Montgomery Award

The Montgomery Award is funded with income from an endowment and in recent years went to the President of the Graduate and Professional Student Government. Since the GPSC President now receives a full graduate assistant stipend with tuition support, the Graduate and Professional School felt it appropriate to award the Montgomery Prize to another student leader whose service has also postively impacted the larger Texas A&M graduate student body. Students eligible for the Montgomery Award are student leaders making major contributions to the academic opportunities and quality of life of their fellow graduate students here at Texas A&M. Whether through demonstrated leadership in international students groups or service organizations, students must show their dedication to serving Aggie graduate students in addition to excellent academics and scholarship.

Nomination Guidelines

Deadline for Submission: 5pm on Friday, April 16, 2021 CDT

About the Award

  • In past award years, the Montgomery Award was presented at the GPSG Banquet in late-April. This year, it will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm CDT.

The awardee will receive a:

  • personalized award plaque

  • fellowship in the amount of $1,000 (credited to your TAMU student account)


Requirements consideration by review committee

  1. Student must be currently enrolled as a full-time graduate student (≥ 9 hours) and in good academic standing (all GPR’s ≥ 3.0).

  2. Student must be a current student leader of a recognized graduate student organization or have served in such capacity in the current or previous academic year; this includes:

    • (University) Graduate and Professional Student Government officers (excluding the current President*)

    • Department/organization Representative to GPSC

    • Leader of other recognized graduate student organization on campus

    • *Current GPSC President will serve on the selection committee for this award

  3.  Evidence of contributions to organizations or events on our campus that have improved the university climate or enhanced experiences for large numbers of TAMU graduate students. This could include (but is not limited to):

    • Outstanding service to other graduate student organizations (beyond GSC).

    • Proposing, providing major input to development of, and/or taking a major role in implementing new university-wide events benefitting graduate students.

    • Involvement in regional or national professional societies that provides direct benefit to other Texas A&M graduate students (new events/services/etc.)

Required Information to be Submitted by the Nominator

  1. Cover letter that includes the following information:
    • Nominee’s full name, UIN, TAMU email address, department/college, and nominator’s name and email address.                                                                                                                                                                                    
  2. Nominator should provide a short letter (≤ 1 page) describing how the nominee’s service activities are making, or have made, a major or positive impact on Texas A&M’s graduate student body (self-nominations are welcome).

  3.  Nominee should submit CV including all service activities.

  4.  Nominator should submit at least one letter of support (≤ 1 page) from the student’s advisor, an administrator or staff person familiar with this student’s service efforts, or a graduate student serving as an officer in an A&M graduate student organization for which this student had given outstanding service.

  5.  The completed package should be converted into one pdf and emailed to by 5:00 PM CDT on Friday, April 16, 2021.

  6.  For questions or more information, please contact the Graduate and Professional School at or at 845-3631.

Past Award Recipients

2021 Award Recipients

Alexandria (Alex) Payne is a Ph.D. candidate in the lab of Dr. Juliana Rangel studying the disease ecology of honeybees (Apis mellifera). Her research addresses the global issue of declining honeybee health. Incorporating aspects of virology, ecology, nutrition and honeybee biology, she seeks to better understand the interactions between honeybees and their associated pathogens.

Alex is a current NSF Graduate Research Fellow and a past Texas A&M Doctoral Diversity Fellow. She has earned numerous fellowships, scholarships and grants over her Ph.D. career, totaling over $350,000. Recently, she was awarded the 2020 Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence for Graduate Student Research.

Alex is a cofounder and past president of Aggie Women in Entomology (AWE), a student organization aimed at improving and celebrating diversity within the field of entomology while offering professional development opportunities to graduate students within the department and related fields. In addition to organizing research symposia at scientific conferences highlighting women’s research in entomology, AWE provides student travel grants and mentorship opportunities that match graduate students with undergraduates interested in research.

Karina Morales is a Ph.D. candidate in plant breeding in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. Her research focuses on the genetics of days to flowering in rice through diversity and genome editing. Karina is also a dissertation fellow of the American Association of University Women.

Throughout her time at Texas A&M, Karina has advocated to improve resources for graduate students and enhance student diversity. Toward these goals, she has served as the founding chair of the Genome Editing Symposium, an event that now reaches international audiences who have academic and industry involvement. Karina also founded the Women in Ag Science network, a community that provides mentoring, professional development and fellowship for women in the soil and crop sciences, horticulture, and plant pathology departments. Along with each of these roles, Karina is the incoming president for the TAMU chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Through her work with SACNAS, Karina has received NSF funding to improve diversity in the plant sciences.

