Honors College graduate Bailey Phillips was accepted into nine fully funded PhD programs and has chosen to attend Texas A&M University in the fall after graduating with a bachelor’s of science double major in psychology and chemistry.
“It’s been exciting watching Bailey search for and discover her academic passion,” said Dean of the Honors College, Dr. Raymond Green. “I’ve had the pleasure to work with her on her Psychology honors thesis and regret that we couldn’t keep her in the discipline! However, I am certain that she will thrive in her chemistry doctoral program and look forward to seeing how she helps to change our world.”
Phillips may be ready to pursue chemistry now, but she originally did not have any intentions of majoring in the field. Phillips only began taking chemistry classes because she was interested in optometry. As she excelled in her classes, she was encouraged by a professor to assist in research and then later to work toward a minor. Eventually, she began to pursue a major.
Throughout her time as a student, Phillips immersed herself in the campus as a student athlete, playing soccer for two years, participating in chemistry club, and assisting in research in chemistry and psychology labs including research with Dr. Starnes, Dr. Headley and Dr. Pierce. Additionally she served as chemistry tutor in the JAMP room, which was originally funded by the Joint Admission Medical Program and now includes chemistry, biology, organic chemistry and physics.
“She has a very unique academic background. In my 16 years as a professor, I don’t recall another student who majored in both psychology and chemistry. Most students in chemistry pursue a minor or second major in another physical science such as biology or physics, or they pursue their minor or second major in mathematics. When I first met Bailey she was only a psychology major. So when she told me she also wanted to pursue a major in chemistry, I knew instantly that there was something unique about her. She has maintained a very strong academic record while pursuing a major in what is traditionally two difficult subject areas,” said Associate Professor in Chemistry Dr. Starnes. “Coupled with this she did it while being a student athlete during part of her studies. So obviously she has a very strong work ethic, internal drive and motivation. And on top of this she has a great personality. So considering everything, I was not the least bit surprised that she would be highly sought after by so many top graduate programs. I was very happy to see her apply broadly to graduate programs so that she would have multiple offers to choose from. Which is exactly what happened. Bailey is a fantastic student. I look forward to learning where she chooses to go and what she accomplishes in the future.”
Phillips believes that university professors, such as Dr. Starnes, made the difference at A&M-Commerce.
“Having professors that are willing to help you was huge, and I had a lot of other people in the chemistry area who helped me a lot,” said Phillips. “They’re good at identifying strengths.”
As an honors student, Phillips was required to complete 30 hours of honors course credits, maintain above a 3.3 grade point average, complete 96 service hours and successfully propose and defend an honors thesis. She completed her honors thesis in industrial and organizational psychology while being advised by Dr. Green.
The university and the Honors College are proud to have Phillips as an A&M-Commerce alumna.
Learn more about the Honors College at Texas A&M University-Commerce here.