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Ship Biscuit and Salted Beef

New Semester, New Adventures!

We are back for a new and exciting semester! While we’ve been slow updating everyone on our newest escapades on the blog, we have been hard at work conducting research and gathering data.

We would first like to introduce the newest members to our Aggie Research Scholars team.

Lois Voelkel


Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences (B.S.) from Texas A&M University, WIP
Myers-Brigg Personality Type: INFP
Interests: Inline skating, running, hula hooping, reading/ writing memoirs, hiking, exploring, bird watching, and perfecting her blueberry muffin recipe 
Favorite Book: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver 
One Amazing Thing I’ve Seen or Done: Encountered the Arribada, Kimp Ridley Sea Turtle Nesting in Ostional Guanacaste Costa Rica



Lois Voelkel is a Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences undergraduate student at Texas A&M University. She has interned at the Farm Credit Bank of Texas in government relations in Washington D.C. And, she works as a veterinary technician at Texas A&M’s Small Animal Teaching Hospital. She has previously helped with research projects in both the Biodiversity Lacher Lab in the A&M Wildlife and Fisheries Department and the Tambopata Research Center at the Tambopata National Reserve in Peru. Her interest in megafauna has prompted a career in public health and community development. She is currently applying to the Peace Corps. Her hobbies included inline skating, running, hula hooping, reading/writing memoirs, hiking, exploring, bird watching, and perfecting her blueberry muffin recipe. 


Thuy Nguyen

University of South Carolina – Columbia, Bachelor of Biological Sciences from 2017-2019
Texas A&M University – College Station, Bachelor of Biochemistry 2019 – Present
Myers-Brigg Personality Type: ESTJ
Interest: Cooking, eating the food that I made and liking it, seeing people eating the food that I made and liking it, washing the dishes that I used to feed my friends and I, and finally amazed myself by organizing the dishes excellently.
Favorite Book: Coffee with Tony by Tony Morning 
One Amazing Thing I Have Seen or Done: I had been complaining to my mother about the amount of plastics she had been using for years, and finally came up with the idea of a re-use calendar (blank/no ink) side to replace plastic and I was so happy with it. Things got even better when I shared my idea on Facebook and got more than 600 likes.

I was born in Can Tho (Kun Thuh), Vietnam. Yes, it is the capital city of the Mekong Delta and yes, it is the place that has the dish called “Bun Rieu Cua” (boon dzyu kwa) amazed Gordon Ramsay. I am majoring in Biochemistry and planning to become a geriatrician. I was an Activity Leader in high school, and elected by peers and teachers. My job was organizing activities and my goal was to make sure that the activities that I was hosting were fun and meaningful. I also volunteered for every mid-autumn festival to provide poor children moon cakes and food, so they can have a happy mid-autumn festival like others. Recently, I got really interested in sustainability and the idea of sustainable living. I like cooking and planning nutritious and healthy meals but I also realized the impact of agriculture on the planet. Vegetarian and vegan are not the options for everyone, therefore, the research on “Nutrition and Health of 17th-Century Sailors” might open another point of view for me. 

Alyssa Shewmaker
Degree(s): Nutritional Sciences (B.A.) from Texas A&M University, WIP
Myers-Brigg Personality Type: ISFJ-T
Interests: hiking, yoga, cats, reading nutritional facts labels, learning about different cultures, & essential oils
Favorite Book: Tailor Made by Alex Seeley  
One Amazing Thing I’ve Seen or Done: I wiped out on Mount Rainer while throwing snow in the air.





I grew up near Austin, Texas where I fell in love with community, nature, and service. I enjoy spontaneous baking and cooking with veggies. I have a passion for serving others and thrill for discovery. I am a nutritional sciences major with a minor in biochemistry and have a certification in biomedical research and development. I am doing my own research on cardiovascular fetal development with relation to homocysteine metabolism in chick embryos. I aspire to become a DO and specialize in pediatric neurology to better the lives of my future patients with a holistic approach.


From Left to Right: Alyssa Shewmaker, Grace Tsai, Thuy Nguyen

The semester started off quickly with a visit to Houston Maritime Museum’s Family Day, “Shipwrecked,” that focused on the history and nautical archaeology of shipwrecks.  Grace, Thuy, and Alyssa stood in front of the project’s exhibit display and demonstrated coopering (the art of barrel making) to the public, and presented their latest research on bay salt. This was the first time Alyssa and Thuy had the chance to present research to an audience, which was great because they were able to practice presenting for Texas A&M University’s LAUNCH Expo.

We’re happy to be back at work, and excited to present the results of our newest research to you soon! Stay tuned!