2020 Award Recipient

Joseph James Dubie is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics. His current research in Dr. Vaishali Katju’s lab has focused on the evolutionary dynamics of selfishly acting mitochondrial genomes in Caenorhabditis elegans. In addition to presenting at local and national meetings, Joseph has presented this research at the Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution conferences in Yokohama, Japan and Manchester, England.

In addition to his research, Joseph has served the Genetics Graduate Student Association in various officer and committee roles, including recruitment chair, social chair and vice president. He currently serves as president. He has also worked to enhance local understanding of evolutionary genetics, including volunteering with TAMU DNA Days and serving on the planning committee for the annual Southeast Texas Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics Symposium.

Prior to arriving at Texas A&M University, he received his BS in integrative biology at Oregon State University. He then spent several years working in Alaska, providing GED coaching and teaching microbiology labs at the University of Alaska Southeast, and then North Carolina, curating the science speakers for the inaugural TEDxDurham.

2019 Award Recipient

Ammani Naidu Kyanam is a PhD Student in Plant Breeding at the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. Her research focuses on biotic stress resistance in crop plants and she currently works in the Texas A&M Sorghum Breeding Program. Ammani has actively served at the department and university level in various student-led endeavors for the betterment of graduate student life. 

She began her leadership as a communications officer in the International Students Association (ISA). She served as Founder and current President of the Soil and Crop Sciences Graduate Organization (SCGO), served for two years as the chair for the Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium Organizing Committee, and she also served as the Graduate Student Liaison for the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB).

Ammani co-authored three College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (COALS) Council Development Grants, the largest of which helped initiate the TAMU Gene Editing Symposium. Her efforts proved instrumental in laying the foundation for this annual event to continue for years to come. Her contributions achieved special recognition from the symposium corporate sponsor and gained her a spot on their International Student Advisory Council.

2018 Award Recipient

Ananya Dasgupta is a fifth year doctoral candidate in Biology. Ananya’s research focuses on genetic regulations in fungi. As an international student, Ananya have overcome several challenges and works relentlessly to pursue her goals. Gradually, she has to adjusted and gained a sense of belonging to Aggieland. She serves the community through school STEM nights, BIG event, BCS marathon fundraisers for BioGSA (Biology Graduate Student Association), and marketed for the university’s first Energy Research conference. Ananya maintains the esteemed achievements of women serving on the awards committee for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), for which she prides herself. She has maintained leadership roles as the committee chair for Quality of Life last year, and as the outgoing Vice President for finance in the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC). Ananya has served as the catalyst for transit access for new international English proficiency exam takers. She has also created a knowledge sharing platform to exchange technical skills for students. Ananya plans to continue serving the community with the same zeal as they say “there’s a spirit can ne’er be told”.

2017 Award Recipients 

Bassel Daher is a PhD Candidate at Texas A&M University in Water Management and Hydrologic Sciences. His research focuses on policy-oriented research in natural resource management, environmental sustainability, and resource security. He is particularly interested in developing Water-Energy-Food Nexus solutions that respond to biophysical, socioeconomic, governance, and financing constraints in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Bassel is an exceptional scholar. He was one of eight young water professionals, globally, to serve on the Young Scientific Committee for the 2016 Stockholm World Water Week. Daher has contributed to multiple chapters of the UN Global Sustainable Development Report, co-authored reports, has multiple journal articles, book chapters, and policy briefs. Bassel is currently serving as the President of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Graduate Student Association

Bassel holds a B.Sc. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the American University of Beirut (2010), and an MSE (2012) from Purdue University, Biological and Agricultural Engineering-Multi-Scale Hydrology Group.
Jaskirat Batra is a PhD candidate at Texas A&M University in Materials Science and Engineering. His research focuses on developing micro and nano-scale medical technologies lies at the intersection of materials, engineering and life science.

Jaskirat has co-authored 6 journal publications and presented at multiple conferences. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Student Award, Buck Weirus Spirit Award, Who’s Who Award, Eppright Outstanding International Student Award most notably. In 2015 Jaskirat founded the student organization Aggies in Science, Technology and Engineering Policy (A-STEP) to engage scientists in policy, and bridge the gap between scientists, policy-makers and the public.

