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By Keith Randall, Marketing and Communications

COLLEGE STATION, Feb. 17, 2017 – Responding to new challenges impacting the Earth’s oceans, Texas A&M University’s Department of Oceanography will offer a new undergraduate degree in oceanography.

The new bachelor of science degree in oceanography is necessary for several reasons, officials say.

“The exploration and exploitation of energy resources in deeper waters offshore, the continued growth of human populations along the coast, and growing efforts to predict and mitigate coastal hazards such as hurricanes, tsunamis, oil spills, and harmful algal blooms are driving an increase in the need and opportunities for well-trained ocean scientists,” says Shari Yvon-Lewis, acting department head of oceanography.

“We are extremely excited to offer the new bachelor of science degree in oceanography. This new degree is tailored to providing skills for new oceanography-related jobs emerging as we tap further into the resources provided by the ocean, as well as skills that are transferable to a wide array of technical careers.

“This new degree will provide students with the skills they need to go directly into the workforce as well as provide a strong STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) foundation for students wanting to pursue an advanced degree. We have built professional development opportunities into the curriculum and provide opportunities for study abroad and internships.”

The new major will provide education and training in one of three areas of concentration: ocean observing systems and technology; ocean climate and marine ecosystem science and health.

Some experts say geosciences could be the defining scientific discipline of the 21st century, noting that human society of the future depends more on innovation and application of discovery in the geosciences than on any other discipline. The field is essential to solving society’s critical challenges – global climate change, air and water quality, and adequate energy and food supplies.

For more information, about the new degree, go to

National Charity League, Inc.,The Lady Bird Katy Chapter, Participates in Philanthropic Event To Benefit Veterans Suffering From PTSD through Camp Hope

Katy, TX, February 13, 2017– Mothers and daughters from the National Charity League, Inc., Lady Bird Chapter (NCL, Inc.) met with nine other chapters in their district for Ticktocker Day on Saturday, February 4th.  Ticktocker Day is an annual philanthropic initiative that supports a military philanthropy.  This year’s event benefited Camp Hope which is a residential treatment facility of veterans who are suffering from PTSD. The Lady Birds worked with other NCL chapters to make over 200 blankets which were donated to the veterans living at Camp Hope. They also had the opportunity to hear several veterans share about their experiences serving in combat, their struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the help they have received at Camp Hope.  The NCL chapters also presented Camp Hope with a total donation of $1,728 and over 300 canned goods to stock the Food Pantry of another philanthropy partner, Houston Northwest Community Center. 

About National Charity League, Inc., Lady Bird Chapter

National Charity League, Inc., Lady Bird Chapter currently has 275 members and provides hands-on volunteer service for 22 philanthropic organizations in the community. Members are women and their daughters in grades 7-12. Through this community service, NCL, Inc. develops socially responsible community leaders and strengthens the mother-daughter relationship. The traditional six-year core program also includes leadership development and cultural activities. Mother-daughter teams nationwide are responsible, dedicated, skilled volunteers actively engaged in local community work in 26 states across the country. To date, there are over 200 Chapters. For more information about the NCL, Inc., Lady Bird Chapter, please visit

About National Charity League, Inc.

Established in Los Angeles, California in 1925, and incorporated in 1958, National Charity League, Inc. is the premier mother-daughter organization of women and their daughters in grades 7-12. For more information, visit the website at to find a chapter in your area.

HOUSTON, TX (02/17/2017) When the touring show “In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” comes to the Hobby Center on March 17, be on the lookout for two quartets — not just one.

The Cinco Ranch High School (Katy) String Quartet have the privilege of joining the professional actors on stage to add an element of orchestral texture to the evening.

Here’s the rundown:  

The show: “In My Life” is the musical retelling of the Beatles story through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein and features the live music of renowned tribute band Abbey Road. The band features Chris Paul Overall (“Paul”), Nathaniel Bott (“John”), Zak Schaffer (“George”) and Axel Clarke (“Ringo”). Brian Epstein is played by Murphy Martin. The production includes multimedia, period costumes and vintage instruments. It has toured for years, with a critic for the Orange County Register at one point declaring, “If you see one tribute show, see this one –smart and loads of fun.” The show is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades.

