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Leading The Fight: Former Students Respond To COVID-19

Hannah Lang '18 June 22, 2020 11:14 AM updated: July 21, 2021 11:28 AM

In actions big and small, these Aggies and countless more are making a difference as the world responds to this global pandemic.


  • Elaine Mendoza ’87 was named to Gov. Greg Abbott’s Supply Chain Strike Force, a team working to ensure that health care facilities have the resources they need to respond to COVID-19. Read more at
  • Glenn Hegar ’93, Texas’ comptroller of public accounts, was named a consulting member of Gov. Abbott’s Strike Force to Reopen Texas, which aims to revitalize the state following the impact of the virus. Read more about how A&M helped prepare him for this challenge at
  • Marcus Watts ’80 and Graham Weston ’86 were named to the Special Advisory Council of the Strike Force, representing different regions and industries of Texas. Read more at
  • Brendon Anthony ’99 and Todd Staples ’84 were appointed to the Governor’s Economic Revitalization Strike Force. Read an interview about their work at
  • Brian Harrison ’04 is the Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, coordinating with the White House, other cabinet departments, and numerous HHS divisions that are central to the COVID-19 response.
  • Mary-Christina Riley ’14 is a member of the Department of Education’s Legislative Affairs team, working to inform lawmakers as they think through education policies in response to COVID-19. Read more about her role at
  • Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz ’02 is the head of the CDC’s Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force. Read more about her work here

Health Care

  • Dr. Gale Smith ’83 is the chief scientist & VP-Pre-Clinical Research at Novavax, Inc. Read about his team's work to create a vaccine hereDr. Cheryl Keech ’86 is another Aggie at Novavax who is the first author of the journal article that described the Phase 1-2 results of the Novavax vaccine.
  • Brittany Bankhead-Kendall ’07, a critical care doctor in Boston, and her husband, Brian Kendall ’06, an emergency medical doctor, made the difficult decision to send their two children to live with their grandparents in Texas while they battled COVID-19. Read more of their story at
  • Stephanie Minor ’16 serves as a volunteer EMT through Team Rubicon at a temporary field hospital in Santa Clara, California. Working the night shift on April 21, she made sure to stop and answer “Here” for fallen Aggies.
  • Dr. Cate Yaggi ’11 (pictured above) is an ER physician in Los Angeles, California, and proudly wore a “BTHO Coronavirus” shirt. Hear the perspective of Dr. Yaggi and other Aggies in the medical field at
  • Navy Lts. Brian Curry ’12 and Jared Schaefer ’16 served aboard the USNS Mercy in the Port of Los Angeles. Both were assigned to Task Group 130.1 to conduct defense support of civil authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Mitch Parma ’17 is a third-year medical school student at the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio. When coronavirus canceled his clinical rotations, he chose to use his time to serve with Long-COVID, a volunteer group of medical students whose aim is to help the community during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more at
  • Jason John ’13, an internal medicine resident, shared his perspective on the power of the doctor-patient relationship during a pandemic, in his article published here.
  • Ruth King ’16 is part of a team coordinating three COVID-19 studies at Baylor Scott & White in Plano. 
  • Leila Warraich ’16, serves as the doctoral co-director of The New Horizons Family Counseling Center at the College of William & Mary. Warraich and the team she leads partner with local school districts to provide free family counseling services to low income families. Read more about her work during the pandemic here.
  • Dr. Nafissa Cisse Egbuonye ’16 is the director of the Black Hawk County Health Department in northeast Iowa. She has been a leader through this pandemic, and was recently named to the 2020 Class of 20 under 40 for the Cedar Valley.
  • In their own words, hear how the coronavirus is impacting ten Aggie health care professionals around the country in this article from the Texas A&M Foundation. 


  • Aaron Sanders ’09, an employee at DetectaChem in Stafford, Texas, leads a team of Aggies (Courtney Powell ’18, Chase Dolfi ’19 and Bryton Choates ’15) on the release of the first smartphone app-based COVID-19 test kit. Read more about their innovations with this product at
  • Amber Leung ’08, a Houston resident, is using her 3D printer to create protective face shields for first responders. Hear more of her story at
  • Clinton Haby ’02, filmmaker and founder of the production company StoryKeeping, is donating $100 from every new production to the H-E-B Senior Support Fund. Read more about how he is still exhibiting selfless service while adapting to the pandemic at

Know any former students that are making an impact during this challenging time? Share your stories with us at

The Association of Former Students has a bold vision to engage 100,000 donors annually for Texas A&M by the end of 2020. To learn more, visit To help us help more Aggies, make a gift at

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