February 14, 2024

Last year, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences announced an exciting goal: the largest scholarship campaign in the college’s history. With it came the launch of a new scholarship program, the Dean’s Excellence Scholarship, to support the best and brightest incoming freshmen.

“The Dean’s Excellence Scholarship establishes a lasting legacy for our college and university,” shared Dr. Jeffrey Savell ’75, vice chancellor and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “By backing students through programs such as this, we not only draw in the most talented individuals to Texas A&M University but also ensure their readiness to embark on impactful careers and lives.”  

Last fall, the inaugural class of 30 scholars was awarded, representing 15 majors from throughout the college. We sat down with a few of these students to learn more about their passions, their experiences in Aggieland and what it’s like being a Dean’s Excellence Scholar.

David Vera ’27

Major: Biochemistry

Who or what inspired you to attend Texas A&M University?
My mother has been my biggest supporter when it comes to my education. As a single parent, she often worked two or three jobs to provide for her family, but despite late nights, early mornings and long days in between, she always reminded me to strive to accomplish my educational goals. She inspired me to take advantage of every opportunity and instilled a hard work ethic in me.

Johanna Jacob ’27

Major: Genetics

What have you gained from Texas A&M so far?
Texas A&M and the Dean’s Excellence Scholarship program has given me a family and a home away from home. Over my first semester, I met so many people. I don’t consider myself a social butterfly and often struggle to spark a conversation with a stranger, so I was pleasantly surprised to be surrounded by a group of kind, generous and unique Aggies who welcomed me with open arms.

Aside from the camaraderie, what led you to pursue your degree at Texas A&M?
My passion for scientific studies. Texas A&M has multiple options for student research, many of which have caught my interest. I don’t think I could have chosen a better school for my major and cannot wait to see where my studies lead me!

In this inaugural year of the Dean’s Excellence Scholarships, I've witnessed students thriving, all thanks to the support of the generous donors who made this program a reality.”
-Dr. Jeffrey Savell ’75

What has your involvement in the Dean’s Excellence Scholarship program looked like so far?
The program has hosted numerous events for students like me to gather and share experiences with one another. For instance, I attended lunch with some of the other recipients and the biochemistry and biophysics department heads. This event allowed me to connect with so many successful individuals and build my network, and it’s just one of the many opportunities the program presents.

What is your scholarship helping you accomplish?
I am so thankful for the opportunities provided by this scholarship. It allows me to completely focus on my education without a financial burden weighing on me and my parents, who are also financially supporting my two siblings.

One more just for fun: Do you have any hidden talents?
I am a mental math whiz! I can multiply and divide simple and complex numbers without pen and paper.


Bryce Fisher ’27

Major: Animal Science and Agricultural Economics

I hear you come from a long line of Aggies. How did that influence your decision to enroll at Texas A&M?
When my great-grandfather, Gene Toungate, attended Texas A&M in the 1950s, I doubt he had any idea he was starting a generational love for this university. Growing up in a family of Aggies and learning the rich culture and history, I developed a deep appreciation for the Aggie traditions and values from a young age. Paired with involvement in 4-H and FFA, two organizations that brought me to Texas A&M for state contests, I quickly knew that College Station would soon be my home.

When you’re not studying, how do you spend your time in Aggieland?
I’ve been blessed to find a community unlike any I’ve had before. In addition to being part of the Dean’s Excellence Scholarship program, I am involved in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council, the COALS Freshman Experience and an amazing Bible study. These programs have allowed me to build community and serve my college and fellow students. I firmly believe getting involved on campus is crucial to the full Aggie experience, and I am excited to continue growing my involvement!

My aspiration is that, over time, we can broaden our impact to encompass more student scholarships, create a greater influence and invest in Aggies who will undoubtedly emerge as tomorrow’s leaders."
-Dr. Jeffrey Savell '75

How do you balance it all?
One of the most valuable lessons I learned my first semester was the power of prioritization. By developing a list of priorities and weighting my time accordingly, I can make the most out of my education and accomplish goals in other areas of my life. Balance is an ever-evolving process, but I take it day by day.

How is your scholarship impacting you?
So many people in the college have poured their time and hearts into this program to provide better opportunities for students, and I am so thankful for those individuals and the donors who made it possible. This scholarship has already helped me accomplish scholastic and personal goals, and I can’t wait to see what awaits during the remainder of my time as a Dean’s Excellence Scholar.

One more just for fun: What’s your favorite tradition?
There are very few events that bring me the same joy that a Midnight Yell practice does. The energy in Kyle Field is unmatched!

Want to support the next generation of outstanding students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences? Contact Jennifer Ann Scasta ’11 below to learn how to create your own Dean’s Excellence Scholarship and support an Aggie on the path to success.