Blinn student-athletes balance softball, studies in Engineering Academy

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As a three-time all-district softball player and a four-time academic all-district selection at Tomball High School, Kamryn Boucher had plenty of options when it came to choosing a college.

Blinn College head softball coach Rick Church may have 15 Region XIV Conference Tournament appearances and six trips to the NJCAA National Championships under his belt, but when it came time to recruit Boucher, nothing he could offer was more impressive than the Texas A&M Engineering Academy at Blinn-Brenham and the opportunity to co-enroll at Texas A&M University.

“I already had decided my junior year in high school that I wanted to be an engineer,” said Boucher, who is looking forward to a career in chemical engineering. “Most smaller schools don’t have any engineering classes.”

Boucher isn’t the only member of this season’s Buccaneer squad enrolled in the Engineering Academy – sophomore Kalli Edwards and freshman Emily Taylor also are pursuing their engineering education through the Academy.

Edwards earned the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence as a freshman last year, posting a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She enrolled in the Engineering Academy as a sophomore.

Of course, balancing a challenging engineering program with NJCAA athletics makes for a full day. A typical week for Boucher, Edwards, and Taylor includes softball workouts at 6 a.m., then class five days a week from 8 a.m. until noon. After a quick lunch, the three students go to softball practice from 1-5 p.m. During the Fall semester, they also attended a night class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“Last year compared to this year, I am much busier,” Edwards said. “People don’t realize how much we do with softball, and the Engineering Academy on top of that keeps me busy.”

Said Taylor, “I don’t sleep a lot and I drink a lot of coffee.”

The Engineering Academy gives talented students an opportunity to pursue their engineering degree while co-enrolled at Blinn and Texas A&M. Engineering Academy students take a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester, including 2-3 credit hours of Texas A&M engineering courses. The Texas A&M courses are instructed by a Texas A&M professor on the Blinn-Brenham campus.

Engineering Academy students have access to Texas A&M College of Engineering advisors who are dedicated to the program and assist them in exploring all their options for full admission into a major that aligns with their academic and career goals.

The Engineering Academy at Blinn continues to build upon the partnership between the Texas A&M College of Engineering and Blinn. Modeled after the Texas A&M Blinn TEAM (Transfer Enrollment at A&M) co-enrollment partnership, the Engineering Academy began as the TEAM-E pilot program on the Blinn-Bryan Campus in 2013. It now enrolls approximately 500 students, including approximately 400 at the Bryan Campus and 100 on the Brenham Campus.

“All three players are so dedicated to both the Engineering Academy and softball,” said Ashley Hermes, Engineering Programs Director. “This is a phenomenal thing that they are able to do, and it is amazing to see their drive and determination.”

For more information about the Texas A&M Engineering Academy at Blinn-Brenham, including frequently asked questions and admissions processes, visit: www.blinn.edu/teab.