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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘Embracing the Aggie experience’

Grad+Ring
Photo By: Alexis Will
Grad Ring

As undergraduate students across A&M put into place plans for ring dunks, celebratory dinners and photoshoots, many forget about the 128 graduate students who will also receive their Aggie Ring Friday.

Graduate students make up nearly a quarter of Texas A&M’s entire population — 12,490 graduate and professional students currently study at Texas A&M’s College Station campus. 

Depending on their degree plan, graduate students can order their ring after completing approximately three-fourths of their program.

Kathryn Greenwade, Vice President with the Association of Former Students, said last year 834 graduate and professional students ordered an Aggie Ring, and the Association is expecting even more this year.

According to the Association’s website, master’s thesis students are eligible upon defending their thesis. Doctorate students are eligible once they have been admitted to Ph.D. candidacy, and master’s non-thesis students and professional students are eligible after 75 percent of coursework for their degree plan is completed. 

Marisa Biondi, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council, said the Aggie Ring means a great deal to the graduate students who earn it. 

“Most graduate students that pay attention and are really a part of the Aggie experience can see immediately the value in having the Aggie Ring,” Biondi said. “Not only from a networking point of view, or getting jobs, but a part of being a part of the Aggie family and really embracing the Aggie experience.”

Greenwade said a much higher percentage of undergraduates get their Aggie Rings compared to graduate students. Biondi said this difference is due partly to a disconnect between undergraduate and graduate populations.

“We have these different populations of people that are coming in from totally different backgrounds, and they have to spend a little bit more effort buying into the Aggie experience,” Biondi said. “And, it has to be shown to them in a different way than it is for probably the traditional undergrad who is from Texas, who has a family legacy.”

Kevin Andrews, doctoral student in agricultural leadership, education and communications, said graduate students want to be a part of the Aggie family.

“I think we’ve got to change our own perceptions about what people are interested in,” Andrews said. “We need to realize that there is a lot of incoming grad students that are asking, ‘How do we get a ring, how do we get plugged in to traditions, can we go to Muster?’ They know this is a special place, but they want to participate in it.”

Biondi said her involvement at Texas A&M is what convinced her to get her Aggie Ring.

“The more I’ve been involved in GPSC the more I’ve met undergrads actually and been a part of this different Aggie Family,” Biondi said. “But seeing from a different perspective through undergrads I’m really proud to be here and I want to have that symbol to show the rest of the world whenever I travel abroad or go get a job wherever I end up.”

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