How I Impacted Aggieland

Meet inspiring young alumni who found unique ways to impact the university they love.

    By Tiarra Drisker ’25
  • May. 14, 2024
    10 min read

Giving back is baked into Aggies’ DNA, but the thought of supporting Texas A&M University in a way that matters can seem impossible. How can one person make a difference at such a large university, especially if you consider yourself an average Joe?

The truth is, you don’t need to be a millionaire to impact the Texas A&M areas you love. Even a small gift can change an Aggie’s life by helping make their educational or extracurricular dreams a reality and giving them opportunities to succeed well beyond their days on campus.

Read on to meet inspiring young alumni who discovered the power of giving when they supported their passions in Aggieland. From pooling resources with others and using matching funds from employers to contributing small amounts over time, these Aggies found resourceful yet meaningful ways to give back to Texas A&M that will create ripples well into the future.


Sisters Caitlin Jones ’10 (left) and Elizabeth King ’06 (right) are honoring their dad, William Tosh ’75, while supporting future Aggies. (Photo by John Davidson)

Elizabeth King ’06 and Caitlin Jones ’10 had explored Aggieland and attended football games with their Aggie father, William Tosh ’75, all through their childhood and teenage years. Though they had many fond memories with their father and Aggieland, one experience stands out as the reason they decided to attend Texas A&M.

“I’ll always remember the 2001 Red, White and Blue Game versus Oklahoma State,” King said. “I saw everyone participating in the color coordination and knew this is the place I wanted to be.” “My T-shirt from that game got so worn out that I made a blanket from it,” Jones added.

During their time at Texas A&M, King and Jones were sisters on a mission. Both were heavily involved in Aggieland, serving as Fish Camp counselors and participating in Maggies, MSC committees, Freshmen Leadership Organizations and professional groups. Both sisters attribute their passion for involvement to the Aggie upbringing they received from their father.

Tosh earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M and inspired King and Jones to attend while financially planning with his wife to ensure both sisters left college debt-free. “Our parents saved and planned so much for my sister and me to attend college,” Jones said. “Graduating debt-free was such a blessing that helped us start our lives and our families, and we wanted to repay that favor.”

After both sisters graduated from Texas A&M, King went on to work for ExxonMobil for 17 years in upstream oil and gas and development, while Jones worked at Marathon Oil Co. for 14 years in supply chain organization. Amid their successful careers and growing families, King and Jones still remained close with their Aggie dad. But when Tosh was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, the sisters knew they wanted to show their appreciation in time for their father to see it.

Along with their husbands, Ross and Matthew, the sisters pooled their resources and used matching funds from their employers to create the William E. Tosh ’75 President’s Endowed Scholarship, which will support high-achieving students as they immerse themselves in Aggieland. “We both received a President’s Endowed Scholarship during our time at Texas A&M, so we wanted to honor our dad with one in his name,” King said. “We surprised him with it for Christmas, and he was thrilled.”

“I unwrapped their present to me and found a letter from the Foundation describing the scholarship,” Tosh said. “I was overcome with joy that my daughters would give me such an honor. To see Caitlin and Elizabeth embrace Texas A&M’s core values was by far the best gift ever.”

“The fund will continue to grow and carry on his name long after he’s gone,” Jones added. “His legacy will live on every time we tell his story to the students it impacts.”


Hailing from Coppell, Texas, Tyler Stephenson ’18 knew since childhood that he would be an Aggie. With a College Station-born father who took him to Aggie football games and a grandfather, Lane Stephenson, who worked in marketing and communications for Texas A&M for 50 years, Stephenson knew sports and Aggieland were his passions. In a roundabout way, his passion for sports landed him his current position at Lockheed Martin.

Through a small monthly gift to the Aggie ACHIEVE program, Tyler Stephenson ’18 (right) is helping students like Rayshaun Wheaton ’24 achieve their Aggie dreams. (Photo by John Davidson)

“While at Texas A&M, I worked in the athletic department handling media relations and sports information to build my resume,” Stephenson said. “The more courses I took in management information systems and business, the more I found that to be my passion. Ultimately, my experience with coding, data and media from that job gave me what I needed for Lockheed Martin.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s in management information systems and invaluable experience already under his belt, Stephenson felt the need to give back. Inspired by his Aggie grandmother’s career as a special education teacher at South Knoll Elementary School, Stephenson established a recurring $50 monthly online gift for the Aggie ACHIEVE program after discovering the fund on social media.

As part of the School of Education and Human Development, ACHIEVE is a comprehensive transition program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities that provides an inclusive and immersive college education and equips them for employment. Participants live on campus their first two years, earn their Aggie ACHIEVE Rings and graduate with a certificate in interdisciplinary studies.

“ACHIEVE forced me out of my comfort zone,” said Rayshaun Wheaton ’24, a student in the program. “I’ve made so many friends here, and I feel like I’m part of the Aggie family.”

