August, 2020 | Mays Impacts

As most other programming has done this year, the Mays Transformational Leadership Academy kicked-off virtually on July 20, 2020. The Mays Transformational Leadership Academy is a program designed for rising high school seniors from underrepresented groups who have an interest in pursuing a business degree.

The objectives of this program are to:

  • Cultivate the leadership and academic potential of rising high school seniors
  • Allow students to experience on a first-hand basis a microcosm of the collegiate and professional lives of business students
  • Introduce talented students to career opportunities in business disciplines
  • Provide information about admission, scholarship funding, and high-impact programs available at Mays

Two participants and one student-leader at the 2020 Mays Transformational Leadership Academy shared their thoughts and feelings about the virtual experience. Read on below to see their #aMAYSing reflections.


Sofia Rojas, Participant

I heard about MTLA through an email sent to my mother, and she thought I would be interested. I didn’t have any hesitations about signing up because it was within my passion for business. Another benefit of why I signed up was the fact that it was supposed to be in person, and I was looking forward to staying there for four days. However, with COVID and just like any other situation life could have thrown at us, you guys found the solution and still made the program very special and valuable to young leaders in the business community, which I was very impressed by.

I didn’t know you could learn so much from just a zoom call. It was very interactive. I thought the small groups were a fantastic idea because it gives you an opportunity to be heard and get comfortable with talking to others little by little; that way, when you’re in the main room talking to everyone would become easier. There were also so many little things that just shows the effort put into this program:

  • the ice breaker activities and packages with a T-shirt;
  • Padlets to communicate with others and share our creativity;
  • connection with the professors and the ability to speak to all of them;
  • critical thinking and reflection.

After coming out of MTLA, I felt very stimulated/knowledgeable and already a part of the Mays Business school family, even if I hadn’t already applied to their school (which I definitely am). I am also 10000x blown away and super grateful for the scholarship I won. It was definitely something that wasn’t in my conscious state of mind. I was simply myself, and I was gifted with this opportunity. MTLA is definitely a program I would recommend to anyone going into the business field. I am beyond impressed and thankful for the opportunity I took throughout those four days!

P.S. These 4 days will prepare me for wanting years at this school!

 

Pablo De La Garza, Participant

I heard about MTLA by looking for opportunities to participate in a summer program with the Mays School of Business.

Entering the program I was hesitant because I was worried that it would be difficult to connect with fellow participants and get an understanding of the environment of the Mays School of Business because of the program’s transition to a virtual platform. However, all of these fears were quickly alleviated after MTLA began.

The highlights of MTLA included connecting with current and former Mays students in order to learn more about the school. Another highlight was when we did activities that helped us identify our core values and the type of leaders that we are. MTLA taught me how to have an inclusive mindset as a person and how to use the inclusive mindset in leadership positions in order to become the best leader I can be.

Coming out of MTLA I feel confident in my decision to apply to the Mays Business School as my number 1 choice for higher education. I also feel confident in myself as a person, student, and leader.

 

Veronica Holsem ’22, Small group leader

I heard about MTLA from Dr. Nancy Hutchins in the middle of the summer. I was a part of MABS (Multicultural Association of Business Students) last year where I worked with Dr. Hutchins on various events and affairs that concerned the organization. Dr. Hutchins and I maintained communication because we connected during our time together. It was through her outreach that I became involved and in MTLA.

I was originally recruited to be a panelist during the Majors and the Organizations sessions, but as the start date of MTLA approached, Dr. Hutchins requested me to serve as a small group leader as well. Both of these roles were fulfilling in different ways. One of the most interesting things about MTLA was seeing the week through a different set of eyes as I switched roles multiple times. It was through these different experiences that I found MTLA to be an incredible opportunity for growth in myself in different ways.

I was immensely hesitant about participating in MTLA. I was added to the team only a few days before the start date and I was concerned about my ability to effectively serve in the roles that were being asked of me. I felt as if I had to “play catch up” the week before the start date so that I would not disappoint anybody. However, as the first day of MTLA approached, I asked questions, created a plan for speaking parts, and dug through the team drive to ensure that I knew what was expected of me. After the first day passed, I was fully confident in my ability to be a successful small group leader and panelist.

The experience I had was one of growth. While the experience was partially one of personal growth, the more important one was growth through the students that I worked with during the MTLA program. At the start of the week, the students were apprehensive to participate in the activities and discussion but by the end of the week, they were direct messaging each other and asking speakers in-depth questions about Mays and using the information to make an informed decision about their future.

Now, after MTLA, I feel valuable as a representative of Mays and influential as a peer advisor coming out of MTLA. Serving as a small group leader gave me the opportunity to represent Mays Business School and communicate with potential students all the various ways that Mays can add value to their college experience. For example, in the mornings we had break-out time with our small group where I had several minutes to speak on my personal experience at Mays. After these sessions, my small group told me that it was those particular moments where they found the most value when it came to learning about Mays because hearing about an actual student’s stories are influential to their decision to come to Mays.