The string quartet: Cinco Ranch High seniors Aidan Gettemy and Daniela Melo, junior Janet Li and sophomore Joshua Jung will join the band for the songs “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Hello Goodbye,” and “Hey Jude.” In a special touch, “Yesterday” is played as a scene in which the Paul McCartney character plays the song for the first time for Beatles producer George Martin, with the songwriter explaining that he envisioned a string-quartet accompaniment.

In addition to performing with Cinco Ranch High’s most advanced ensemble, the Sinfonia Orchestra, quartet members play with prestigious area ensembles, including the Houston Youth Symphony and All State Honors Orchestras. The young musicians have consistently received excellent ratings at University Interscholastic League (UIL) solo and ensemble competitions, Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) festivals, Houston Young Artists’ Concerts and the Coltman Chamber Competition.

String quartet for hire: The quartet performs at weddings and other events. Those interested in hiring the quartet may contact Brett Nelson at BrettTNelsen@KATYISD.ORG or (281)222-4307.

How the “Beatles” connection was started: The producers of “In My Life” approached CRHS Orchestra Director Brett Nelson looking for a talented ensemble which could hold their own with a rock band in front of an audience. The show commonly uses a local quartet to augment the production while on tour.

The quartet’s Beatles fans: Li, Melo and Gettemy are the quartet’s Fab Four fans.

Li and Melo’s favorite Beatles tune is “Hey Jude.”

“I’m excited that we get to play “Hey Jude” in the Beatles show,” she said.

The details: In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles is the award-winning musical biography of the Beatles through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein, featuring the live music of renowned tribute band, Abbey Road. The show is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades. The smash hit production performs at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts – Zilkha Hall on March 17 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $33- $64, plus applicable ticket fees, and may be purchased online at, by phone at 713.315.2525 or at the Hobby Center Box Office. The show is appropriate for all ages.

And here is some additional information about the CRHS String Quartet:

Janet Li, 16, has been playing the violin for eight years. In addition to serving as the Concert Mistress for the RCHS Sinfonia Orchestra, Li has received superior ratings at UIL competitions and TMEA festivals. She has played with All-State Honors Orchestras.

“The violin is so interesting to play that I never get tired of practicing,” said Li. “I get to play with amazing people in our orchestra.”

She belongs to Music in Motion, a charitable school club which performs at nursing homes, the RCHS Future Business Leaders of America club, the Spanish Honors Society, National Honors Society and is an officer for her school orchestra.

The junior has a 4.625 grade point average and aspires to study computer science at a four year university.

Li is a Beatles fan and her favorite Fab Four tune is “Hey Jude.”

Daniela Melo, 19, has been playing viola for more than ten years. She plays with the CGHS Sinfonia Orchestra and has performed with All-State Orchestras and the Houston Youth Symphony. She received a excellent rating as a soloist in the TMEA Solo and Ensemble Festival earlier this year.

“The viola isn’t loud like the violin or dark like the cello,” said Melo. “It’s right in the middle and it’s beautiful.”

“I love playing in orchestra because you learn how to work together to make music and make friends.”

The senior plans to attend college after graduation and study Music Performance.

Melo is a Beatles fan and her favorite Fab Four tune is “Hey Jude.”

“I’m excited that we get to play “Hey Jude” in the Beatles show,” she said.

Joshua Jung, 15, has played the violin for six years. He is a member of the CRHS Sinfonia Orchestra and performed with the Houston Youth Symphony. He has received outstanding ratings with TMEA solo and ensemble competitions and UIL festivals.

“I enjoy developing as a musician and playing with like-minded people in orchestra,” said Jung

He is a member of his school’s Science Olympiad and Science Bowl, Mu Alpha Theta, a math honors society, and the Future Business Leaders of America club.

