A year ago, traveling to Africa was not even a distant dream for a group of Texas A&M University students. Most had had never flown across the state, much less internationally.

Now they can claim they have been there and back.

The trip was just amazing, recalls Aashraya Nakarmi, one of the students who went on the trip. It’s hard to comprehend it all. I’m so sad it’s already over!

Phillips 66 sponsors trip

Phillips 66 sponsored the trip with a $50,000 gift in addition to its annual giving to Texas A&M University. Judith Vincent, assistant treasurer, corporate finance at Phillips 66, said the company is committed to helping develop the workforce of tomorrow through education.

This trip not only presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Regents Scholars; it also enriches their educational experience and develops them into well-rounded job candidates, she told the students. Going on an overseas trip is a phenomenal opportunity for these students, and Phillips 66 couldn’t be more proud to sponsor the program.

The students who went on the trip are Regents’ Scholars first-generation college students whose families meet income criteria. In addition to financial
support, the Regents’ Scholars program provides the students with the academic and social assistance vital to the success of a first-generation college student. Regents’ Scholars live on campus their freshman year, participate in a learning community and
attend an orientation designed by continuing Regents’ Scholars.

At Mays, Regents’ Scholars are invited at the completion of their freshman year to apply for a two-week international opportunity. The trip for the 2013-14 freshman class included a week each in South Africa and Zambia. The students were selected based on their academic performance, extracurricular involvement and a short essay.

The excursion began with a July 8 safety presentation and send-off for the students by Vincent, Mays Dean Jerry Strawser and the students’ traveling chaperones “ Henry Musoma, a lecturer in the Undergraduate Special Programs Office at Mays, and his wife Tyra Musoma, an academic advisor in the Department of Accounting.

Henry Musoma has traveled extensively in Southern Africa, where his parents were posted in the diplomatic corps. He won the 2013 Dr. Robert M. Gates Inspiration Award for his work with the Regents’ Scholars, and said the purpose of this trip was to expose the students to global business dynamics as they play out in Sub-Saharan Africa (Zambia and South Africa, respectively).

The plan is to help foster their understanding of the global economy, he said. With this understanding of the complex nature of global business, the Regents’ Scholars will hopefully develop an understanding of the complex nature of their world and consequently, find meaningful careers in it.

Blog chronicles journey

Students wrote about their thoughts and emotions throughout the trip for the Mays site http://maysblogs.tamu.edu/regenttrips

Student Narely Najera said she had a change of heart as the trip unfolded. My summer classes had just ended two days before, and all I wanted to do was spend some time with my friends. A trip to Africa with fourteen complete strangers didn’t seem very appealing to me at the time and the morning of the trip I debated even getting up. As my peers will tell you though I hate missing out and so I went along, and I will be forever thankful that I did.

She went on to say the excursion was more than just a ˜study abroad” trip. Through this trip I became aware of the many stories of Africa, I learned of the importance of thinking of business not just on a national scale but a global one, and of being open to any and all opportunities because you never know what can come of them.

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,600 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.