, but how day-to-day actions affect the other seven billion people around the world. When they graduate, we hope each one knows the world is so much bigger than they imagined,” said Hudson.
Shaw, a native of Graham, Texas, and a graduate of North Hopkins High School, has had many opportunities to go far as a member of the program. Equipped with two semesters of study in the Spanish and German languages, Shaw has pursued her academic interests – which include a focus on history, grief and their ties to memory – in London, Paris and Bayeux, France, and Munich. She has also explored the recognition of World War II losses while immersed in German society.
“My favorite part of being a Regents’ Scholar was learning to be a global citizen, learning about the various aspects of leadership and seeing my peers develop as global citizens as well,” said Shaw.
A member of the English honor society Sigma Tau Delta and the International Dean’s List Society, Shaw will continue her studies at A&M-Commerce in the joint MA/PhD program in the department of Literature and Languages where she hopes to teach while further investigating memory and grief.
The Regents’ Scholars Program, which works to close the gap between the number of available student awards and student interest in the university, has made it possible for more undergraduates like Shaw to reap the benefits of attending A&M-Commerce. With the success of the first three classes of the program, 35 students will join the university in the fourth cohort this fall.
“It is the type of growth we thought would take years and years to accomplish. We are moving from a period of experimentation with our student programming, leadership training and foreign travel into a period where we work to perfect the students’ experience and sustain quality into the future,” said Hudson.
Hudson and Dr. Ricky Dobbs, dean of the University College and director of the Regents’ Scholars Program, said that increasing student input to the program shows its efficacy.
“It is producing thoughtful, informed and effective young people who will make a difference in the world,” said Hudson. “We may teach the classes or travel with them, but it’s their hard work and high academic achievement that makes the program what it is. We hope that we have instilled in each of them not only a strong bond with the program but an allegiance to the institution.”
For more about the Regents’ Scholars Program, visit http://j.mp/143gIxX.