The sophomore plans to attend college and study engineering.
When Aidan Gettemy was seven-years-old, he heard cellist Jo Jo Ma perform and immediately began taking cello lessons. He was the principal cellist with the Houston Youth Symphony and was awarded the Performance Excellence Award by TMEA at the state level.  He has received consistent superior ratings with UIL festivals and the Coltman Chamber Competition. He has performed with All-State Honors Orchestras and is a member of the RCHS Sinfonia Orchestra.

“I love the tonal sound of the cello and I’m interested in learning all aspects of the instrument,” said Gettemy, who plans to study cello in college.
The senior is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, the Spanish Honors Society and maintains a 4.7 grade point average.
Gettemy, 18, is a long-time Beatles fan.

And here is some additional information about CRHS Orchestra Director Brett Nelson:

Brett Nelsen has been the Orchestra Director at Cinco Ranch High School (CRHS) since the school’s inception during the fall of 1999. Prior to CRHS, starting his career in Katy in 1994, he served as the Orchestra Director at Beck Junior High when that facility opened in 1997. CRHS Orchestra is recognized as one of the top orchestra programs in the state. Under his leadership, CRHS Orchestras have been Honor Orchestra Finalists eight times in the past ten years in both string and full orchestras. CRHS Orchestras have consistently earned top prizes and have earned Outstanding Orchestra Awards in Festivals across Texas and the United States. Making their Carnegie Hall Debut with the National Band and Orchestra Festival in 2006, they performed to rave reviews by Craig Kirchoff, David Battisti, and H. Robert Reynolds.  From 1998-2005 Mr. Nelsen was affiliated with The Greater Houston Youth Orchestra as conductor of the String Ensemble. He is sought after as a clinician for various region orchestras across the state. He also the longest served as Orchestra Division Chair for TMEA Region 23 from 2002 -2012.

Mr. Nelsen has lived in the Houston area practically all his life and where he has also received all of his schooling. He just completed a Masters in Music Education degree under Dr. Jennifer Mishra and studied conducting with Maestro Franz Anton Krager at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. Mr. Nelsen’s undergraduate work was completed at Rice University with a focus on Music and Managerial Studies.

Cinco Ranch High School Music Department’s other achievements: The Cinco Ranch Orchestra program consists of six performance ensembles. All students in the various performance ensembles perform at regular concerts throughout the year, participate in community service projects and are encouraged to participate in the fundraising process. Members participate in the UIL Solo and Ensemble Contest in February and the UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contests in the spring semester. Additional activities include auditioning for Region, Area, and All-State Orchestras and other youth orchestras in the Houston area. All students are encouraged to participate in all social activities planned for the orchestra program and annual spring trip.

And here is some additional information about “In My Life”:

“In My Life: A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” is the award winning, smash hit musical biography of the Beatles as seen through the eyes of their manager Brian Epstein and featuring the live music of renowned tribute band Abbey Road. This family friendly musical tale is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades.

“The show delivers!” said the L.A. Times. “If you see one tribute show, see this one – smart and loads of fun,” said the O.C. Register. “This is the ticket for you,” said the Idaho Statesman. “The most original of all the shows on the Beatles,” San Diego Theatre Review.

More than just a Beatles tribute concert, “In My Life” gives the audience a chance to “be there” at pivotal moments in the extraordinary career of the Beatles – from Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club, to the Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium’s 50,000 + screaming fans and their final live performance on the rooftop of their Apple Corp offices. With manager Brian Epstein serving as Narrator, “In My Life” allows the audience to get a glimpse inside the world of the Beatles from their point of view, as well as hear some of the greatest songs ever written.

“In My Life” takes the audience back to February 1964, when Americans saw the Beatles for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show, playing I Want to Hold Your Hand. Progressing through their various musical stages, the audience re-experiences the psychedelic era of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the creation of the haunting Yesterday and the raucous rock and roll of Revolution.


