Also In This Issue

On Campus: News From Across Texas A&M

Virtual Livestock Learning

Students in the Texas A&M University Department of Animal Science can sharpen their cattle working skills thanks to a simulation program created by Nicholas Free ’19. The senior animal science major designed CowSim, an interactive video game that demonstrates basic cattle handling techniques and teaches players how to confidently move cattle from one place to another. 

CowSim has three sections. The first portion teaches behaviors required to handle cattle in an open environment, while the second illustrates techniques for driving livestock in a production facility. The final section allows players to use knowledge gained to herd cattle through an obstacle-filled facility.

Dr. Luis Tedeschi, associate professor and fellow for animal nutrition, said the game represents a strong example of alternative teaching methods. “Given the media orientation of today’s students, video games provide an exciting opportunity to catch their attention and deliver the desired information,” he said. “The combination of educational gaming and virtual reality has the potential to attract a greater audience and deliver the same information as a traditional lecture.”

Showcasing Rural Veterinary Medicine

While many graduating veterinary students accept jobs in suburban over rural areas, Texas A&M University’s Veterinary Education, Research & Outreach (VERO) program is encouraging students to take a deeper look at rural veterinary careers.

The Food Animal Production Tour, a decade-old initiative in the VERO program, takes second- and third-year veterinary students on a six-day tour to West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) in Canyon, Texas, where the VERO program is housed.

During the tour, students explore the beef cattle, dairy cattle and swine industries, as well as mixed-animal veterinary practices through visits to local clinics. They also meet with the Texas Cattle Feeders Association and visit a Holstein feedlot, a packing plant and WTAMU’s meat science facility. The tour provides insight into rural veterinary career paths and gives students field experience at WTAMU, located 200 miles from where 30% of the nation’s beef cattle are raised.

“In visiting the area’s dairies and feedlots, they see how these animals are actually cared for and the important leadership role that rural veterinarians play,” said Dr. Dan Posey, VERO academic coordinator.

  • Engineers to Entrepreneurs

    A new certificate program in the College of Engineering will help students strengthen their entrepreneurial expertise. The 13-hour credit program, known as the Concept, Creation and Commercialization (C3) certificate, allows both undergraduate and graduate students the chance to share their ideas with industry representatives, meet former student entrepreneurs and learn how to commercialize products that can impact society.
  • Gotta Love Aggieland

    There are always more reasons to love Aggieland: In respective rankings by Sports Illustrated and SmartAsset, a personal finance website, College Station was named one of the nation’s best college towns and least-stressed cities. Aggieland’s iconic football traditions earned it the No. 9 spot among college towns, while low divorce and bankruptcy rates contributed to the city’s stress-free rating.
  • All-Star Vision

    Former Texas A&M football star and current Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller ’11 has partnered with the A.P. Beutel Health Center to bring his outreach program, Von’s Vision, to campus. The newly opened Von’s Vision Center will provide Aggies in need with access to free, comprehensive eye exams and high-quality prescription eyewear.

Coding the Way

Last October, Texas A&M University hosted the world’s first international Datathon, a student-run event that challenged participants to apply their data science knowledge to real-world situations. Of 2,000 applicants from 130 universities and 95 different majors, 650 scholars ranging from college freshmen to Ph.D. students were selected to participate.

During the event, participants spent more than 30 consecutive hours in company-sponsored competitions and were afforded the opportunity to learn from world-renowned data scientists. Students prepared by honing their skills in programs like Python and MATLAB while also brushing up on data science basics.

Encouraged by the success of its inaugural weekend, the event’s leadership team plans to make Datathon an annual event to increase awareness of data science among students of all levels, majors and genders. “Through events like Datathon, Texas A&M is in a unique position to gain an international reputation as the university leading the way in data science,” said Josiah Coad ’19, a triple major in computer science, mathematics and statistics who served as the event’s lead.

Weather Watch

During the Texas A&M Maritime Academy’s seven-week international training cruise last summer, Sea Aggies from Texas A&M University at Galveston deployed 16 drifting buoys between Hawaii and Seattle as part of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Global Drifter Program.

The buoys measure sea surface temperatures and ocean current velocities to develop weather forecast models, calibrate satellites, inform search and rescue planning, and map marine debris and oil spills. “The information collected by the buoys is the same data that creates the maps and charts our cadets use daily for maritime operations,” said Capt. Augusta Roth ’96, department head of maritime transportation at the Galveston campus.

The buoys also provide key markers to aid in defining the global climate. “Both the maritime field and the nation are invested in global climate trends,” Roth added. “The information collected by NOAA provides significant climate knowledge that impacts us all. Our partnership with NOAA aids our students in establishing awareness not only of weather safety as they embark on maritime careers, but also on the impact of climate variables within our industry. This type of hands-on training aboard the ship is invaluable.”


Dunae Reader '15

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