Ampersand Society, 2015 Cohort


Clarissa studies journalism new media, minoring in world affairs, and is completing the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC) program. She is a member of the External Relations committee of the BIC Leadership Council and the Japanese Student Association. She works as an assistant at the Texas Collection and studied in Maastricht, the Netherlands during the spring of 2016. Currently, she is working to found Baylor's first student organization for UNICEF.


Janessa, a University Scholar, concentrates her studies in great texts, political science, and classics. She is serving for the second year as a Community Leader in South Russell Residence Hall. On campus, she participates in Baylor Ambassadors, Civitas, and the AEI Executive Council. She spent this past summer in the DC area as a Mount Vernon Leadership Fellow. Janessa cares deeply about law and education and plans on attending law school after graduating from Baylor.


Celeste complements her major in premedicine-biology with a minor in business administration. She is involved with AMSA (American Medical Student Association) and is currently a Community Leader at Brooks Residential College. In the future, she plans to attend medical school and open a private practice as a physician. Celeste loves exploring different places and learning about new cultures. This past summer, she traveled to five countries in South East Asia and completed a shadowing externship at Texas Orthopedic Hospital in Houston. She plans to study abroad in Maastricht, Netherlands for a semester.


Hannah majors in international studies and Arabic and Middle East studies. She is also completing the Honors Program and Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC). Passionate about women's rights, Hannah aspires to work with non-profits to expand girls' access to education in the Arab world. She serves as President for Pursue, a Baylor service organization that mentors at-risk, middle-school girls in Waco ISD. She is also a Baylor Chapter Member of Sigma Iota Rho, the international studies honor society and participates in Baylor Model Arab League. This past summer, Hannah studied in the Arabic Language School at Middlebury College.


Nik, a political science major and history minor, actively participates in Baylor Ambassadors and serves as the organization's secretary. He is also active in his fraternity Phi Kappa Chi. Fascinated with government, Nik currently interns in Representative Bill Flores' Regional Waco Office. After completing his undergraduate degree, Nik hopes to commission as an officer into the United States’ Armed Services.


Micah is a University Scholar concentrating in philosophy, political science, and religion. He grew up in Oregon, where the trees and mountains inspire his mind to look upward. He hopes to serve as a bivocational pastor and professor of philosophy. Micah is a member at Seventh and James Baptist Church and worships alongside his fellow congregants at Temple Rodef Sholom. When not studying, working to help refugees, or leading the Baylor Democrats, Micah enjoys singing with his ukulele in hand or canoeing down the Brazos.


Sakina studies economics on the prelaw track with minors in philosophy and Arabic. An aspiring future lawyer, Sakina competes on the Baylor Undergraduate Mock Trial team, serves as a Baylor Ambassador, and has become involved in the Waco Immigration Alliance. Sakina volunteers at the Mission Waco Legal Aid clinic and hopes to create such an organization herself in the future. This past summer, she interned as a reporter at Waco's NPR station, KWBU. She researched and produced stories on diverse topics including lega aid in Waco and cheesemaking. This fall, she is studying abroad at St. Andrews University in Scotland.


John Ryan is a major in international studies and minors in German at Baylor. A prelaw and Honors program student, he is also invested in Baylor Ambassadors. He will be a Bob Bullock Scholar in Austin during the Spring 2017 semester. After graduation, John Ryan plans to attend law school and pursue a career as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department.


Brian is pursuing a double major in mathematics and statistics and minors in computer science and Spanish. He has been active on campus as a member of Baylor Crew, an officer of the Mobius Math Society, and a Community Leader for Brooks Flats Residence Hall. This semester, he is studying abroad at the University of Helsinki in Finland and will study at the University of Cantabria in Spain in the spring. After graduation, he plans to pursue advanced study in statistics.


From Chicago, Alexa is a neuroscience major on the premedicine track and part of the Honors Program. A Hillis Scholar, Alexa is a member of AMSA (American Medical Student Association), AMWA (American Medical Women’s Association), and BURST, a club that focuses on research in science and technology. Alexa was a research assistant at the Family Health Center in the spring and now volunteers there regularly. She is also a Medical Mentor, and through this program is a peer leader for a freshman seminar. In her free time, Alexa loves traveling and working with children. She plans to attend medical school to become a pediatrician.


Kayla, majoring in biochemistry, aspires to pursue a dual MD-Ph.D. and is an officer for SIGHT (Students Improving Global Health Together). During the summer of 2015, she presented the SEA-PHAGES (Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science) class’ research at HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute). This past summer, she met with the director and scientists at the Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center at Johns Hopkins. Additionally, she participated in a SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) at UT Southwestern Medical Center, working in Pediatric Hematology Oncology. This fall, she is working in the lab of Dr. Kevin Pinney, Professor of Chemistry.


Andrew is a graduate of Live Oak Classical School and a University Scholar at Baylor with concentrations in economics, philosophy, and great texts. He serves as the External Vice President of the Baylor Ambassadors and also on the University Honor Council. Outside of school, Andrew is an active member at First Baptist Church Waco. After graduation, he plans to study law and work to provide a voice for those who have none.


Kaitlyn Petersen, a neuroscience major, plans to attend graduate school to study neuropathology and neuropharmacology. She hopes to study mental illness in order to create more effective medicines. She accompanies her major with a statistics minor to be better prepared for the field of research. She is also a member of the honor societies Alpha Lambda Delta and Nu Rho Psi. This past summer, Kaitlyn worked at The Houston Methodist Research Institute in the Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine. In addition to her studies, Kaitlyn performs with Sing Alliance.


Alexandra Smith is an anthropology major with minors in Spanish and religion. She plans to become an archaeologist and work on dig sites around the world. She is a student in the Honors Program and lives in the Honors Residential College. She is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and secretary of the Anthropology Society. This past summer, she participated in the Baylor archaeology field school in Gatesville and Columbus, Texas, and worked for the cultural resource management firm, Prewitt and Associates, on a historic site in downtown Houston.


Aaliyah is an economics major and prelaw at Baylor. The Vice President of the Association of Black Students, she strives through this organization to promote unity and diversity at Baylor. Aaliyah is also a member of the Pre-Law Society. These organizations and her program of study are preparing Aaliyah to attend law school after Baylor and to pursue a career in American public policy, focused in civil rights.


Lawrence, a University Scholar, is also completing the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC) program. In addition to his premedicine coursework, Lawrence studies music. Ultimately, he hopes to attend medical school and become a forensic pathologist.


A University Scholar, Rebecca is studying political science, international studies, philosophy, and Spanish with the goal of pursuing a career in international law. She currently works as a tour guide for Baylor and enjoys participating as an officer in both Baylor’s Mock Trial team and club Swim team. This past summer, Rebecca worked as an outreach swim instructor in Dallas and participated in an internship with the Human Rights Initiative, a non-profit immigration legal office in Dallas. Currently, Rebecca works as a constitutional law research assistant for a doctoral candidate at Princeton while she completes her own research for her Honors thesis on restorative justice in Latin America.


As she completes the premedicine program at Baylor, Tai also studies biology and biochemistry. She serves on the founding cohort of the National Residence Hall Honorary as the Vice President of Membership and Induction. She is also an active member of AMSA, the American Medical Student Association, as well as the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. Tai completed a surgical externship at the Texas Orthopedic Hospital in Houston this past summer. She serves her campus community as a Brooks Residence Hall Ambassador, regularly volunteering at Emeritus, a local retirement home, and plans to work as a yoga instructor at the SLC.