Houston Junior Forum Fundraiser Luncheon on Feb. 16 at Hotel Za Za Benefits Area Youth and Non-profits 

HOUSTON – FEB. 17, 2017 – The Houston West Chamber of Commerce wants to extend their congratulations to Dr. Zachary Hodges, Houston Community College – Northwest President, and his wife Anna, an award-winning teacher of 27 years for being honored recently by the Houston Junior Forum’s fundraiser luncheon, “Conversations from the Heart,” at the Hotel Za Za benefitting children, youth, women and senior adults in Houston.

During 2015-2016, the HJF provided over $500,000 in volunteer service and financial assistance in scholarships and grants to the community. This includes support for 12 local nonprofit organizations by providing approximately 15,000 volunteer service hours, 19 local nonprofit organizations with $70,000 in community grants and 25 students with $50,000 in college scholarships.

The honorees have long histories in helping to improve the Houston community as educators and have been members of the Houston West Chamber of Commerce for over 20 years. They embody the mission of Junior Forum projects in their work and volunteerism both with their time and generous underwriting. A celebrated educator, Anna volunteered at the HJF Preschool, coordinates Bayou Bend group tours exposing guests to exemplary American arts, and aids health care with other volunteer work. In his role as Houston Community College president in west Houston, Zachary Hodges is known for advancing partnerships and innovative practices for students and faculty.

The fundraiser, which benefited the HJF College Scholarship Fund and the HJF Community Grants Program, included a VIP reception and the luncheon featuring Nikki Richnow, co-founder of Freedom Place: A Haven for Victims of Child Sex Trafficking.

The Houston West Chamber of Commerce is located in the population center of Houston that is home to the Galleria Area, Uptown District, Westchase District, Spring Branch District, Memorial City, International District, CityCentre and the Energy Corridor District – an area of more than 8,000 businesses that employ more than 100,000 people in industries responsible for West Houston’s exponential growth such as oil and gas, manufacturing, technology, retail, medical, engineering and service firms. For more information on this event and the Houston West Chamber of Commerce, please call (713) 785-4922 or visit

Jazmin Hosea, Beth Kennedy, RN, and Kyndal Silva

SUGAR LAND—(February 16, 2017) Kyndal was born at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital four weeks early, to a young, first-time mom named Jazmin Hosea. Like many premature babies, Kyndal had a number of serious health issues, and she required an extended stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Houston Methodist Sugar Land.

“Premature birth is the leading cause of death for infants in the U.S.,” said NICU nurse Beth Kennedy. “Because of the seriousness of the issues these babies face, and because they are so small and vulnerable, the NICU can be a scary, intimidating environment for parents – especially for young moms. But Jazmin was here every day for hours, and she worked hard to learn everything she could from the nurses so that she could eventually care for Kyndal herself.”

Thanks to the outstanding care she received, today Kyndal is nearly two years old and is happy and healthy. And as her way of saying thanks, Jazmin is serving as the 2017 Patient Ambassador for Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s March of Dimes Walk for Babies.

The hospital has a team participating in the first-ever Fort Bend Walk for Babies, scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 29 at Constellation Field, 1 Stadium Drive in Sugar Land.

Fort Bend residents are invited to join our team and participate in the 3.2-mile walk to raise funds that support healthy childbirth and babies. Easily sign up at and click on the pink “Join This Team” button on the right. Or, you can donate to our team by clicking on the orange “Donate” button.

“March of Dimes does a fantastic job of working to support healthy lives for newborns,” said Kennedy. “Proceeds from the annual Walk for Babies are used to fund research into understanding premature births and how to prevent them, as well as actually supporting moms like Jazmin – and their families – who are struggling with the stress and difficulty of having a premature baby. Participating in the walk is our way of giving back and working toward reducing or eliminating premature births here in Fort Bend.”

“Kyndal is healthy and active today because of the care and support that Houston Methodist Sugar Land and March of Dimes provided,” said Jazmin. “Participating in the Walk for Babies can help other new moms gain the skills and confidence they need to care for their premature babies and create even more success stories like ours. I encourage everyone to join our team or make a donation today.”

