Alumni Spotlight- Maddy Kulkarni
Maddy Kulkarni (UT-Austin 2001) is on the Terry Scholar Alumni Advisory Board and is the Senior Marketing Manager for PepsiCo Frito Lay, where she has worked for seven years. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at UT-Dallas. When she’s not developing future marketers or marketing your favorite soda or snack food (Crunchy Cheetos are her personal favorite), she is active in her community and ensures that local nonprofit organizations can make their largest impact. Maddy’s involvement in community service began long before her move to Dallas. During her time at UT, Scholars did not have to live together in the residence halls. In fact, it wasn’t even a possibility. This made it difficult for them to come together outside of banquets and picnics. Service events were a natural way for them to join together, and they were always looking for ways to give back.
Eventually, Maddy was also able to give back by sitting on the other side of the Terry interview table. Since her graduation from UT, Maddy has interviewed seven times, for Traditional and Transfer Scholars, and she has chaired a panel once. As a Panel Chair, she took the lead during the entire process, guiding the panelists as they selected new Scholars to be welcomed into the Terry family. She notes, “This position is one that is humbling, but it is also a significant commitment.” With that said, volunteering comes naturally to Maddy, as it does to many Terry Scholars.
Amplifying Local Impacts
Marketing takes many years to master, and Maddy has chosen to use her cultivated skills to benefit her community. She has worked with the nonprofit Social Venture Partners by serving on a team of professionals to benefit organizations on a pro-bono basis. One of their clients was Children at Risk, an organization that works to improve quality of life for children through advocacy. She felt so passionate for their cause that she eventually joined their board. After much involvement in other nonprofit organizations, including the Terry Foundation, Maddy decided to start her own.
Dallas Heroes Project “celebrates local heroes, educates citizens on critical issues facing the city, and enables citizens to take social action to make a positive impact in the city of Dallas.” The organization accomplishes this mission by assisting local nonprofit organizations with their marketing strategies. Each month, Maddy chooses a “hero” and a different issue to feature. Often, these organizations have the social and policy work down to a science, but their marketing techniques may suffer as a result. By providing her professional expertise, Maddy is able to help them enhance their footprint in the communities they serve. Previous collaborative projects include adult literacy, the foster care system, and empowerment for young women interested in politics.
To learn more about Dallas Heroes Project, click here.
Alumni Spotlight- Matt Priest
Matt Priest (TXST 2004) was a member of the inaugural class of Terry Scholars at Texas State University in 2004. He currently works as a Senior Associate for the Sterling Group and previously worked as an Investment Banking Associate for Goldman Sachs. Matt explains why he pushed himself to his limits on Wall Street before examining his priorities and adjusting his path. He discusses his time as a Terry Scholar, his life post-graduation, and his advice for Scholars as they pursue their chosen fields.
The Terry Years
Early on, when we started the Texas State group, I’m pretty sure Mr. and Mrs. Terry came out for most events. I got to see them a lot; I got to hear him talk about his upbringing and what led him to start the Foundation and the opportunities he was given to go to UT. I come from a similar kind of background, where the scholarship created opportunity. Hearing those stories told– secondhand too as they got up in age–it’s fantastic the amount of access the Terrys allowed people to have to them and to discuss things. They’d sit down at the picnic and were one of the crew. They wanted to know what was happening in the lives of the students and the universities. I think they took a lot of pride and joy in seeing us do what we did on a university level.
Click the tabs to learn about Matt’s life post-graduation.
Graduating in a Recession
Working on Wall Street
MY Advice to Terry Scholars
If investment banking is something that interests you, figure out why it interests you. I did it for- probably- some of the wrong reasons. It was a “prove to myself that I could do it” type of thing. I wanted to see how far I could go. While I was interested in what we were doing, I was never fulfilled by it. To this day, I still think about “what might have been” if I had chosen a different path. If you’re a current student still debating if you want to be an engineer or an investment banker or a doctor or a hedge fund guy, you have to really think about why you want to do those things. If you’re doing it for the nice job, the nice paycheck, the nice car, and recognition from society, you have got to decide what it is about that occupation that gives you fulfillment. If you want to save lives, then do it. Why do you want to do deals if you’re an investment banker guy? Is it the thrill of doing the transaction and negotiating? I can tell you that you will very rarely be there; it’s not as cool as it looks in the movies. There are things I love about it, and there are things I could never do again and be perfectly okay. People have to find what they view as valuable and fulfilling in their lives. Find a career that gets you that. If you’re more fulfilled by leaving work at 6 o’clock, being a good parent, and being involved with your family, then you have got to find a job that lets you do that- not all of them will. Think more long term than short term, and really understand what you’re striving for.
