Ampersand Society, 2017 Cohort


Zach complements his majors in history and international studies with minors in Chinese and anthropology. A pre-law student, Zach is also part of the Steering Committee for the Peer Leading program at Baylor and serves as a New Student Experience Leader. He serves as the Social Chair for Alpha Lamda Delta Honor Society and is a member of the Social Committee for the North Village Leadership Team. Zach hopes to use his understanding of Chinese culture (he lived in China for seven years) to the best of his ability in pursuing a career internationally. He gained valuable archaeological experience on the Baylor in Italy study abroad program last summer.


Committed to both the ministry and film, Andrew is studying film & digital media, religion, and entrepreneurship. He envisions a number of careers: working for a church’s media ministry, owning his own production company, researching and teaching the latest video technologies. In each, he desires to serve faithfully where God leads. In addition to his studies, Andrew is a Community Leader at Martin Residence Hall and a trombone player and Squad Leader in the Golden Wave Marching Band.


Ryley is majoring in geology and completing a minor in political science. On campus, she is involved in the leadership of Brooks Residential College and currently serves as a student representative on both the Baylor Residence Hall Association and the Brooks College Board of Trustees. She is also an officer in CHIS Service Club and a member of Sigma Gamma Epsilon Earth Sciences Honor Society, Baylor Geological Society, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Alpha Lambda Delta, and the Baylor Student Dining Advisory Committee. Ryley spent part of her summer as a paleobotany and paleoclimatology research assistant in Europe. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in the geosciences. She has specific interests in marine geology, sediment dynamics and geochemistry, and paleoclimatology.


Claire is a pre-law, University Scholar concentrating her studies in history, Great Texts, and international relations. She serves as a Baylor Ambassador, actively participates in International Justice Mission, and works as the student leader of ESL Emmanuel Urban Mission. This past summer she interned at the U.S. State Department. She is member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Kappa Alpha Theta. Claire plans to pursue a career in public interest law.


Rachel, a University Scholar from Washington, D.C., is completing the pre-medicine program in preparation for medical school and studies public health, social innovation, and poverty & justice studies. She currently serves on the Stewardship Leadership Team and the Spiritual Life Committee of Baylor’s Honors Residential College. She envisions her life’s work in community development work and serving those in need. A certified Zumba instructor, Rachel enjoys exercising in her free time.


An Environmental Science major, Haley aspires to be a marine biologist. She volunteers extensively with the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, which allows her to work in the aquatics department and also educate visitors about the environment. She works in Dr. Cole Matson's lab, working on toxicological studies involving gulf-coast species. She plans to attend a graduate school abroad, studying marine sciences and to pursue professionally her work in understanding and conserving the world’s oceans.


Maddie, a biology major and Spanish minor, is completing the pre-medicine track. She enjoys mentoring with Baylor Buddies and volunteering across Waco through the Medical Service Organization. She also serves as a Community Leader in Collins Residence Hall. A Colorado native, she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and swimming. Maddie aspires to attend medical school and serve as a physician and Christian leader in her community.


Andrew, a Hillis Scholar, studies biology and chemistry as a pre-medicine student. He participates in AMSA, the American Medical Student Association, and mentors at-risk children in Waco through BU Urban Missions. He complements his studies with work in Dr. Marty Harvill’s Laparoscopic Research Lab. He experienced medicine in action during a service trip to Honduras when he and a team were able to help triage and treat over 1,000 individuals. In his free time, Andrew enjoys playing recreational sports. After graduation, Andrew hopes to attend medical school back in his home state of Illinois.


Libby studies history, religion, and museum studies as a University Scholar at Baylor. A recent internship at the Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth confirmed her desire to pursue a career in the museum field, and she is especially interested in the unique role museums can play in encouraging and empowering people to learn. She is a member of the Museum Studies Student Association, enjoys co-leading a community group at her church, and serves as an officer for Campus Kitchen, an organization that seeks to minimize food waste in dining halls and alleviate hunger in the city of Waco.


A California native, David studies neuroscience on the pre-medicine track and also business administration. After graduation, he plans to attend medical school at the Baylor College of Medicine. David, a Hillis Scholar, is interested in research in traumatic brain injuries and neurodegenerative disorders. He currently serves as the Internal Director for Steppin’ Out, as well as the New Member President for Alpha Epsilon Delta.


Rochak, a biology major and Latin minor, is completing the pre-medicine program and focuses his studies in Tropical Diseases. He is involved in various organizations on campus: TriBeta, the Biology Honors Society and Baylor’s Wellness Department, where he serves as a Student Peer Leader. Rochak hopes to attend the Summer Institute for Tropical Diseases and envisions a professional life researching medical genetics.