With donations like Stephenson’s, which has so far provided almost $2,000 to support the program’s operations, ACHIEVE is making a difference in the lives of students who may not have been offered the opportunity to attend college with their peers.

“Donors impact students’ participation in the program by easing their financial burden and allowing them to truly enjoy college life,” said Anita Lang, Aggie ACHIEVE’s assistant program director. “With the support of donors, these students can achieve anything!”


By creating a scholarship for out-of-state cadets, Stephanie Herman ’19 ensures the legacy of her late boyfriend, Nathan Matos ’19, will echo through generations. (Photo by Ryan Donnell)

Stephanie Herman ’19 remembers her boyfriend, Nathan Matos ’19, as a special part of her Aggie experience. “Nate would do anything to make others happy,” Herman said. “He always made me laugh, and when I was stressed about school, he would often stop me from studying just to kiss or hug me.”

One of Herman’s favorite memories with Matos was right before finals in 2017, when several inches of snow graced the Brazos Valley. Herman and her friends decided to abandon cramming for finals and met up with Matos to play in the extremely rare white blanket covering College Station, creating snowy memories they would never forget.

Herman and Matos had many such memories together during their two years as a couple. But then, tragedy struck. In April 2019, during their senior year, the couple was driving when a car hit them. Herman was seriously injured, but Matos didn’t make it.

A history major from Hainesport, New Jersey, Matos had been part of Squadron 4 before serving as Corps Logistics Officer, and his fellow cadets and friends remember him as a hard worker, a good-natured friend and a true professional.

“I wanted to dedicate something in his honor,” Herman said. “He was happiest at Texas A&M, so I knew creating a scholarship would have meant a lot to him. He made a huge impact while he was here, and he had a community that loved and respected him. I wanted to give back to continue that legacy.”

After getting in touch with the Texas A&M Foundation, Herman established the Nathan “Nate” Matos ’19 Memorial Sul Ross Scholarship to support out-of-state students in the Corps of Cadets. She provided an initial contribution to the scholarship, which was then fully funded with additional contributions from Matos’ friends and family members.

“I’m proud and thankful to see Nathan’s legacy living on through this scholarship,” said Matos’ father, Edwin. “I’m proud because he is remembered and cared about, and thankful because it will help others get their degree and preserve his legacy at the university he was so proud to attend.”

“I don’t want his story to have a negative end,” Herman added. “I wanted to take this terrible thing that happened and use it to do something good. The only way you can see good is if you put it out into the world.”

Inspiring Future Women Energy Leaders

Since her time as a freshman living in Mosher Hall, Camille Camarata ’19 has always felt a deep connection to the women within the petroleum engineering (PETE) program. From late-night dinners to cramming for exams and grinding out projects, Camarata made friends for life while earning a world-renowned education.

Camille Camarata ’19 (right) and friends including Taylor Butler ’19 (second from right) and Tracy Ike ’19 (left) mentor their current scholarship recipient, Cecila Orta ’25. (Photo by John Davidson)

During her senior year, Camarata heard that the number of women pursuing petroleum engineering degrees was decreasing. Six months after graduating, she stumbled across a social media post from the Texas A&M Foundation highlighting a scholarship created by one of her previous classmates.

“That post made me realize that giving was doable, and I started looking into making my own gift,” Camarata explained. “I wanted it to center on women in the oil and gas industry because there are so many obstacles for women to join this industry, and I didn't want finances to be one of them. During my time at Texas A&M, we had a tight-knit group of ladies in the petroleum department. We want all women to feel like they also belong here and have a support network.”

With a text to her friends Taylor Butler ’19, Carrie Sistrunk ’19, Tracy Ike ’19 and Phoebe Ho-Stone ’19 and the help of a Texas A&M Foundation development officer, the process of creating the Class of ’19 PETE Ladies' Scholarship was quickly underway. By pooling their resources and utilizing matching funds from their employers, the friends soon funded the $25,000 scholarship, and now, petroleum engineering junior Cecilia Orta ’25 is blazing her own trail thanks to these five successful former students.

“This scholarship helps financially, but I also have access to knowledge and tips from these wonderful women,” Orta said. “Tracy, Taylor and Camille even attended a recent job fair to help me!”

“Seeing our recipient growing from our mentorship and giving is amazing,” Camarata said. “I hope that as the scholarship continues, we'll also see the impact on graduated scholarship recipients.”

Orta plans to become a drilling engineer, and with the guidance and financial support of women who were once in her shoes, her dream is within reach. “Once I realized what the scholarship meant to them and how they funded it at such a young age, I knew I wanted to do the same one day,” Orta explained.

Make a Difference: No matter the size, every gift has a tremendous impact on Aggieland. The Texas A&M Foundation offers many financially reasonable methods to give to a specific area of Texas A&M you are passionate about without breaking the bank. Explore your options by accessing our free giving guide at the button below.

Download our Giving Guide