A&M-Commerce grad students earn statewide honor


Amanda Heflin, Writer

Wesley Adams and Chance Brown, both graduate students of the Texas A&M University-Commerce College of Science and Engineering, were two of twenty winners of the NASA Texas Space Grant Consortium (TSGC) Fellowship Awards for the 2014-2015 year, a $5,000 grant was awarded to them for their contributions to the outreach of science.

The Texas Space Grant Consortium is made up of 53 institutions that include universities, industrial organizations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. Every year, 20 students are chosen to receive this $5,000 grant through the Graduate Fellowship Program.

Adams attended Weber State University for his undergraduate degree in physics and astronomy. Adams said he plans to pursue a PhD and “stay in Texas because with this fellowship so I can extend it another two years.”

The grant is a “weight off my shoulders”, said Adams. “The money doesn’t have to go to research. I will be living off the money which definitely helps.”

“I prefer to teach. Research is secondary,” Adams Said. “I like teaching undergrad-level students something with a planetarium. I did a lot of research at Webber State.”

Brown, who is from East Tennessee State University and majored in physics and mathematical sciences, received the same fellowship.

“Any time you get extra money is exciting and it looks really good on a PhD program application, but it’s even more satisfying to have some sort of grant or other money coming in that you received form working in your field of study,” Brown said.

“[He is] probably going to switch fields from physics with an emphasis in astrophysics to engineering more aerospace or energy engineering,” when Brown pursues a PhD.

Unlike Adams, Brown “prefers research most definitely.” “I’m still interested in space,” Brown said, “Ideally I want to work on energy systems maybe some spacecraft kind of stuff.”

“Another thing I want to accomplish is to get more public interest in science,” Brown said. “That is one reason they gave Wesley and myself the space grant.”

Chance Brown applied to the TSGC because one of the professors emailed him and told him about it. While Wesley Adams applied while he was attending Weber State University.

In the application to the Texas Space Grant Consortium “A lot of the questions they asked were about outreach experience,” Adams said.

“Outreach is one of those things that I have always liked.  I like teaching and I like talking about science,” Brown said.

“I did a lot of outreach stuff like work in the planetarium and with classes. That’s what helped,” Adams said.

Neither of them have solidified the list of Ph.D programs they want to apply for, but if they do stay in Texas they each have the opportunity to extend the fellowship for three more years.