To learn more about Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, visit or our Facebook page at for the latest news, events and information.


“Gardens overflowing with shiny, red tomatoes and bright green pepper…orchards filled with sweet, juicy peaches…farmers’ markets piled high with fresh produce…it is so easy to preserve.  Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Family and Consumer Sciences in Fort Bend County will host “Preserving the Bounty: Salsas and Relishes”, a workshop event on Thursday, March 9 at the Extension office Annex located at 1402 Band Road in Rosenberg.  Food preservation techniques will include demonstrations of proper canning techniques.  The workshop will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude by 12:00 p.m.  The cost of the workshop will be $20 and will include information on the techniques demonstrated.  Participants will take home a jar of salsa and a jar of relish. Home food preservation may not save you money – but, you will be able to enjoy the bounty throughout the year.  Seating for this event is limited.  Deadline for paid registration is March 3.  Instructor for the class will be Dianne Gertson, CEA-FCS Agent Fort Bend County.

Please contact Natalie Heimann for registration information at 281-342-3034, or

FRIENDS of Child Advocates of Fort Bend to Host Martini Night 
Shown (L to R) are: Lynn Halford, Susie Goff (holding Scooter), Pat Somers, Doug Goff and Peggy Jackson.
Photo courtesy of Sue Lockwood

FRIENDS of Child Advocates of Fort Bend, an auxiliary volunteer group supporting Child Advocates of Fort Bend, will host its annual Mission and Martinis social in the home of Susie and Doug Goff on Thursday, March 30th at 6pm.

In addition to martinis, hors d-oeuvres and learning about the FRIENDS mission, guests will be treated to a cheese making demonstration and tasting by local expert Ivan Mefford, MD. Following the demonstration, guests can enter a drawing to take home some freshly made cheese.

For further information on FRIENDS, the location and to RSVP for the event, please email Judy Maddison at

About FRIENDS of Child Advocates of Fort Bend:

FRIENDS of Child Advocates of Fort Bend is an auxiliary league which helps support a variety of activities benefiting the children served by Child Advocates of Fort Bend and the volunteers who help them. Their Special Needs Fund underwrites the needs of children in the foster care system that other providers are unable to offer – items that most people take for granted. The fund has underwritten backpacks filled with school supplies, summer camp tuition, tutoring, caps and gowns for graduating seniors and computers for college students.


About FRIENDS of Child Advocates of Fort Bend:

Child Advocates of Fort Bend is a non-profit agency dedicated to providing a voice, healing the hurt and breaking the cycle of child abuse in Fort Bend County. Through its Court Appointed Special Advocates Program (CASA), Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and more than 200 trained community volunteer advocates – Child Advocates improves the lives of more than 400 children each month.



Thursday, February 23, 2017 – 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. – Clayton Homes – 1919 Runnels St. (77003)

HOUSTON – February 16, 2017 – Sadly, there is only one (1) book for every 300 children living in low income homes and multiple studies show that a lack of parental involvement has a direct impact on a child’s academic success. Making It Better Family Literacy Nights meet parents right where they are to provide support and materials to facilitate engagement in their child’s literacy development AND to get much-needed books into the hands of children who need them most!

Luau is the theme of Family Literacy Night at Clayton Homes . . .  a fun-filled evening engaging families in literacy-focused activities with enthusiastic volunteers and staff from Bruce Elementary (the students’ school).  Parents will receive information and supplies to facilitate literacy development at home and each child will choose two books to begin or add to their home libraries.  Kids and adults are encouraged to dress in their favorite luau attire . . . after all, reading IS FUN!

Former Houston Texan Wade Smith will be the special guest reader at Family Literacy Night.  Wade Smith Foundation’s Reading with the Pros Literacy Tour (RWTP) promotes and supports childhood literacy and education through in-person celebrity book readings and classroom visits. As of April 2016, over 100 current/former NFL, NBA and WNBA players and collegiate athletes have joined Wade at nearly 50 RWTP reading events, including over 30 public libraries and elementary schools throughout Houston and Dallas, Texas since the program began in April 2012.

