Poonam Tare’s former classmates united together to purchase her Aggie ring when she returned to Texas A&M University from abroad. Tare is a Master of Science in Management Information Systems student who began the program in Fall 2016. Unfortunately, after the Fall 2017 semester, she was unable to continue her education and took a medical leave of absence to return home to India. This semester, Texas A&M welcomes back Tare to campus as she has returned to complete her degree by December of this year.

Many of Tare’s classmates graduated in May 2018, and they wanted to do something special for her by purchasing her Aggie ring. A group of former classmates reached out to Veronica Stilley, the director of the MS-MIS program, to verify that Tare was eligible to order her Aggie ring. A student must have 90 completed undergraduate or professional hours, 45 completed institution undergraduate or professional hours, and a 2.0 minimum cumulative GPR to be eligible to order an Aggie ring – a coveted symbol of the Aggie network.

Monal Shakya, one of Tare’s close friends and her first roommate at Texas A&M, describes Tare as family. “In a foreign country so far away from home, we became each other’s support,” she said, “And to be honest, I have literally never met someone like Tare. She is full of life, with the kindest heart ever possible. She would always make sure that I was doing okay.”

Shakya also expressed her deepest gratitude toward Steven White, the program coordinator for International Student Services. He arranged the details of Tare’s surprise, including reaching out to the Association of Former Students, organizing photography and videography, and ensuring Shakya and her friends could be a part of Tare’s Aggie ring order.

On Jan. 28, Tare’s friends revealed their surprise. They obtained a certificate for Tare that stated her Aggie ring was fully paid for, as she truly exhibits the Aggie spirit of perseverance. Shakya and her friends originally told Tare she was going to a recruiting event, so she was unaware of the surprise planned. While many friends came to Texas A&M in person for this special occasion, Shakya and another close friend, Isha Arora, joined the surprise via Skype.

When asked what this meant to her, Tare said the ring represented a lot for her.

“It signified that I have reached a point, a milestone in my journey, and to reach that point, a lot has gone into it. Blood, sweat, tears!” she said. “It was a culmination of things past, and a sign for new beginnings. Having such friends really helped me face the ordeal I was going through. I had so much fun when the surprise was revealed. It completely caught me off guard. I feel deeply grateful for the love and support that I have received and consider myself really lucky!”