Christian Martin ’19 has always been passionate about math and science, and he plans to use his industrial engineering knowledge to help others within the IT industry. In addition to his studies, he’s worked as a reporter for The Battalion and has been involved at Antioch Community Church. Martin is one of six recipients of an industrial engineering scholarship established by an incredible woman: the late Dr. Bonnie Hunt ’77.
“This scholarship has not only impacted financial demands for my family and me during my time at Texas A&M, but also for years to come, since I won’t have college debt,” Martin said. “I’m honored that Bonnie Hunt and others are partnering with me and supporting my engineering degree.”
Despite only standing 4-feet-9-inches tall, Hunt was fearless. As the first female graduate student to receive her doctoral degree from the Department of Industrial Engineering, she blazed the trail for many more female Aggie graduate students to follow in her footsteps.
Hunt possessed an innate intelligence, a knack for problem solving and a daring attitude. She rode horses her whole life and was often seen riding around Texas A&M’s campus on her 185 Suzuki motorcycle. In fact, she once even took her motorcycle up the elevator in the Zachry Engineering Building to use as a prop for her ergonomic design class.
Sadly, Hunt passed away from her battle with breast cancer in February 2005. Although she is gone, she continues to inspire and encourage a new generation of industrial engineers through a scholarship endowment she established through a planned gift. To achieve her legacy, she named the Texas A&M Foundation as beneficiary of her individual retirement account (IRA).
How an IRA Gift Benefits You
An IRA beneficiary designation gift is a simple, flexible and affordable way to support Texas A&M. The benefits are numerous: neither you, your heirs or your estate will pay income taxes on the distribution of the assets; you’ll receive an estate tax charitable deduction; and because charities like the Texas A&M Foundation do not pay income tax, the full amount of your retirement account will directly benefit the cause of your choice at Texas A&M.
“I wanted to give something back, because I had to work all the way through school on my own money,” Hunt said about her gift before she passed. “It would have been helpful to have a little financial support along the way.”
When you make a gift through your IRA account, you can continue to use the account for as long as needed, and you can change your mind at any time in the future for any reason, like if you have a loved one who needs your financial help. With this method, it’s easy to support a cause you care about as part of your legacy.
Today, six engineering students are benefitting from Hunt’s planned gift: Aisyah Ahmad Abir ’18, Jonathan Jamell ’18, Adel Jawed ’18, Armando Lozano ’19, Christian Martin ’19 and Timothy Sitorus ’18.
To qualify for the scholarship, students must have demonstrated financial need and maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point ratio. Each of Hunt’s current scholars have their own unique stories.
Sitorus was born in Tangerang, Indonesia, a suburb of the capital Jakarta. Now pursuing an industrial engineering degree, Sitorus can achieve his education thanks in part to Dr. Hunt’s scholarship. “Being an international student, this scholarship has relieved the financial burden placed on me,” he said. “It opened the door for me to facilitate my growth and my education without worry.”
Another student, Armando Lozano ’19, transferred to Texas A&M in spring 2017 after completing some of his education at a college in Mexico. “Since I was born in the U.S., I always dreamed of earning my degree at an American university. When I began to do my research, I found out that Texas A&M has one of the best industrial engineering programs in the country. I didn’t have any doubts about applying,” said Lozano, who plans to pursue a master’s degree next.
Hunt paired engineering with her many passions to create a meaningful life and career for herself—something she hoped would happen with the Aggie students who would one day receive her scholarships.
Before heading to Texas A&M in the early 1970s, Hunt conducted research for four years at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio studying human performance under environmental stress conditions. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in personnel, counseling and engineering psychology from Wright State University in Ohio. While at Texas A&M for her Ph.D., she worked as a graduate assistant, oversaw the human factors laboratory and taught a human factors course to senior engineering majors.
As she neared graduation in 1977, Hunt found herself in demand and courted by numerous engineering firms. Her 3.76 grade point average with years of work experience, coupled with the rarity of being a female Ph.D. engineer, probably helped.
She chose a job conducting state-of-the-art research at General Dynamics Corporation and worked 12 years for the aerospace defense giant. She dealt with everything from man-machine interfaces for shoulder-fired Stinger missiles to production quality for 13 divisions.
Later in her career, Hunt taught at Texas A&M, as well as at the University of La Verne, Chaffey College, Mount San Antonio College and Riverside College, all in California. Her courses included human factors engineering, personnel management, supervision and women’s studies.
Through her scholarship fund, she’s left her tracks within the Aggie community for many more ambitious engineers like herself to thrive and follow their own paths to success.