Angela’s journey to Texas A&M began with a letter. It arrived in the mailbox of her family’s South Carolina home one day with exciting news: She had been offered a scholarship to attend Texas A&M. Though she had not previously considered the university, the scholarship, created by Walter Lechner, Class of 1916, opened the door for her to make Aggieland her home without worrying about out-of-state tuition.
More than 1,000 miles away, in San Antonio, Kerry also received a letter. He had already been accepted to Texas A&M, and the note announced that he had been awarded a President’s Endowed Scholarship created by C.E. “Pat” Olsen, Class of 1923. “I didn’t know about it, but my high school counselor had submitted a scholarship application on my behalf,” Kerry explained. “It was such a wonderful surprise. I was thrilled and so grateful.”
The couple first crossed paths at Texas A&M in a geology class. Kerry had just switched his major to geophysics while Angela would soon leave the department when she changed her major from geophysics to geography, but their connection blossomed into dates two-stepping at the Texas Hall of Fame dance hall.
After graduating, the Steins worked in the oil and gas industry, but they never forgot the generosity they experienced from Lechner and Olsen. “Their contribution to Texas A&M occurred long before we were students, but it helped us immensely,” Angela said. “We’ve had a long-term goal of paying back that generosity, hoping to give more than we received.”
A few years ago, the Steins fulfilled that goal with current and planned gifts to the university. They annually contribute to a scholarship in the College of Geosciences in addition to an endowment in their names that will perpetually create geosciences endowed dean’s scholar awards and president’s endowed scholarships for high-achieving students. In addition, they planned a gift in their wills to further support the endowment and its scholarships beyond their lifetimes.
“Anything that supports education is a worthy endeavor,” Kerry said. “We knew we could have a lasting impact by contributing to education and Texas A&M.”
The Steins’ generosity has already supported bright minds like meteorology graduates Miles Langfeld ’21 and Joshua Ostaszewski ’21.
Langfeld’s interest in weather led him to Aggieland when he heard about the meteorology program’s prestige. “Growing up on a small farm outside San Antonio, I was always interested in the weather because it was a big part of my life,” he explained.
Langfeld enjoyed multiple opportunities beyond the classroom while at Texas A&M. He served as president of the Texas A&M Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (TAMSCAMS) and learned about tropical and mountain meteorology on study abroad trips to Barbados and Germany. He also volunteered with the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Offices in New Braunfels and Houston and interned with a flood diagnostic team at the organization’s Springfield, Missouri, office. Now, he works at the Springfield office as a full-time meteorologist.
A San Antonio native, Ostaszewski knew Texas A&M was the right choice during a visit to Aggieland. “As soon as I stepped on campus, I immediately felt a sense of family,” he said. During his time at the university, Ostaszewski pursued his passion for weather by researching forecast techniques of tornadic environments and participating in TAMSCAMS and the Texas Aggie Storm Chasers. “Those two organizations and my research showed me the different paths you can take with meteorology,” he said.
After graduating in May, Ostaszewski joined Texas Tech University’s graduate program, where he continues to research storm systems with the goal of one day working for the Storm Prediction Center or the National Severe Storms Laboratory. “The end goal is to help improve forecasting systems so people don’t lose their lives,” he explained.