 

 

Categories: Mays Business, MTLA, Students

#aMAYSing former student, Stephanie Murphy, Owner and Chairman at MEI Technologies, Inc. and Alpha Space Test and Research Alliance, LLC, recently shared some news with the EMBA Class of 2020 during their celebration ceremony…

First, get to know her:

I received my undergrad in AgriBusiness from Texas A&M and then went on to work at MEI Technologies (then is was Muniz Engineering).  My father founded MEIT in 1992, I began working there in 2001.  Over the next ten years, I worked in various corporate departments and had taken on leadership roles within the company.  We began succession planning for MEIT and I was interested in additional formal education (MBA) to help prepare me for my next roles within the company as an executive and an owner.  I attended an Aggie 100 lunch with my father who was receiving an award, and Ricky Griffin happened to be a guest at our table.  He was talking about the Executive MBA (EMBA) program and the new location at City Centre.  I applied to the program and found it to be competitive with other programs and very convenient in terms of location and my work schedule.

After graduating in 2014, I had an opportunity to take an idea developed at MEIT and launch a new business providing testing in the harsh environment of space as a service.  In 2015 I founded Alpha Space Test and Research Alliance, and in 2018 we launched a testing platform that is permanently attached to the International Space Station.  We privately own the facility, known as MISSE, and offer government agencies, academia, private companies, and now individuals access to the low earth orbit space environment.  We are part of a small group of companies offering commercial services in space and at the forefront of developing a new space economy.

My EMBA prepared me for the launch (literally) of this new company not only through the academics, but also set a cadence of hard work and efficiency for me.  I made great relationships and connections, and have gone on to participate and serve in other organizations as a direct result of the network I built during my time in the EMBA program.

 

Mays: How did the idea about sending the EMBA Class XX Coin come to gain traction?

Aggie Ring in front of a Space CertificateSM: I was meeting with Julie [Orzabal, Director, Texas A&M Executive MBA Program] and had expressed an interest in staying engaged with the EMBA program. We were chatting about the Class XX graduating and their program coming to an end. I shared with her that I sent my husband’s Aggie ring into space, and I commented to her how cool it would be to send their class coin, which typically travels around the world with students, on the ultimate trip into space.  I committed to sponsor that trip for the Class XX coin, and Julie let me announce it to the class via Zoom on their last program day.

 

Mays: Can you detail exactly what will happen, as planned, for the EMBA Class XX Coin?

SM: The EMBA Class XX coin was delivered to our headquarters in Houston.  It will be put into our vacuum chamber and the pressure will reduced to 10-6 torr (0.000000001 atmosphere) and the temperature will be raised to 60oC (140oF).  This removes contaminants and particulates from the coin and prepares it for space flight. It is then moved into our 10K clean room, where our engineers integrate the coin into a MISSE carrier along with other experiments bound for the space station.  Our carrier is packed and delivered to NASA Johnson Space Center, then shipped along with all the other cargo manifested on our flight to the International Space Station.  NASA will ship the cargo to the launch site, either Florida for a SpaceX launch, or Virginia for a Northrup Grumman launch, and it will be packed for launch.

It will launch in spring 2021, where the coin will experience acceleration forces of about 3X to 4X gravity.  Once docked to the ISS, the astronaut crew will unpack our carrier from the cargo.  An astronaut attaches our carrier, containing the Class XX coin, to the MISSE transfer tray and send them through the airlock into space attached to the ISS robotic arm.  The robotic arm and other robotic tools plug our carrier into the MISSE facility, which we will then control from our operations center here in Houston.  The Class XX coin will be exposed to the harsh environment of space, including extreme temperature changes that can range from -40oC to 60oC (-40oF to 140oF), while it orbits the Earth approximately 16 times per day.  At this point, the coin is traveling almost 5 miles per second and is about 240 miles above the Earth.  We expect it to stay for about 6 months totaling over 75,000,000 miles on its trip in space.

At the end of this mission, the carrier is returned into the habitable portion of the space station by the robotic arm and the transfer tray.  The astronauts load it, along with other cargo, for a ride back to Earth on the SpaceX Dragon capsule.  Once retrieved by NASA, the carrier is returned to our office in Houston, where our engineers de-integrate and unpack the carriers.  At that time, the coin will be returned to Class XX and happy hour to follow!

 

Mays: What’s next after the EMBA Class XX Coin?

SM: In 2019, we were the first company to sign a reimbursable Space Act Agreement with NASA to allow us to purchase resources from NASA (launch, astronaut time, etc) to send commercial items to the International Space Station.  This allows us to open space access to private individuals, not just researchers, for personal use.  In 2021, we will be selling space for Aggie Rings and other personal mementos to fly in one of our carriers just like the Class XX coin.  For about the price of an airline ticket for international travel, an Aggie ring can complete a mission to the space station and return to its owner.

 

Mays: Why is this special and important to you – and why you think it’ll be special for others?

SM: Sending an item into the space environment and having it returned is such a unique experience that has been limited to very select scientists.  We have the opportunity to enable that experience for private companies, organizations, and individuals on a limited basis for the first time in the history of space exploration.  I think it’s amazing that one could send their Aggie Ring, which connects Aggies instantly and represents Aggie values, on a unique mission into space.  The eagle on the ring symbolizes agility, power, and the ability to reach great heights, and what better way to celebrate that than by sending it beyond the sky?

Explore Stephanie Murphy and Texas A&M’s MBA Programs

Stephanie Murphy  TAMU EMBA

Categories: Alumni, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, MBA, News, Perspectives, Programs, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M