Jaskirat has a remarkable passion for servicing the Aggie community. He has advised multiple student organizations, mentored undergraduate students through the AggiE Challenge engineering program, serves on the university’s Athletics Council, and works with Aggie Network Student Ambassadors.
Kristen Hicks is a PhD candidate at Texas A&M University in Nutrition. Her research interests focus on developing, disseminating and determining the impact of nutrition focused continuing medical education for practicing physicians and early determinants of increasing practical nutrition knowledge. As an instructor in her courses, she emphasizes the role of utilizing the healthcare team, educating physicians to practice with a preventive medicine approach.

Kristen is a Registered Dietitian in Bryan College Station with a position in both clinical dietetics and corporate dietetics. Ms. Hicks has been a teaching assistant for over two years in various nutrition courses and is currently an instructor at Blinn Community College where she engages her students using active learning techniques and integrates practical application tools to prepare her students to applying nutrition knowledge into practice with patients.

During her doctoral work, Kristin founded and currently coordinates two mentorship programs. Aggie Graduate and Professional Community Club is an organization with over 1,700 graduate and professional students across Texas A&M.
Payman Dehghanian is a PhD candidate at Texas A&M University in Electrical Engineering. His research interests are on electric power system protection and control, power system reliability and maintenance as well as smart electricity grid applications.

Payman has co-authored has authored 22 peer-reviewed journal articles and 47 peer-reviewed conference papers in Electrical Power Engineering, with 441 citations to his publications to date. Because of his outstanding scholastic achievements, consecutively in 2015 & 2016, Payman was selected as one of the World’s Top 20 Young Scholars for Next Generation of Research in Electric Power Systems.

Payman is the President and Chief Student Leader of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics, Power and Energy Society, Power Electronics Society, Industry Application Society’s joint Student Organization at TAMU. The IEEE Power and Energy Society, name this organization 1st in U.S., and 4th globally among the high-performing chapters in 2016. In 2017, Mr. Dehghanian chaired a first-of-its-kind, entirely-student-run conference, IEEE Texas Power and Energy Conference at Texas A&M University.

2016 Award Recipient

Lindsay Porter is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Veterinary Pathobiology from Texas A&M University. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Genetics and Ecology and Evolution at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia in 2007. Lindsay has made a tremendous impact in the department and her field. Besides committing to her duties as graduate research and teaching assistant, she has been published six times and has participated in numerous presentations, conferences and lectures. She has received numerous recognitions for her efforts including Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Gamma Sigma Delta International Honor Society of Agriculture. Lindsay’s extracurricular activities include being the President of Graduate Student Association of the College of Veterinary Medicine where she has made significant contributions not only to the organization and her department but also to the entire graduate student population. Lindsay is also the Chair of Quality of Life Committee in the Graduate and Professional Student Council. She is the founder and current President of the Grad Aggie Parent Group. Lindsay’s list of services to Texas A&M University also includes being part of the Graduate and Professional School Professional Development Steering Committee, Women in Science and Engineering Committee, and College of Veterinary Medicine Graduate Instruction Committee.

2015 Award Recipients 

Amanda David is completing her PhD in the Chemistry Department under the leadership of Professor Kim Dunbar.  Her research focuses on metals in medicine, in particular dirhodium-based anti-cancer agents.  Professor Dunbar commends Amanda’s skill at balancing her research as a synthetic inorganic chemist with her biochemical work involving cellular assays on cancer cells in the Biochemistry Department.  Amanda has published a total of 9 publications, with at least 3 more publications in the works.  She also presented 13 posters and six oral presentations at local and national conferences. Amanda’s work resulted in many awards and accolades from Texas A&M and others, including the Susan M. Arseven Make-A-Difference Memorial Award, the Faculty Senate Aggie Spirit Award, the U.S. Senator Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellowship and the Richard W. Schmude, Jr. Endowed Graduate Scholarship. She participates actively in numerous national and local organizations such as the Graduate Teaching Academy, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in the Sciences (SACNAS), Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), and this year she initiated the Organization for Cultural Diversity in Chemistry at Texas A&M.  

Natalie Harvey is a PhD candidate in the Chemistry Department under the leadership of Professor Daniel Romo.  She recently published a complex natural product synthesis and even synthesized several derivatives and a cellular probe.  She has presented her research five times at local and state conferences.  Natalie peppers her graduate career with participation in various leadership, service and mentoring activities.  She served as President of Women and Science in Engineering (WISE) and helped plan their 2015 conference featuring 7 speakers and around 150 attendees.  She was president of Phi Lambda Upsilon Graduate Chemistry Honor Society and co-coordinated their 5K race to raise money for local schools.  She served as Vice-Chair for the Aggie Green Fund Advisory Committee (AGF), an organization helping make Texas A&M a more sustainable campus. Natalie’s numerous honors and awards from Texas A&M and others include a Professional Development Travel Grant and first place in oral presentation during Student Research Week.  She received the prestigious Graduate Student Merit Fellowship and won Honorable Mention in the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Natalie actively participates in professional affiliations for her field, including Phi Lambda Upsilon Honorary Chemical Society, Alpha Chi National College Honor Society and the American Chemical Society.  

