The Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees named Amy Sharp ’19, Kylie Reis ’19 and Cooper Cox ’19 as recipients of its seventh Outstanding Student Award during a luncheon on May 15 at the Foundation’s headquarters, the Jon L. Hagler Center. These graduating seniors have excelled academically while distinguishing themselves as leaders at Texas A&M University and in the community.
Former Foundation trustee and Texas A&M graduate Melbern Glasscock and his wife Susanne created the endowed award in 2012 to annually honor exceptional Aggie students. Besides succeeding academically and as leaders, these recipients have overcome significant personal or family financial challenges to attend Texas A&M. The Outstanding Student Award includes a cash prize of $2,500.
“The students we chose to honor this year are the epitome of selfless service that every Aggie strives to exemplify,” said Jorge Bermúdez, chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “They are all excellent representatives of the kind of student and Aggie for whom this award was originally created. Each of them is bright, driven and goal-oriented, even in the face of adversity, and they have all had a tremendous impact on Texas A&M during their time as students.”
Amy Sharp ’19
Amy Sharp admits she wasn’t interested in Texas A&M at first. But when she visited campus during her senior year of high school for a robotics competition that her boyfriend (now fiancé) was competing in, she immediately fell in love.
“I was blown away by the friendliness I experienced on campus,” said Sharp. “After that weekend, my decision was made—I was going to Texas A&M.”
As a freshman, Sharp tried to get involved on campus by applying to a student organization. When a rejection letter came in the mail, she hung it up on her bulletin board as motivation to keep trying. Not long after, she received a university-wide email calling for candidates for freshman class president and decided to run. During her freshman, sophomore and junior year, she was elected the Class of 2019 president. As a senior, she ran in a competitive campaign for student body president and won, making her only the fifth woman to ever serve Texas A&M in that position.
“As student body president, I was given so many opportunities to grow and learn,” she said. “One experience I will carry with me forever was serving as a pallbearer for President George H.W. Bush. His commitment to Texas A&M exemplifies the uniqueness of Aggieland.”
Sharp’s selfless service has been honored several times over by numerous scholarships and awards, which have made the difference in her ability to be involved on campus and saved her family from taking on the financial burden of her education.
Now that she’s graduated, Sharp will continue to serve Aggies through a position at RELLIS, where she will work as a program coordinator for the emerging Texas A&M University System research campus. “I am so grateful for Texas A&M, for this award and for every opportunity I have been given,” said Sharp. “I will never forget the impact that this school and its people has had on my life.”
Cooper Cox ’18
A true Texan, Cooper Cox knew his college decision came down to two schools—Texas A&M or The University of Texas, his mother’s alma mater. On a Thursday, Cox and his mom left Houston for Austin, where he toured the campus as a prospective student. The next day, they headed to College Station.
“My mom still tells the story of our visit to Aggieland,” said Cox. “It was at least 100 degrees outside, and as the tour guide explained the importance of Aggie traditions, particularly Muster, she got chills all over. Texas A&M was just different.”
Driving down Highway 290 back to Austin, Cox asked his mom which university she would pick for him if it were up to her. After a long pause, she said, “Don’t make me choose against my alma mater.” From that moment on, Cox was an Aggie.
At the advice of a family friend, Cox signed up for the Corps of Cadets. “I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” he said. Without the Corps, Cox said his Aggie experience wouldn’t have been the same. “The friendships I formed and memories I made as a cadet will forever encapsulate my time at Texas A&M.”
During his junior and senior years, Cox served as a Yell Leader and led the 12th Man in more than 200 sporting events. Of everything he experienced in the role, Cox’s favorite part is that he now gets to share the title with his younger brother, Keller Cox ’21, who will serve his first year as a junior Yell Leader during the 2019-2020 school year.
Cox graduated in May and will work for Harvey Builders in Houston as a commercial general contractor. “Thanks to the generosity of donors at Texas A&M, I will enter the workforce debt-free as a result of the scholarships I received over the years,” he said. “I hope to one day give back to Texas A&M in the same way that it gave to me.”
Kylie Reis ’19
Kylie Reis grew up in blue and maize, sporting the Big Ten’s University of Michigan. However, her first official college visit was in Aggieland, an experience that set the bar for what she desired in a school. “With every campus tour after that, I thought back to Texas A&M and nothing ever measured up,” said Reis, but her decision still wasn’t easy.
Waiting until the last possible day to accept her admission to either the University of Michigan or Texas A&M, Reis chose to be an Aggie on a whim. It was a split-second decision she describes as skydiving—closing her eyes and jumping, trusting that something would catch her. Her leap of faith wasn’t just a leap; it was a 1,335-mile drive from her home in Oxford, Michigan, to College Station.
“My dad always says that he only allows me to be so far from home because I’m at Texas A&M,” joked Reis. “He knows I’m in good hands.”
Reis embraced the traditions of Aggieland as soon as she arrived on campus, joining organizations like Fish Camp, where she served as a counselor and welcomed new students to campus. She also competed for the Texas A&M Stock Horse team, learning a western style of horse riding that was a departure from the equestrian style she was familiar with.
Now that she’s graduated, Reis will move back to Michigan to be near her family while she pursues her EMT certification before working to become a physician assistant. She plans to use the award money to pay for the certification and other student loans.
“This type of generosity is commonplace at Texas A&M, and it’s ultimately why I’m here,” she said. “Aggies will always inspire me to help others because that’s just what Aggies do.”
THE TEXAS A&M FOUNDATION—The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that builds a brighter future for Texas A&M University, one relationship at a time, by uniting generosity and vision to raise and manage major endowed gifts. For additional information and for photographs, please contact Dunae Reader at email@example.com or (979) 845-7461.