Texas A&M University-Kingsville Six honored as distinguished students during winter commencement
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Six honored as distinguished students during winter commencement

Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2016

Six graduates at Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s winter commencement ceremony received the Distinguished Student Awards, sponsored by the Student Government Association.

To be nominated for the Distinguished Undergraduate Student Award, a student must be a graduating senior with no less than 60 credit hours earned at Texas A&M-Kingsville. The student must have at least a 3.4 grade point average and must be involved in extracurricular activities. The student also must have the endorsement of the dean of the college from which he/she receives a degree.

To be nominated for the Distinguished Graduate Student Award, the student must be graduating, have grade point average of at least 3.5 and have the endorsement of the college dean. 

            This winter’s recipients are:

  • Ana Chavez, Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences
  • Brittany Shea Underwood, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Tanguy Fabrice M. Kignima, College of Business Administration
  • Amanda Marie Zuniga, College of Education and Human Performance
  • Jaime Miguel Chapa Jr., Honors College
  • John Peter Leonard, College of Graduate Studies 

Ana Chavez of Corpus Christi, graduated with a degree in animal science, pre veterinary. She is a member of the Texas A&M Pre Veterinary Club, the Meat Judging Team, and SACNAS. She received the Rotary Club and Flournoy Hearts and Minds Scholarships. She has been on the Dean’s List and the President’s List. Chavez was a volunteer youth leader to the Girl Scouts of America in Corpus Christi. She also volunteers at the Tejas Veterinary Clinic in Corpus Christi. Chavez completed her course work with a 3.76 grade point average. 

Brittany Shea Underwood, from Edinburg, received a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders. During her time at Texas A&M-Kingsville, she has been secretary of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association and a member and community service chair for Delta Phi Epsilon. Underwood also is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor society, Golden Kay International Honor Society, Chikasha Holitoplichi Honors Program, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and the Order of Omega Greek Leadership Honor Society. She completed her studies with a 3.96 grade point average. 

Tanguy Fabrice M. Kignima lives in Kingsville, but hails from the Ivory Coast in West Africa. He received a degree in finance.  He served a founding member, treasurer, vice president and president of the Financial Management Association. Kignima was a founding member and vice president and head of committees for the Javelina Red Cross. He was a member of the Javelina Ambassadors, Delta Sigma Pi, Accounting Society, the National Society of Black Engineers and the International Students Fellowship. Kignima also was a member of Delta Mu Delta and the Golden Key Society and a representative to the Student Advisory Board of the College of Business Administration. While at Texas A&M-Kingsville, he received the Ed Rachal Fund Scholarship, College of Business Administration Scholarship, Farm Credit Bank of Texas Scholarship and the Ndaya National Fund Scholarship. He recently placed first in the Texas A&M University System 13th Annual Pathways Student Research Symposium. He graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. 

Amanda Marie Zuniga from Kingsville, received a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. She has worked for the Bishop Primary and Elementary Schools, Ricardo Elementary School and the Kingsville Child Development Center. She was recognized by Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities and made the President’s List. Zuniga was president and funding director for the Golden Key Society, vice president of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society and member of the Phi Delta Kappa Professional Organization for Educators. She also was a member of the Honors College. She graduated with a 3.97 grade point average. 

Jaime Miguel Chapa Jr. is from Kingsville and he received his bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in philosophy. He was a McNair Scholar, conducting research at the intersection of the philosophy of language and science. He attended a summer institute for diversity in philosophy at MIT and conducted research under the chair of the philosophy department at Harvard. Chapa received the Leadership Alliance SR EIP Fellowship, the McNair Undergraduate Research Scholars Scholarship. He also competed in the 30th Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research. He was president of the Philosophy and Professional Ethics Society, a member of the Honors College, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Psi Chi International Honor Society and a Student Government Association Senator. He had a grade point average of 3.76. 

John Peter Leonard of Washington received his doctorate in wildlife science. He has worked in the Fiji Islands with the United States Peace Corps and the International Pacific Halibut Commission in British Columbia, Canada. For his research assistantship, he studied endangered ocelots in South Texas under Dr. Michael Tewes, Regents Professor, from which he wrote a manual, Analyzing Wildlife Telemetry Data in R, to help his colleagues with data from GPS collars. Leonard also taught Principles of Wildlife Management to undergraduate students. He completed his doctorate with a 4.0 grade point average.


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