2014 Award Recipient 

Jacqueline Pope is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry working under the supervision of Dr. Janet Bluemel. She is currently studying immobilized Pd(II)/Cu(I) catalyst systems for the Sonogashira reaction, as well as performance polymer analysis for energy applications. She is an active member of the Texas A&M Student Chapter of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), moving through the ranks from Secretary to President, and is currently serving as the Vice-President of Science. She is also actively involved in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) organization and currently serves as President. In addition to being actively involved in leadership roles in these organizations, she enjoys giving back to the community by participating in various science outreach activities such as Expanding Your Horizons (EYH), a science workshop for young girls, and Southwood Valley Elementary’ s Super Techno Science Night, a night of science activities for the local community.

2013 Award Recipient

Morgan E. Shirley is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of chemistry at Texas A&M University. Prior to her arrival at TAMU she completed a B.S. in Biochemistry, B.A. in Environmental Chemistry and a minor in Leadership Studies at the University of Kansas in spring 2008. Since joining TAMU in Fall 2008 her doctoral research has focused on natural product total synthesis and synthetic organic chemistry methodology development under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Romo. During her time at TAMU she served in many capacities in her own department as the organic chemistry representative and later she was elected President of the Graduate Association of Chemistry. At the University level she served as the Selfless Service chair and is currently the Vice President for University Affairs for the Graduate Student Council. Morgan has been actively involved in Women in Science and Engineer (WISE) for the last three years, devoting time to professional development workshops and outreach for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She designed and hosts an interactive workshop for the annual Expanding Your Horizons conference entitled Bright Future: Bright Idea, which includes three hands on experiments teaching 6th grade girls about the chemistry involved in fluorescence and its everyday applications.  Due to the limited number of women in physics, Morgan stepped up in organizing the first ever South Central Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics here at TAMU in January 2011 She is also actively involved with the Sustainability Council, Energy Club, Laboratory Safety Committee and currently serves as the MSC Fall Leadership Conference Director of Delegates.  Morgan has volunteered with Big Event, served as the Team Captain for the GSC Relay for Life team, and as a moderator for the science bowl competition, to name a few. While at TAMU Morgan committed to enhancing the lives of graduate students through outreach, advocacy for graduate rights and developing new events for graduate students to connect with one another and become a part of the Aggie Spirit. In fact, one of Morgan’s peers wrote, “She sincerely strives to help people succeed in any way that she can, enhancing both the short-term and long-term quality of life for Aggie graduate students”.

2012 Award Recipient

Archana Gawde:

The Montgomery Award was established in February 1983, by the Estate of Jeff Montgomery. This Montgomery Award is funded by income from that endowment and in recent years went to the President of the Graduate Student Council. Since our GSC President now receives a full graduate assistant stipend with tuition support, the Graduate and Professional School felt it appropriate to award the Montgomery Prize to another student leader whose service has also made a positive impact on the larger Texas A&M graduate student body. Students eligible for the Montgomery Graduate Endowed Fellowship are student leaders making major contributions to the academic opportunities and quality of life of their fellow graduate students here at Texas A&M. Whether through demonstrated leadership in international student groups or service organizations, students must show their dedication to serving Aggie graduate students in addition to excellent academics and scholarship. The 2012 recipient of the Montgomery Prize is: Ms. Archana Gawde .Archana Gawde is a PhD student in the Molecular and Environmental Plant Science program in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. While pursuing her degree, Archana served as the Diversity Commissioner with the Student Government Association, as an active member in the Graduate Student Council, Vice President of the MEPS Student Association in addition to serving on 7 different Administrative Panels at the university level. Her most notable contribution, however, is her service as President of the International Student Association, which represents over 5,000 students from many different cultures at Texas A&M. In this role she took major responsibility for overseeing the organization of International Week with the help of her officer panel. Another interesting project Archana initiated on campus was the My Story Seminar Series, aimed at improving the campus climate through understanding others. One administrator wrote, “In everything she does, Archana looks at how she can improve our university climate and enhance the experiences of graduate students…She exhibits all the values of an Aggie: integrity, leadership, respect for others, and selfless service.”

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