Alumni Spotlight- Camilla Smith
Shark Week may only happen once a year on the Discovery Channel, but for Camilla Smith (UNT 2011), it happened approximately 52 times. After studying abroad at the School for Field Studies in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Camilla later joined their team as an intern for an entire year working directly with the students leading them on recreational scuba dives. She also worked as a research assistant studying sharks. Although there are no sharks in Denton, UNT did equip her with the skills and knowledge she would need to embark on such an educational adventure.
Not wanting to be pigeonholed into a specific career, Camilla chose UNT because of its diversity in majors. Fashion and marine biology were her two vastly different interests, and luckily, UNT offered degrees and course in both such as scuba diving. Because of this, it felt like fate that she would apply there and then the Terry Scholarship which would impact her life forever.
While Camilla was a Terry Scholar, she served as a service chair and was heavily involved in the organization’s activities. She says, ” It was important to me to keep the commitment I made during my interview. It was the only reason I was able to go to school, so I think I can commit that couple of hours a month to give back to something that has given me so much.” With so much excitement that surrounds the freshman year banquet, one of her fondest memories is that she was able to meet Mr. Terry before his passing. “It was pretty amazing to see someone who has devoted his life to making sure others got a similar opportunity to go to college,” she reflects.
Appreciative of Mr. Terry’s dedicated presence during the later years, Camilla adds, “we all saw and felt that, and it was pretty special.” In addition to meeting Mr. Terry, Camilla’s favorite aspect of being a Terry Scholar was meeting her best friends, including her freshman year roommate who turned into her sophomore, junior, and senior year roommate as well!
Now that she’s back on the mainland, Camilla will continue her efforts in marine conservation. Next fall, she plans to enroll in graduate school where she can continue her undergraduate research in developmental physiology.
Alumni Spotlight- Jake Pringle
Jake Pringle (UT-Austin 1993) is a Consulting Pension Actuary for Milliman in Houston and recently celebrated his 20 year anniversary with the company. If Milliman sounds familiar, that’s because the Foundation holds both traditional and transfer interviews at the Milliman building in Dallas! As a well-establish alumnus, Jake has extensively given back to his Terry family and his community. In 2015, Jake joined the Terry Foundation’s Advisory Board and began his first of 2 terms as the president of the Houston Chapter of the Terry Scholar Alumni Association.
Some may wonder what exact role the Advisory Board plays in the Foundation. In short, members help Foundation staff and Scholars in various capacities, including responding to Self Evaluation Letters (SEL). There were over 1,700 Scholars enrolled this past year, meaning that A LOT of SELs needed to be read. The Foundation is dedicated to answering every letter, so the project has been expanded to include the Terry Scholar Alumni Advisory Board. This past summer, Advisory Board members who were on the Self Evaluation Letter Committee responded to 14-20 letters each. A handful of you may have even received a response from Jake! When asked about this opportunity to further engage with Scholars, Jake said, “It takes you back to your college days. You sympathize with current Scholars as they’re studying for exams and learning how to balance their time. It’s nice to be able to offer advice based on my experience looking back 20 years.”
Each year it is amazing to see the caliber of each class of Terry Scholars at each of the thirteen universities. This year was no different. Although all majors are challenging in their own way, Jake relates to those Scholars studying mathematics- given he graduated with his B.A. in Mathematics from UT-Austin in 1997. Math may seem overwhelming or incredibly challenging to some, but Jake often sees math as a riddle. He grew up watching his grandfather run his own business with a middle school education, and he noticed how at ease he was with the operational side of things. This inspired Jake as he sought out a career that involved day-to-day mathematical equations. This process was made a lot easier because Jake’s mother was his high school counselor. Once he began looking into schools and jobs, his mother mentioned Actuarial Science, a field that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in insurance, finance and other industries. Research and teaching weren’t for Jake, but he could see himself becoming an actuary- at his dream school no less.
