Shaye Smith '22, one of the first recipients of a Haynes Scholarship. (Photo by Leighton Jack '14)
In the early stages of the Lead by Example campaign, Reta Haynes committed a major gift to establish the competitive Haynes Scholars Program for exceptional Aggies. Fourteen students have benefited so far, including environmental engineering major Shaye Smith ’22.
A junior from Hobbs, New Mexico, Shaye Smith ’22 is among the first students in Texas A&M University’s new environmental engineering major, a discipline that trains Aggies to develop solutions for providing safe water, reducing emissions and safely managing hazardous wastes, among other areas. “I chose this field because it presents unique opportunities and because it is a fluid career with a variety of prospects,” she said.
Like any good scholar, Smith is eager for new experiences in every area of her life, and she hopes to one day use her Aggie education to travel the world as an engineering firm consultant. “I want to get the most out of life and share those experiences with the people around me,” she added.
Smith considers her greatest accomplishment to be her hard work, which resulted in a full ride to college through scholarships. “I’m most proud of the little things, because they’re the building blocks,” she explained. “Having an award like the Haynes Scholarship gives me the opportunity to do the things I love, and I try to appreciate it every day. It’s the biggest blessing of my life.”
A self-identified adventure junkie, Smith enjoys traveling and has visited Latin America, but her favorite excursion was to Egypt in summer 2019. During a two-week mission trip with her church, she served as a sports camp counselor and coach for Egyptian middle schoolers. “Traveling is a huge part of my life,” Smith explained. “I enjoy seeing new places, meeting different people and gaining new perspectives. During my trip to Egypt, I saw the world through a different lens.”
Athlete and Leader:
As a member of the Texas A&M women’s water polo team, Smith exhibits leadership qualities through sports. She played basketball most of her life until a knee injury drew her to the pool during her junior year of high school. The next year, she was selected as captain of the swim team, where she guided the women’s relay to state finals for the first time in five years. “Now, at Texas A&M, it is exciting to encourage my teammates and be a leader and example amongst my friends,” Smith said.