Feature Stories

Student Impact

Howdy, Grace Long '21

By Michele Schevikhoven '21

Marketing Writing Student Worker
Grace Long '21 is a nuclear engineering major and Brown Scholar from Virginia.

Why did you choose to study nuclear engineering?

I found my passion for engineering in my high school chemistry class, where I learned that nuclear technology is vital to the United States and its energy use. It is important to me to remove the stigma from the word ‘nuclear’ so that we can pave the way toward a positive perception of nuclear energy.

When applying for colleges, I looked for universities with strong engineering programs. At the time, I was also interested in joining the Navy, so Texas A&M stood out to me because of its top-ranked nuclear engineering, Corps of Cadets and ROTC programs. Once I realized that I received the Brown Scholarship, it was even more attractive.

How has the Brown Scholars program impacted you?

The program has been invaluable! I couldn’t attend Texas A&M without the financial support and guidance from the Brown Foundation. As a Brown Scholar, I represent not only myself, but the Brown Foundation, the other scholars and Craig Brown ’75. Being a Brown Scholar has taught me to perform to the best of my abilities in all areas of my life, not just in academics, and to pursue all opportunities regardless of what might happen. Our community of scholars supports each other and tries to inspire everyone to make a difference both on and off campus. I’m involved in campus research and an on-campus ministry as well as the Texas A&M National Scholar Ambassadors.

Favorite Aggie tradition

"Silver Taps. I have never experienced this kind of feeling outside of family before." 

What you love most about engineering

"Solving problems! I love puzzles and challenges that make me think."

Best spot in town

"Wolf Pen Creek Park, particularly the walking paths there!"

Three bucket list items

"Travel to Italy, hike down the Grand Canyon and hike the Appalachian Trail. Can you tell I like hiking?"

Greatest lesson learned

"That I’m not perfect, and that’s okay. I rely on so many people every day so that I can excel. Whether it’s a professor, student or adviser, I’ve learned that it’s okay to ask for help."

What motivates you to be an academic leader?

Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” This quote inspires me to encourage others to find their passions. I hope to set an example for my peers and show them that finding something they love to learn about creates an ocean of opportunity.

What has your experience at Texas A&M been like so far?

Amazing! I’m glad I made the choice to attend Texas A&M. When I visited the campus, I saw how deeply Aggies love their school, and I wanted to share in that love and tradition. I also see the prevalence of the Aggie Network: Aggies are everywhere. Even when I meet Aggies outside of Texas, I can hold a genuine conversation with them, and I think that is unique to this university.

How did you feel about moving to Texas?

I was excited! My dad was in the Air Force, so I lived in San Antonio for a couple of years. I grew up visiting Texas, but the thought of living here felt right. Missing out on my two younger siblings growing up in Virginia is tough, but I am involved in many organizations that give me a family away from home.

Craig Brown '75 and his wife, Sue Harris Smith, play a big role in attracting Brown Scholars to Texas A&M.


Craig Brown ’75 and his wife, Sue Harris Smith, are dedicated to supporting successful Aggies like Grace. The couple’s flagship program is the Craig and Galen Brown Foundation, which awards competitive four-year scholarships to well-rounded, high-achieving students—primarily STEM and business majors—recognized as National Merit Finalists. Since the Brown Foundation’s inception, the couple has personally recruited and provided scholarships to more than 400 students. In large part due to the Brown Scholarships, Texas A&M ranks No. 1 in Texas for National Merit Scholar enrollment, No. 3 among public U.S. universities and No. 7 nationally. “I invest in Texas A&M because the experience I had as an Aggie made such a positive impact on my life,” Craig said. “With its culture of friendliness and selfless service, along with its core values and excellent academic opportunities, Texas A&M truly gives students the best well-rounded college education any young person could experience.”



Dunae Reader '15

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor/Maroon Co-Editor