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Meet the latest cohort: These Aggies who graduated in the past 12 years are leading by example in business and service.

Career fundraiser and nonprofit executive who has raised over $50 million for charitable work. Increased revenue by 80% since joining EVF in 2016, accomplished through projects like an annual fundraising event she launched that has grown from raising $50,000 to more than $1 million; this allows EVF’s impact to grow from 120,000 people in 2015 to 537,000 in 2019.

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Jayci R. Giaccone ’08

Director of development, Essilor Vision Foundation

Leadership Women graduate. RAICES board member. Special Olympics Texas President’s Advisory Council past member. Junior League of Dallas volunteer.

“There are few people, and really only a few, who when you cross paths with them on any given day make your day a little brighter. Jayci is one of them. The most remarkable thing is that she is able to combine an effervescent personality with a keen sense of business and a tireless pursuit of success that has resulted in unprecedented achievements for the Essilor Vision Foundation.”

LinkedIn: Jayci Giaccone

Just five years after graduating from Texas A&M, she co-founded Wildway, a multimillion-dollar company with a presence in H-E-B, Whole Foods, Kroger and more. Wildway was one of nine companies chosen out of 700 for the Chobani Food Incubator, and one of 10 companies chosen for the PepsiCo Incubator, which mentors entrepreneurs.

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Kelli Koehler ’08

CEO and co-founder, Wildway natural food company

CASA volunteer. Created Wildway’s We Rise Initiative, which aims to protect the wild, back entrepreneurs and support organizations that fight for equal opportunities.

“In the midst of the unprecedented times with COVID-19, Kelli stepped up and put together an online campaign to support the San Antonio Food Bank with much-needed donations [and] just recently she and her team came together to ride 150+ miles across Texas for the Bike MS: Texas MS 150 to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis just as she has done for the past several years.”

Instagram: @wildwayoflife

Career active duty and reserve officer for U.S. Navy, including as command staff for NATO Base Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, and a deployment to Bahrain, where he commanded gunboats on more than 30 missions.

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Sean Murphy ’08

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University assistant director of leadership and civic engagement; U.S. Navy officer

Active duty in U.S. Navy before transitioning to reserves. Organized multiple community service projects at Embry-Riddle, including Emerging Leaders Program for first-year students, campus-wide days of service, Rise Against Hunger meal packaging and blood drives.

“In my 30-plus years on active duty serving with various global militaries, I can confidently say that I have met few leaders like Sean. He stands solid in his integrity, and despite operational setbacks, he never takes shortcuts. He is bold, daring, and willing to reach out to others to foster genuine connections.”

LinkedIn: Sean Murphy

Director of product strategy, previously chief of staff, for WhyHotel, a pop-up hotel startup. Communications consultant for Brunswick Group, where she worked with Facebook, Hilton, Walgreens and more. Supported several startups.

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Elizabeth “Liz” Allbright ’09

Director of product strategy for WhyHotel

National Capital Texas A&M Club board member. Provided pro-bono communication consulting to nonprofits, and post-prison re-entry support.

“Liz deeply believes that startups can change the world, whether through being impact-focused in their mission or simply through the power that they have to make choices that are socially-conscious in how they hire, where they invest, and how they impact their industries. She is leading a life dedicated to making an impact through entrepreneurial problem-solving.”

LinkedIn: Liz Allbright

Heads NovoThelium, which is developing nipple-areola complex replacements for patients who have undergone a mastectomy. Awarded the Military Health System Research Symposium Young Investigator Award. Previously a research fellow in the Federal Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Has conducted research at Southwest Research Institute and the University of Oxford.

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Lauren Cornell ’09

CEO and co-founder of NovoThelium; staff research biologist at U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research

Vice president of strategy for the Texas Business Hall of Fame Scholar Alumni Association. STEM mentor, especially for other women, including through the University of North Texas Professional Leadership Program, Women Business Enterprise National Council Student Entrepreneurship Program and U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.

“She has excelled in managing the responsibilities of a biotech startup, a full-time fellowship at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research investigating innovative treatments for corneal diseases, full-time coursework for her Ph.D. in translational science, and mentorship of young women interested in careers within science or research.”

LinkedIn: Lauren Cornell

Decommissioned a cyclotron for UTHealth and has completed over 150 other projects around the Houston campus. Managed over 20 projects with Academy Sports + Outdoors and over 90 Francesca’s stores.

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Clinton “Brooks” Herman ’09

Senior facilities construction project manager, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Young Alumni Advisory Council charter member and committee chair. Construction Owners Association of America-Texas board member. Commercial Construction & Renovation magazine advisory board member.

“Brooks has been instrumental in leading projects on our campus that have supported cutting-edge research and furthered our education of future health care workers. He has managed over 100 projects in his tenure at UTHealth including office and laboratory modifications, building infrastructure replacements, vivarium improvements, and even the decommissioning of a 30+ year old cyclotron.”

LinkedIn: Clinton “Brooks” Herman

Honored as one of the youngest senior vice presidents at Merrill Lynch. Named to Forbes’ lists of Best-in-State Wealth Advisors, Top Next-Generation Wealth Advisors and Best-in-State Next Generation Wealth Advisors. Named 40 Under 40 recipient by Fort Worth Business Press. Classically trained pianist with performances in Carnegie Hall.