On the day of his interview, Jake was star struck by one of the panelists sitting across from him at the table- Coach Darrell K. Royal. Jake grew up watching UT football, so Coach Royal was a legend in his family. From the Foundation’s inception through 2002, Coach Royal served as one of the original directors of the Foundation and knew the Terrys very well. Although Coach Royal’s tenure at the University of Texas came long after Mr. Terry’s playing time, that bond over football and student success always existed between the two men. In addition to Coach Royal, Mr. and Mrs. Terry also sat at the table for Jake’s interview. That may have been the first time Jake met the Terrys, but it certainly wasn’t the last. Jake recalls sitting around the table listening to Mr. Terry’s stories at both the banquet and picnic during his fours years at UT.
“It wasn’t a huge thing back then,” he says. “It was easy to talk to the Terrys.”
Finally, when Jake graduated, he seized the opportunity to switch roles and become extensively involved in the interview process of new Terry Scholars. During that time in the Foundation’s history, Mr. Terry still participated in interviews, so Jake even got to sit beside him on a few occasions- both proud to afford more Texans an opportunity to go to college.
Alumni Spotlight- Brittney Campbell
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can manifest itself in many different ways, depending on the person. Some people with ASD are verbal; some are nonverbal. Some have seizures; some don’t. Some are savants, some are not. Each one of them shares a common diagnosis, but they are all different much like anyone else you might meet. Brittney Campbell (UTD 2012) shares her brother Kendall’s story and what life is like in medical school.
All siblings are special, but Brittney feels a particularly strong bond with Kendall, even though he cannot fully communicate with her. This bond was nurtured through years of accompanying her parents on the journey of autism- doctor’s appointment after doctor’s appointment after doctor’s appointment. Neurologists, Gastroenterologists, and Psychiatrists are all involved in Kendall’s care plan. Because her deep love of science and this exposure to the medical field from an early age, Brittney thought she wanted to become a doctor- for Kendall and for herself. After all, it was everything she wanted in a career. After shadowing her brother’s Psychiatrist, she knew she wanted to become a doctor.
This shadowing experience confirmed everything for Brittney. At first, the office was hesitant to bring her on board due to confidentiality, especially in a psychiatric practice. She persisted, and her persistence served her well. More often than not, undergraduates face numerous barriers to seeing and experiencing patient care first-hand. Brittney says she did have to “cold call” potential sites, and once they responded, she would provide her university transcripts. The successful attempt eventually did come from that real-life connection to her brother’s psychiatrist, so as she says, sometimes “it’s who you know.” Thanks to an active Terry Alumni network, current scholars can access the TAP List in any field to seek leads and guidance, whether it’s in the medical field or on the stage- Brittney’s two passions in life.
Psychiatry was exciting. Brittney listened to patient stories, and each of them were the lead in their own tale- similar to Brittney’s other passion, theater. During her undergrad, she took several improvisation courses to balance out the heavy science classes. Unfortunately, the demanding schedule of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) has prevented her from stepping onto the stage recently. However, to her, “The sacrifices are worth it.” Whether through theater or another hobby, it is important to find an outlet to relieve stress. As Brittney says, “Those tests are no joke!” To reflect and to cope with the stress, she recommends that all medical students write about their experiences, especially the good ones. “It’s important to remind yourself that you deserve to be here,” she says.
It isn’t all studying and stress, though. Brittney’s favorite aspect of medical school is learning how to interview patients. Much like a detective, doctors must know which questions to ask to figure out any underlying issues or extenuating circumstances that could affect a patient’s physical or mental health. This skill is that much more important for Brittney, who is on the road to becoming a psychiatrist and is now in her second year of medical school. Class is in session; good luck to all of our current medical students!
To learn more about autism and how you can help, visit the website of the advocacy organization, Autism Speaks.
Alumni Spotlight- Will Hurd
Representative Will Hurd (TAMU 1995) was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Upon graduating from John Marshall High School, he entered Texas A&M as a Terry Scholar in 1995 and studied Computer Science. He currently represents the 23rd District of Texas and serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House Committee on Homeland Security, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Reflection of a Terry Alumnus
From College to Congress
Leading by Example
Words of Wisdom
Alumni Spotlight- Krystafer Redden
We spent an afternoon with Krystafer Redden (UH 2008) while he visited Texas from New England. Krystafer recently earned his Master’s in Public Policy from Brown University and currently works as a Transformation Specialist for the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). Before a tour of our “Terry Museum” at the Foundation’s Houston office, Krystafer told us about his time as a Terry Scholar on campus and beyond.