Family Literacy Night takes place on Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Clayton Homes located at 1919 Runnels St. (77003).  Event partners include Houston Public Library, iWrite and The Kinkaid School.

Making It Better is a non-profit improving literacy, leadership and life skills for under-served elementary students.

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By Elena Watts, Texas A&M Marketing and Communications

COLLEGE STATION, Feb. 16, 2017 – Eddie Joe Davis Jr. ’67 will be the keynote speaker for the 2017 Aggie Muster ceremony on Friday, April 21 at 7 p.m. in Reed Arena on the campus of Texas A&M University. The annual event is the largest of more than 300 Muster ceremonies held across the nation and around the world in honor of Aggies who died during the past year.

Davis, known as “Eddie Joe” to his peers, said he is “very honored” to be selected as the speaker for one of the oldest and most revered traditions at Texas A&M.

“Obviously, selection as the Campus Muster speaker is the pinnacle experience in a lifetime love affair with Texas A&M,” he said. “It is made even more special knowing the selection is done by students.”

Davis earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M in agricultural journalism while serving as commander of the Corps of Cadets from 1966 to 1967 under the leadership of then-University President General James Earl Rudder. He served four years of active duty, including a tour in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and retired as a colonel in the Army Reserve. After earning master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas A&M, he worked for the university and the university system in multiple capacities. He served as both the chief operating officer and the executive deputy chancellor for The Texas A&M University System, an interim university president, a tenured professor and, most recently, the president of the Texas A&M Foundation.

Members of the class of 1967 will join Davis at the ceremony, as their 50th annual class reunion meets in conjunction with the events surrounding Aggie Muster. After Davis addresses the current and former students, their family and friends, and his former classmates, names of each of the deceased will be read aloud during the “Roll Call For The Absent.” Family members and friends representing each of them will respond and light a candle in honor of their loved one.

For more information on the tradition of Muster, as well as information about the campus ceremony and surrounding events, visit

(February 16, 2017) – High school students in the Katy Independent School District may register for Advanced Placement (AP) exams at their home campus from February 27-March 20, 2017.  Late registrations will be accepted through March 26, 2017 with a late fee of $5/exam.  Each high school will announce the details for the registration process at the home campus.

All students who are enrolled in AP courses in Katy ISD are strongly encouraged to participate in AP exams.  An AP exam score of 3 or better is counted as an advanced measure for Distinguished Achievement graduation recognition (DAP) and can be recognized for a distinction.  However, students are not required ot take the exam, and the exam has no bearing on the high school course grade.

Fee waivers are available for students in economic need.  Home-schooled students may register in person at the high school campus in their attendance zone during the registration window.

A partial refund of $45 per exam is available for seniors who have been admitted to a college and who have documentation that the college will not accept AP exam scores for credit.  Refunds must be requested in writing to the home school counseling office by April 28, 2017 with documentation from the college or university’s AP exam policy.

Students in special economic circumstances must identify that need during exam registration.  All request for addition fee waivers must be made during the registration period (February 27-March 20, 2017) to ensure that proper arrangements are made for the student.  AP Coordinators will confirm eligibility for any fee waivers.

Students in need of testing accommodations must adhere to the College Board timeline for these requests.  Contact the Campus AP Coordinator with any questions.

AP exams are scheduled for the weeks of May 1-5 and May 8-12, 2017.  To determine the exact date of a particular exam, visit

State law requires Texas public colleges and universities to award credit for scores of 3 or better on AP exams.  Other institutions have their own policy on awarding college credit or advanced standing.  Students are responsible for checking the policy at the university or college they plan to attend by contacting the university or by visiting the College Board’s website at

Contact the Campus AP Coordinator for more information about the AP program and AP exam registration.