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2015 University Honors Program Faculty Named Posted: 5/07/15

2015 University Honors Program Faculty Named


Upon reflection, most of us can name a teacher who made a profound impact on our lives. Fortunately for students in the University Honors Program at Texas A&M International University, they don’t have to wait to express their gratitude by nominating one of their professors for the University Honors Program Faculty Member of the Year award.

Out of a pool of 10 nominees, Dr. Michael Kidd, assistant professor of biology, was named the 2014-2015 University Honors Program Faculty Member of the Year.

Deborah Blackwell, Michael Kidd--TAMIU Honors Program Faculty Member of the Year, Kevin Lindburg

University Honors Program Faculty of the Year
Texas A&M International University Honors Program students nominated 10 members of the faculty for the University Honors Program Faculty of the Year. Named Faculty of the Year was
Dr. Michael R. Kidd, assistant professor, College of Arts and Sciences, department of Biology
and Chemistry. Congratulating Dr. Kidd are, left to right, Dr. Deborah Blackwell, University Honors Program director; Dr. Kidd, and Dr. Kevin Lindbergh, associate vice president and provost for Academic Affairs.

“Without faculty such as these, who are willing to work so hard to bring out the best in these talented undergraduates, the Honors Program would be unable to function,” noted Dr. Deborah Blackwell, director, University Honors Program and Associate Professor of History.

“The students and I are grateful for all of the dedication that TAMIU faculty bring to their work,” Dr. Blackwell added.

All nominees received a certificate to acknowledge their achievement at a reception held in the nominees’ honor May 1.

Along with being named University Honors Program Faculty Member of the year, Dr. Kidd received a plaque and a small stipend to recognize his hard work on behalf of the student who nominated him and many others in the University Honors Program.

From Kidd’s nomination letter: “It is with great sincerity and gratitude that I nominate Dr. Michael R. Kidd for the University Faculty Member of the Year Award. No other professor has had a more profound impact on my academic career, my undergraduate studies, and myself as a student than Dr. Kidd. His dedication to his students is unparalleled, and his commitment and devotion to this university and is outstanding…

“Dr. Kidd is always available and willing to offer help and guidance, has gone above and beyond to help me with my honors coursework, and works tirelessly for his students. With Dr. Kidd as my mentor, I have found my focus…”

The following quotes are excerpts from the other professors’ nominations:

Dr. José Cardona-López, Professor of Spanish: “Dr. Cardona-López did not only make me feel confident in my knowledge, but he also made me realize that a professor as caring and as dedicated to his students as he is must be recognized for his powerful impact as a professor. Dr. Cardona-López is a professor that genuinely cares both academically and personally for his students. He has a contagious ability to inspire his students with his positivity and passion for Spanish.”

Dr. Kelly Frailing, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice: “Dr. Kelly Frailing’s love, passion and drive to help other student succeed reflect and surpass former recipients’ standards for the University Faculty Member of the Year…. I must say she has shown the representation of a faculty role model.”

Dr. Kameron Jorgensen, Assistant Professor of Chemistry: “Dr. Jorgensen has shown that she genuinely cares about her students. She has always been open to students asking questions in order for us to have a deep understanding of the material. She is an excellent professor who challenges her students and expects the best from us.”

Dr. Agustín Martínez-Samos, Associate Professor of Spanish: “I have found him to be a committed and dedicated professor who has an unceasing interest in my learning and fulfillment as a professional candidate…. His assertive attitude and passion for literature impacts us as students while making him an ally in our journeys and an example of dedication, passion and vocation.”

Dr. Mark Menaldo, Assistant Professor of Political Science: “Government is not one of my biggest interests but I was engaged the entire time we were in class and came out of the class with more understanding about government than I expected to ever really have. Dr. Menaldo is one of those professors that genuinely cares whether or not their students come out of their class with something new, and that they not only come out with something new but with a new way of interpreting the world and looking at things.”

Dr. Monica Munoz, Associate Professor of Psychology: Dr. Monica Munoz helped me with my experiment for months. Even though it would be challenging, she encouraged me to pursue my interests and offered her help so as to lessen my doubts. Inclusively, she encouraged me to email her my ideas if I could not meet with her and would speedily respond to my emails and offer suggestions.

Dr. Jason Norris, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology: “Dr. Norris gave me ideas and research that fueled the overall topic of my thesis. In the past years, I had no direction of what I wanted to research…. However, Dr. Norris helped me by guiding me through the creation of deadlines for certain parts such as IRB approval, parental consent forms, principal and teacher participation, and providing materials needed to complete the study.”

Dr. Alia Paroo, Assistant Professor of History: “I admire her dedication not only to my success in her class or in my undergraduate education, but her concern for my future plans as well. Dr. Paroo is an exceptional professor, and deserves to be recognized for her commitment and passion in student success.”

Dr. Tariq Tashtoush, Visiting Professor of Engineering: “Since the beginning it has been very obvious that he cares about the school and the students’ future.  Since the beginning he has been trying to bring more projects to the school and the students. A great example of this is the DustyTron senior design project. He has been working very closely with the engineering seniors on a robot that will be used at a competition that NASA hosts every year in Florida…. This is time that he might have spent doing different activities but he sacrifices for the students.”

The University Honors Program provides intensive, advanced critical thinking and undergraduate research opportunities to TAMIU’s most academically talented students and has done so since its inception in 2000.

For more information, contact Blackwell at 326.2133 or email

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