Two students from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences are among the 20 selected to serve in the latest cohort of the Texas A&M Foundation’s Maroon Coats ambassador program.
Junior biomedical sciences majors Ryan Bindel, from Mansfield, and Elizabeth Nevins, from Plano, were welcomed into the 10th class of Maroon Coats during the foundation’s coating ceremony on April 9.
As student ambassadors to the Texas A&M Foundation, Maroon Coats aim to increase the culture of philanthropy at Texas A&M by thanking donors and educating their peers on the importance of outside support.
More than 300 students applied for the prestigious position, and the selection process was rigorous, including multiple rounds of interviews, according to the students.
“I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity; I am really glad to bring the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to Maroon Coats and the foundation, because I want to support this college in any way that I can,” Bindel said. “I know in previous years, there have not been many Maroon Coats from this college, and, so, I really was looking forward to the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, we’re doing incredible things, and we can grow in these ways. Please help us get there.’ It’s really just exciting.”
The organization includes Texas A&M University student leaders involved in a range of activities, and Bindel and Nevins are no exception.
Bindel is a U.S. Navy contract in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets who plans to become a physician in the military. An avid runner on marathon and triathlon teams, he’s active in the Ross Volunteer Company and tutors his fellow cadets. He also is involved in undergraduate research, working on a NASA-funded project studying colon cancer with Dr. Nancy Turner’s lab.
Nevins, who plans to become a pediatric hematologist or oncologist, is actively involved in Fish Camp, her sorority Delta Gamma, and Big Event. She is involved in an undergraduate research project in Dr. Kevin Cummings’s lab, studying the transmission of Salmonella by examining fecal samples from animals in feed lots.
Both students also are scholarship recipients, Bindel through the military and Nevins through the Terry Foundation, which also impacted their decisions to apply for the Maroon Coats program.
“I actually had two scholarships that allowed me to come to A&M. If I didn’t have these scholarships I probably wouldn’t be here,” Nevins said. “Through Maroon Coats, I’m able to give back just a little bit of my time. In the future, I want to give back monetarily like these donors have, but for right now, giving my time and my Aggie spirit and wanting to make something of myself is, I feel like, giving thanks to them.”
In the decade since the organization’s inception under the helm of former Texas A&M Foundation president Ed Davis, more than 180 Texas A&M students call themselves Maroon Coats.
“The Maroon Coats grew tremendously fast,” said Shannon Zwernemann, the group’s adviser and a 2003 A&M alumna. “We were already where I thought we would be in 10 years by year five.”
Maroon Coats log many volunteer hours each semester interacting with donors at special events, hosting tours, and giving speeches at Foundation receptions. In 2014, the Maroon Coats began hosting the Student Organization Advancement Conference (SOAC) to provide student organizations the opportunity to learn about fundraising and philanthropy.
Over the past decade, the group has devoted more than 7,300 service hours, provided over 200 campus tours, written thousands of thank-you letters, and made hundreds of phone calls.
In celebration of the organization’s 10th anniversary, all former members were also invited to the event.
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M’s capability to be among the best universities.
Read more about Bindel and Nevins in the next edition of CVM Today.