Tabitha Leonards is a pre-law International Studies major and Women and Gender Studies minor in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC). She serves on Baylor’s International Justice Mission and Habitat for Humanity. Tabitha has completed one year as an intern at Baylor University’s Academic Success Center researching campus climate and student diversity and has worked with Baylor’s Campus Kitchen Recovery and Mission Waco Clothesline in an effort to combat hunger and poverty in Waco. She hopes to pursue a career in women’s rights and international law, and in the meantime anticipates studying abroad and getting to know the culture, languages, and people of Spain or India.


A University Scholar, Micheal studies biochemistry and statistics and is also completing the pre-medicine track and Honors Program. He works in the laboratory of Dr. Bryan Shaw, researching the biophysical tendencies of Superoxide Dismutase I protein aggregates and how they lead to the onset of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. In Micheal’s free time, he enjoys reading autobiographies and Greek philosophy, participating in intramural sports at Baylor, and discussing science with his peers.


Jaya, a Hillis Scholar, studies biology and sociology, which allows her to pursue her commitment to both science and people. She is completing the pre-medicine track and also the Honors Program. She has completed the National School of Tropical Medicine’s Summer Institute at Baylor College of Medicine. She is a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the prehealth honor society and the Multicultural Association of Prehealth Students. She has an interest in research and is a member of the Sheesley Lab which focuses on environmental science and analytical chemistry. After graduating, she plans to attend medical school, pursue clinical research, and open her own nonprofit clinic.


Kavya's academic program includes international studies, business administration, and philosophy at Baylor. On the pre-law track, she complements her studies by serving as the marketing director for the Baylor Activities Council; she is also a member of Sigma Iota Rho, Alpha Lambda Delta, the Pre-Law Society, and Cru College Ministry. She was the French Neighborhood Leader for the Baylor & Beyond LLC and served the incoming freshman class as an Orientation and Line Camp Leader and as a Welcome Week Leader. Kavya particularly loves to work with people and building community with others.


Lawson studies international relations, Spanish, religion, and creative writing as a University Scholar. Passionate about Latin American geopolitics, she competes with Baylor's Model Organization of American States team at the national and international level. She serves children and vulnerable individuals as vice president of Baylor High School Project, at Ronald McDonald House through Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and by developing a Catholic Charities program in Waco. Lawson will study abroad in Spain this spring and aspires to explore the intersections of political culture, faith, race, and poverty through graduate and law school.


Margaret, a University Scholar, concentrates her studies in political science and Great Texts. She currently serves as Deputy Chief Justice in Baylor University’s Student Government and is a member of the Baylor in Washington Student Advisory Council. She also participates in the McLane Scholars Program. As a member of Baylor in Washington’s inaugural cohort, Margaret interned at the U.S. Senate and participated in American Enterprise Institute's "Values & Capitalism" program. Her academic and service experiences have also taken her to Italy, Ukraine, Guatemala, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. This summer, Margaret will participate in the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty, an eight-week internship program with a focus on domestic poverty. After graduation, she plans to attend law school with the ultimate goal of working for the Department of Justice.


Amelia, who completed an associate's degree in baking and pastry arts at the Culinary Institute LeNôtre, studies history, political science, and German at Baylor. She is completing the Honors Program and is working on the Texas Legislative History Project at Rice University under the aegis of Dr. Mark Jones, who leads the project. She studied abroad with Baylor in Austria this past summer, taking courses on the Holocaust and world history. In addition to her studies, Amelia competes in intramural volleyball and acts as a Health and Wellness Peer Leader on campus. Amelia plans to earn a doctorate in history and teach at the university level.


Samuel, a University Scholar, concentrates his studies in Biology and Great Texts. He is on the pre-medicine track and is involved in Baylor’s chapter of American Medical Student Association. Additionally, he has worked in the area of holistic child development in Ethiopia and Kenya; he is particularly interested in the establishment of healthcare in impoverished regions. Outside of academics, Samuel loves music and has watched Fantastic Mr. Fox over fifteen times.


Mark, a biochemistry major in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC), is completing the pre-medicine track in preparation for medical school. In addition to his studies, Mark works as a Supplemental Instructor for a chemistry course and enjoys volunteering at the Family Health Clinic in Waco and Camp John Marc, a camp for children with chronic health conditions. He is involved in various on-campus groups, including the American Medical Student Association and the American Chemical Society. Mark has a particular interest in technology and its influence on medical techniques. He hopes to work in a medical specialty that incorporates cutting edge innovations such as advanced radiological techniques and minimally invasive surgery. In his free time, Mark enjoys sailing and playing racquetball.