Jennifer McCatharn ’11 was standing at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial at twilight, thinking about all that she had seen in her few days in D.C. on a trip with other business honors students. Looking up at the marbled face of one of the most influential men in American history, she had a revelation: this could be her future. She reached for her cell phone.

I love it here, she texted her mom.

After becoming the first Mays student to graduate with a degree in business honors, Jennifer McCatharn '11 is now pursuing a master's degree in education through The Urban Teacher Center in Washington D.C.
After becoming the first Mays student to graduate with a degree in business honors, Jennifer McCatharn ’11 is now pursuing a master’s degree in education through The Urban Teacher Center in Washington D.C.

Her mom was quick to respond: Just remember, your home is in Texas.

Now, two years later, Jennifer is leaving that Texas home and returning to the nation’s capitol, where she will pursue a master’s degree in education through The Urban Teacher Center. She will participate in a four-year program, during which she will earn her degree for free in exchange for service in a D.C. school.

Jennifer knows the road ahead of her won’t be easy—D.C. public schools are notorious for their low graduation rates and poor academic scores—yet she is optimistic. The Urban Teacher Center recruits top candidates from across the nation to prepare them to teach in the most challenging schools, equipping them with state-of-the-art training and linking their certification to their students’ performance outcomes. Jennifer is eager to join this innovative program, which has the power to impact so many lives, as well as education reform on a local and national level. She looks forward to being in the classroom and using her creative and business skills to encourage learning.

In May 2010, Jennifer became the first Mays student to graduate with a degree in business honors. She says that the program has benefitted her through the intimate class-sizes and special opportunities such as the D.C. trip she took part in her sophomore year. She also appreciated the honors book club, which exposed her to books such as Three Cups of Tea and Good to Great that have shaped the way she sees business and the world.

Jennifer is thankful for the scholarships she received during her years at A&M. “I know how much it has meant to my family and to me…someday I hope to give back in the same way.” She asserts that though there are many intelligent students at Mays that are deserving of scholarships outside the honors program, she sees it as a worthwhile investment to give to honors scholarships, especially as many honors students double major, adding a more specialized degree. “It’s a diverse group of people who are choosing a unique path and the scholarships act as further incentive to take on the challenges of the program.”

Categories: Former Students

After nearly four decades of teaching at A&M, Lorence Bravenec, professor of accounting, has reexamined his personal balance sheet and decided to redistribute his time and energy assets: the fall 2009 semester was his last in a Mays classroom. He has now retired.

Lorence Bravenec
Bravenec

Bravenec jokes that he’s been busier since he retired than he was when he was working. Perhaps that’s because in addition to a greater emphasis on fishing and family time (“and other jobs decreed by my wife”), he’s still working on a textbook. It’s a project he is passionate about: he won’t make anything from its publication, and it will be distributed to students electronically without cost. This is significant, he says, as at $100 (or more) apiece, the cost of textbooks puts a large burden on already cash-strapped students.

After the textbook is finished, Bravenec plans to volunteer his time as a pro bono lawyer for the community, as his roots are in law as well as accounting. In fact, he says he got into teaching business courses almost by accident. He had practiced law in Dallas and decided to relocate his family to College Station. Teaching at A&M was supposed to be a side job while he built a client base in the new location. Instead, he found it suited him. “It’s been a nice ride,” he says. “I’ve had some very fine students.” He estimates he has taught between 4,000 and 5,000 Aggies in his 39 years at A&M.

Categories: Faculty