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Christopher Beavers ’10

Wealth management advisor and senior vice president, Merrill Lynch

Mays Business School Dean’s Advisory board member. American Cancer Society and Kellsie’s Hope Foundation volunteer, where he raised more than $250,000 for cancer research. Fort Worth-Tarrant County Texas A&M Club and Fort Worth Youth Orchestra past board member. Harvard Club of Fort Worth president and board member. Van Cliburn International Foundation executive board member.

“Texas A&M University's graduates have a reputation of unparalleled success in excellence, integrity, leadership, respect and selfless service. As you can see by Christopher's accomplishments, he is ‘a breed apart,’ referring to the Merrill Lynch slogan of several years ago, and he is very deserving of being included in 12 Under 12.”

LinkedIn: Christopher Beavers

His custom software development firm was named an Aggie 100 honoree six times, voted among best places to work in Texas Monthly five times, received Bryan Rotary 10 Performance Award four times and Inc. Magazine’s best workplace in America in 2018.

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Ross Morel ’10

CEO and founder, Frogslayer

Startup Aggieland mentor and guest speaker. Texas A&M McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship 3 Day Startup mentor and judge. Donates to local charities, schools and Texas A&M.

“Ross has shown significant leadership in many [McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship] student programs, routinely providing sponsorship and excellent judgment and advice to the student teams in our workshops and boot camps. This work requires not only a deep understanding of startup methodologies, but a willingness and service-minded spirit to assist in the growth and practice of young Aggie entrepreneurs with new business ideas.”

LinkedIn: Ross Morel

Led the product launches of a variety of medical equipment, such as the novel diagnostic catheter, which yielded multimillion-dollar revenue in its first year. Mentor of the Year in diabetes therapy associates for Medtronic in 2012.

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Kristen Free ’11

Product marketing manager of EP Therapies, Abbott

Former The Wells Project alumni mentor. Austin Stone Community Church student ministry volunteer.

“As a fellow Aggie, I believe Kristen demonstrates the character that would proudly represent Texas A&M. Her drive, passion, faithfulness and care for people is genuinely rare. While her professional accolades are remarkable and impressive, her character and care for people far exceed her accomplishments.”

LinkedIn: Kristen Free

Career in the U.S. Navy, including being named the Edward L. Beach Nuclear Officer of the Year for the Pacific Fleet in 2017. Licensed professional engineer. Owns two dive companies.

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Maximilian Leutermann ’12

Nuclear submarine officer and lieutenant, U.S. Navy. Assistant professor of naval science at Texas A&M University

U.S. Navy submarine and diving officer. Knights of Columbus member. Dive Pirates Foundation adaptive SCUBA diving instructor. Search and rescue diver and public safety dive team trainer.

“Since graduation, he has demonstrated his Aggie Spirit and these core values as a Naval officer, as a businessman, as a volunteer and, now, as a teacher and mentor to our students.”

Facebook: Max Leutermann

Co-founded ALT Investments, which has launched an accelerator to guide student entrepreneurs through building and scaling a company. Co-founded VoCo Technologies, which helped pioneer the use of voice-controlled, artificially intelligent technology for health care in older populations. Led finance and accounting functions at Essentium Inc., which during Alden’s tenure grew 16-fold and gained international recognition for inventing a new, groundbreaking form of 3D printing.

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Alden Warr ’16

Co-founder & VP of finance and strategic partnerships, VoCo Technologies

Mays Business School volunteer, donor. Started and scaled the “Share Your Stimulus” movement to help aid families and businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis. Habitat for Humanity volunteer. Teach The Story board member.

“What Alden has accomplished in a few short years reaches past what many imagine for a lifetime; how he has reached those achievements speaks to a set of deeply held convictions to which only a few commit their lives. Alden represents the best of the Aggie Spirit, and he personally represents the depth of the collective Aggie impact.”

LinkedIn: Alden Warr

Has continued his family’s integral part in developing the Permian Basin through their former exploration and production company Yates Petroleum, which at the time of its merger with EOG Resources had grown to the largest independent E&P company in the U.S., and in Abo Empire. Manages the family’s vast land holdings in New Mexico as well as his own cattle operation, 1Eleven Cattle Company located in Bridgeport, Texas.

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John “Trey” Yates III ’17

Director, Abo Empire. Owner and operator, 1Eleven Cattle Co.

Helped establish, fund and is currently vice president of the Illinois #3 Foundation, which supports organizations and projects that conserve and enhance land and water resources through sustainable practices. 12th Man Foundation's Champions Council member. Funded the Charles Brown Scholarship in the Department of Animal Science. Veterinary Science Certificate Program advisory board member.

“Trey was diagnosed with a very rare heart condition his senior year [at Texas A&M] and underwent open heart surgery. Despite this, he only missed three weeks’ worth of classes, completed all missed assignments, and finished the semester without dropping any classes. This is just one of many examples that shows his ability to succeed in the face of adversity.”

Instagram: @gigemtreyyates


The Association of Former Students' 12 Under 12 Young Alumni Spotlight was created to recognize the contributions of young alumni. Award recipients must have graduated from Texas A&M University within the last 12 years and be leading by example in business and service.

Nominations for 2021 recipients are now closed

Learn about the process

Previous honorees


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