UNT | University of North Texas

Search form

Changing the World One Girl at a Time

Changing the World, One Girl at a Time

Written by: Miranda Holland
August 22, 2018


AMS senior Melanie Che ’19 recently had the opportunity to participate as a Reporter at the 7th annual Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. Girl Up is a campaign of the United Nations Foundation that works to position girls all over the world to be leaders in the movement for gender equality. Out of 387 girls, Che was selected for Team Strong, a group of 6 girls who were given the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes and interview influential women in the gender equality movement; she also had the opportunity to speak to government representatives at Capitol Hill about Bill 1580, which urges the consideration of educational needs for vulnerable girls and women around the world. A couple of other responsibilities Che had as a Reporter included being the official Girl Up representative on the United Nations Instagram account, which she felt was absolutely surreal, and leading a panel discussion about girls in STEM.   

Che’s extraordinary leadership extends to TAMS, where she is one of the committee heads for Driving Tomorrow, a non-profit organization that is focused on community development and poverty alleviation within Denton; she is also the Editor-in-Chief of Yearbook and the Captain of the Debate Club. Her role as Business Coordinator within Driving Tomorrow is to help organize charity drives that benefit organizations in Denton. Che seeks to use her privileges, such as having access to a public education and the opportunity to attend TAMS, to help vulnerable girls and women gain access to education resources. According to The World Bank, women who are more educated ultimately “help lift households, communities, and nations out of poverty” (worldbank.org). A recent publication by The World Bank stated that “limited educational opportunities for girls and barriers to completing 12 years of education cost countries between $15 trillion and $30 trillion dollars in lost lifetime productivity and earnings.”    

Che’s passion for science is extended through her research in the UNT Chemistry Department. Under the guidance of Dr. Acree, she utilizes the Abraham General Solvation Model to test the solubility properties of various organic compounds; she is ecstatic to be working with Dr. Acree in the fall under the UNT Undergraduate Research Fellowship.  

Che’s goals for after TAMS include majoring in chemistry or biology in pursuit of a career in the medical field as a researcher or physician. She would like to continue following her passions for community service and helping others. She is also a strong advocate for living a healthy lifestyle. Che stated, “If you’re not putting health first, how will you be strong enough to help others?”     


“2018 Leadership Summit.” Girl Up, www.girlup.org/leadership-summit/.
Rubio, and Marco. “S.1580 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Protecting Girls' Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act.” Congress.gov, 19 July 2017, www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1580.
“Girls' Education.” World Bank, www.worldbank.org/en/topic/girlseducation#1.
“Missed Opportunities: The High Cost of Not Educating Girls.” World Bank, www.worldbank.org/en/topic/education/publication/missed-opportunities-th....

Matched Up: Putting Dollars Towards Education

Matched Up: Putting Dollars Towards Education

Written by: Miranda Holland and John Carr
June 27, 2018


or TAMS alumni Travis Owens ’02 and his wife, Shan Wang ’03, they have a philanthropic mission to put their money where it can do the most good in the long run. Owens is currently a Mechanical Engineer at Apple, and Wang is a Senior Staff Software Engineer at Google. Both of their respective employers provide a matching gift program, which they took advantage of when they made their recent donation to TAMS.

These two TAMS alumni, as a family, seek equal access to an education where peers interact with a variety of ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and gender orientations. Over the years, it has become clearly evident to them that there is a gap in access and opportunity for students. This family has had such amazing opportunities and provided many experiences that it is inherently important for them to make sure others know what is available. No matter how hard you work, Wang believes you really owe it to the network of people that inevitably helped you get to where you are today; to the people who helped you along your path of success and who were not obligated to, but chose to help the next generation. 

For some families, higher education is considered a financial burden. Contributions from alumni help to alleviate this financial burden, providing the TAMS opportunity for more students who otherwise may not have considered TAMS. Both Owens and Wang clearly have a passion for education and TAMS. They are able to take advantage of their company’s matching gift program to double the impact of their giving on the TAMS community. It's super easy to take advantage of employers’ matching gift programs. Google offers a 1:1 gift matching ratio up to an annual cap; Apple offers a 1:1 gift match as well. Through their matching gift programs, these and many other companies invest in TAMS dollar-for-dollar. Matching gift programs are an excellent way to double the impact for an organization in need.

As Owens puts it, “when you look at where the TAMS alumni have gone and what they’ve done it is clear that sustained funding for TAMS has a huge impact for all of us.” With the recent Academy budget cuts, it is clear that the future of TAMS lies within the hearts of alumni, family, and friends. “Help someone else and prove that you were worth the investment others put in you,” advised Wang. 

Ian Macalinao (TAMS '14) and team win First Place in 2016 NFL Hackathon

Ian Macaliano (third from left) and team members won the NFL Hackathon and a trip to LA to present their hack to NFL personnel.

TAMS Counselors Recognized for Their Service

Senior Academic Counselor Wendy Boyd-Brown and Academic Counselor Sam Earls both received university-wide accolades for their service to TAMS students and UNT.  Boyd-Brown was selected as a 2016 Student Success Award recipient, and Earls was selected as a 2016 Rising Star Award recipient.  Both awards include financial compensation as well as a plaque.  Congratulations, Wendy and Sam!

2011 Alum Aditya Rahalkar creates app to make scheduling meetings easier

Aditya Rahalkar (TAMS '11, Cornell '14) is featured on Slope Media for creating a free app Calmeet to help people and groups find times in their busy calendars to meet with others.

TAMS Alum Shining Bright

Ed Boyden, TAMS Class 1995 has recently received the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for 2016.  He was also featured in a Ted Talk in 2011 for this work with the brain as well. He currently is on faculty at MIT.

TAMS Women in Science

Noelle Davis, class of 2016 works on a project in UNT's Human Intelligence and Language Technologies Lab that aims to program robots to use a person's gaze to understand what the person is thinking.


2016 National YoungArts Foundation Competition Winners

Congratulations to Shoshana Zhang and Veronica Zheng for their success in the 2016 National YoungArts Foundation Competition! Over 12,000 applications were received, with only 165 winners chosen. Shoshana is a finalist in the visual arts category, while Veronica Zheng received an honorable mention in the music category.

For more information on the competition, please see the link below.

Congratulations to our students! We are proud of you!

Three students named 2015 Siemens Regional Finalists

Colleen Dai, Shoshana Zhang and Amber Lu were named 2015 Siemens Regional Finalists.  TAMS leads the state in Siemens regional and semifinalists.

JETS hosts Summer Science Camp

The TAMS Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS), in conjunction with the Elm Fork Education Center  hosted a Summer Science Camp at the Evironmental Education, Science and Technology building on the UNT campus.


Subscribe to Texas Academy of Mathematics & Science RSS