Meeting Mr. Terry
Degrees of Success
You're Never Board in College
Teacher and Student
Policy in Providence
Investing in People
Alumni Spotlight- Cody Kelly
Cody Kelly (TAMU 2006) is an aerospace engineer who specializes in search and rescue and water survival device design at NASA. When he’s not working, he spends his personal time training as a first responder and hopes to soon join the Texas Task Force 1, the most active urban search and rescue team in the country, through the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service. In 2016, Cody was awarded the NASA Early Career Achievement Medal for his efforts on search and rescue research as a member of the Orion Crew Survival Engineering team, a collaborative project between the Department of Defense and NASA.
Time as a Terry
Road to NASA
Astronauts and Engineers
Survival, Safety, and Search and Rescue
For more information about internships and job opportunities at NASA, please visit NASA’s website by clicking here…
…P.S. Cody let us in on a secret that not everyone who works for NASA is a scientist or engineer- they hire teachers too!
Alumni Spotlight- Jose Whitten
Jose Whitten (UNT 2013) credits his Terry Transfer Scholarship with the gift of time.
As a transfer student, Jose faced challenges in his transition to a four-year university. A close mentor once observed that, although Jose was an able competitor, he “started the race five miles back” in many respects. This never deterred Jose. The Terry Transfer Scholarship allowed him to focus his energy where it was needed most. Time spent working could be spent on his studies and on serving his community instead.
Jose has been able to study for his MCAT in the pursuit of medical school and volunteer with children in the foster care system through the UNT organization, Persevere UNTil Success Happens (PUSH). PUSH supports UNT students who were previously in the foster care or child welfare system as well as foster children who reside in the Denton area. As a mentor for these kids, who are often at-risk youth, Jose asks “where” they are going to college instead of “if.”
He explains, “this is an important distinction, given that most children in foster care do not pursue higher education. I usually get a positive reaction. What gives me credibility is I relate. I’ve been there.”
After eight tough years in the foster care system as a child, Jose finally found his family. His adoptive mother molded him into the man he is today. “She is the pivotal force behind most of my ways, most of my thoughts,” he says. “I emulate her- I try to at least.”
A Close Call
Jose may not have gotten to this point- not because of a lack of ability- but instead a United States Postal Service cutoff time. It was the day that the Terry Foundation Transfer Scholarship application was due, and it slipped his mind. That evening, he realized what day it was and that his application was still in his backpack. He found a post office that was open late in downtown Dallas and drove from Irving. He made it with just a few minutes to spare, and thankfully, his application was postmarked on time. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Terry Foundation is glad he made it in time and proud to have Jose as an alumnus of the program. We wish him luck in his future endeavors!
To learn more about PUSH, click here to read a Dallas Observer feature on the organization.
Alumni Spotlight- Luis Banuelos
Luis Banuelos (TAMU 2013) is a recent graduate of Texas A&M University where he wore many hats in the Texas A&M Terry Scholars Student Organization- liaison his sophomore year and president the following year. Luis attends Texas A&M School of Public Health, where he studies Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences. He also works at Baylor Scott & White Hospital as a Patient Care Assistant on their medical and surgery floor. As you may have guessed, this is all part of his plan in his pursuit of medical school.
Most recently, Luis has also become well-known for his artistic talents. If you have visited the HOPE Gallery in Austin, Texas during the past year, there is a good chance you’ve seen Luis’ featured works. Although TAMU and UT-Austin are no longer in the same conference, these painted murals honor the rivalry while undoubtedly creating mutual respect for the artistry involved in each piece. If you want to check out some of Luis’ permanent art, visit the Corner Bar & Grill in College Station to see his painting of Kyle Field. You can also watch this video to learn about Luis’s contribution to Texas A&M’s BUILD Organization, which converts shipping containers to mobile medical clinics for communities in need around the world.
Other inspiration for Luis’ hobby came from his extensive travels across Europe when he studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain for a semester. He mentioned that two of his favorite places were Morocco and Switzerland, and he noted that his experiences allowed him to see both “the differences and similarities that we share as people” wherever he went.