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Awards Opportunities

The Texas A&M University Office of Graduate and Professional Studies annually presents four awards to graduate students who have excelled academically, as student leaders, and have a had a positive impact on the Texas A&M University Graduate Community. Click the links below to view nomination information and past award recipients.

Association of Former Students Distinguished Graduate Student Award

U.S. Senator Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellowship

Texas A&M Distinguished Dissertation Award

Graduate Student Research and Presentation Travel Award

The Graduate Student Research and Presentation Travel Award provides graduate students with educational and professional development opportunities through reimbursing up to $750 for travel expenses associated with academic conferences and research projects in the United States and abroad.

Spring 2022 Genetics Graduate Student Association Conference Award

2022 Texas Genetics Society (TGS)
College Station, TX

Michelle Jonika
Ph.D. Candidate and Student board member of TGS
Advisor: Dr. Heath Blackmon

Platform Talk Title: “The Role of Centromeres in Chromosome Number Evolution”

Michelle Jonika - TGS 2022

2022 International Symposium on the Biology of Actinomycetes (ISBA) – Toronto, Canada

Sandy LaBonte
Ph.D. Student – Advisor: Dr. Paul Straight

Poster title: “Identifying Streptomyces metabolites that mobilize a population of B. subtilis.

Sandra LaBonte

2022 International Mammalian Genome Society Annual Meeting
Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Michael McGill
Ph.D. Candidate – Advisor: Dr. David Threadgill

Platform Talk Title: “A constitutionally EGFR-deficient model of CRC: compensatory mechanisms mediated by other ERBB family members.”

Michael McGill

35th International Mammalian Genome Conference (IMGC 2022)
Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Aravindh Nagarajan
Ph.D. Candidate – Advisor: Dr. Helene Andrews-Polymenis

Platform Talk Title: “Multiple host genes are involved in the differential outcome to Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) septic infections.

Aravindh Nagarajan

2022 Plant Biology Conference sponsored by American Society of Plant Biologists, Worldwide Summit
Portland, Oregon

Khushboo Rastogi
Ph.D. Candidate – Advisor: Dr. Endang Septiningsih

Poster title: “Genome Editing to develop High Lysine in the US Rice Cultivar Presidio.

Khushboo Rastogi

2022 American Chemical Society (ACS)
San Diego, California

Benjamin Thomas
Ph.D. Student – Advisor: Dr. Zhilei Chen

Poster title: “Novel Protein DNA circuit for the detection of Shiga toxin.

Benjamin Thomas

The Gordon Research Conference on Genetic Biocontrol
Four Points, Ventura, CA

Joseph Romanowski
Ph.D. Student – Advisor: Dr. Zach Adelman

Poster Title: “Effect of DNA double-strand break site location on CRISPR/CAs9-induced transgene elimination in Aedes aegypti.”

Romanowski, Joseph

2022 U.S. Senator Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellowship Award

Aravindh Nagarajan
Congratulations to our Ph.D. Candidate, Aravindh Nagarajan, on being named a 2022 U.S. Senator Phil Gramm Fellowship Recipient.
The U.S. Senator Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellowship was established to promote, encourage and reward outstanding teaching and research
by doctoral students whose command of their respective disciplines exemplifies the meaning of scholar/mentor in the highest sense.
We are super proud to recognize you and celebrate your accomplishments with you!

2022 Montgomery Award

Rastogi, Khushboo

The Montgomery Award is awarded to student leaders making major contributions to the academic and professional opportunities, and quality of life of their fellow graduate and professional students here at Texas A&M. Whether through demonstrated leadership in recognized graduate student groups or service organizations, students must show their dedication to serving Aggie graduate and professional students in addition to excellent academics and scholarship.
Khushboo Rastogi  is a Ph.D. candidate in the Genetics and Genomics Interdisciplinary Program, under the advisement of Dr. Endang Septiningsih. Her research assesses rice genomic resources for nutritional quality and stress tolerance. She is active in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program and served as a Scholarship Chair. Khushboo has served as Treasurer and Awards Chair for the Genetics Graduate Student Association (GGSA) and as a Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) senator. She is also Vice Chair of the student-led Texas A&M Genome Editing Symposium, which brings together all individuals interested in gene editing as it relates to agriculture and life science.

2022 Texas Genetics Society Meeting Awards

Best Platform Talk Award

Role of Host Genetics in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection (F9)

Nagarajan, Aravindh

Aravindh Nagarajan
Advisor: Dr. Helene Andrews-Polymenis

Best Poster Presentation Award

Identification of dysregulated small RNA in Angelman syndrome pig extracellular vesicles

Schuller, Livia

Livia Schuller
Advisor: Dr. Scott Dindot

2022 Genetics and Genomics Recruitment Symposium Oral Presentations


Thomas, Benjamin

Benjamin Thomas
Advisor: Dr. Zhilei Chen


Rastogi, Khushboo

Khushboo Rastogi
Advisor: Dr. Endang M. Septiningsih

2022 Genetics and Genomics Graduate Student Awards

2022 Research Excellence Award

Jonika, Michelle
Michelle Jonika
Advisor: Dr. Heath Blackmon

2022 Research Excellence Award

Jevit, Matthew
Matthew Jevit
Advisor: Dr. Terje Raudsepp

2022 Clint Magill Outstanding GGSA Member Award

Taluja, Serina
Serina Taluja
Advisor: Dr. David Stelly

2022 Clint Magill Outstanding GGSA Member Award

Rastogi, Khushboo
Khushboo Rastogi
Advisor: Dr. Endang Septiningsih

2022 Award for Teaching Excellence

Lopez, Osiris
Osiris K. Lopez Garcia
Advisor: Dr. Daniel Paredes-Sabja

2022 Student Choice Award for Teaching

Denham, Allie
Allie N. Denham
Advisor: Dr. Vladimir Vladimirov

2021 Genetics and Genomics Graduate Student Awards

2021 Award for Teaching Excellence

Harris, Andrew
Andrew Harris
Advisor: Dr. Bill Murphy

2021 Student Choice Award for Teaching

Jons, Amanda
Amanda Jons
Advisor: Dr. Sarah Bondos

2020 Genetics and Genomics Graduate Student Awards

2020 Award for Teaching Excellence

Ming-Whitfield, Brittni
Brittni A. Ming-Whitfield
Advisor: Dr. David Threadgill

2020 Student Choice Award for Teaching

Nagarajan, Aravindh
Aravindh Nagarajan
Advisor: Dr. Helene Andrews-Polymenis

2021 Genetics and Genomics Science Art Contest Awards

The Giants of Genetics

First Place
1st Place - Shelby Morton

Image credit: Shelby Morton
Advisor: Dr. Gregory Reeves

A Cotton Conundrum

Second Place
2nd Place - Serina Taluja

Image credit: Serina Taluja
Advisor: Dr. David Stelly

Trep Garden

Third Place
3rd Place - Sandy LaBonte

Image credit: Sandy LaBonte
Advisor: Dr. Paul Straight