Congratulations to the 2016-2017 Black & Gold President’s Council
March 22, 2016
Established in 2012 by TLU First Lady Michelle Dorsey, the Black & Gold President’s Council (BGPC) is a prestigious honor for outstanding students which offers a social education as well as an academic education to students.
Learn more about BGPC: Personal & Professional Impact of TLU’s Black & Gold President’s Council
2016-2017 BGPC cohort
Mason Allenger ’17
Major: History (Pre-law concentration)
Hometown: Seguin, TX
“Mason is an extremely bright student, a member of the cross country team, a Peer Mentor, and a member of Student government with focused career goals and a conscientious and respectful demeanor." – Philip Grace, assistant professor of history
Campus Involvement: National History Honor Society Phi Alpha Theta, Lambda Delta, TLU Honor’s Program, Men’s Cross-Country Team, Men’s Track & Field Team, Student Government Association (SGA) Legislative Committee Chair, Peer Mentor, Philosophy Club (Vice President), Ethics Bowl Debate Team, TLU Environmental Sustainability Committee, TLU Student Athlete Advisory Committee (Vice President, TLU University Disciplinary Panel, TLU Campus Ministry
Off-Campus Involvement: Intern with the 25th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, First United Methodist Church intern, Seguin Citizen Award, Seguin Area Youth Leadership Academy, Seguin Law Enforcement & Social Media Research Seminar Presenter, and the 2014 Dash for Disabled Vets 5k Host.
Dylan Drgac ’18
Major: Biology (Pre-med)
Hometown: Caldwell, TX
Campus Involvement: Peer Mentor, TLU Baseball Team, and TLU Baseball Leadership Council member.
“I feel I can bring a leadership role to BGPC because I’ve been a part of the Peer Mentor program where I’ve guided students in the right direction through teaching and actions. I also know how to work hard. I feel I will have a positive impact on the council because of my unique viewpoint as a small town college athlete. I feel that allows me to connect with students who aren’t from big cities like Houston and Austin, and I could make them feel at home. I also provide an athlete’s viewpoint on subjects.”
“Dylan has a gregarious, enthusiastic personality, good leadership skills, and he’s a great student. As a he’s already a peer mentor, I believe he will transition to this group easily.” – Greg Burnett, head baseball coach
Vanessa Espinoza ’16
Major: Double major in chemistry and physics
Hometown: San Antonio
Campus Involvement: TLU Women’s Soccer Team, Outreach Chair for SAAC, President of Society of Physics Students (SPS), Chemistry Lab Teaching Assistant, Student Government Association Secretary, Civic Engagement Coordinator, TLU Honors Program, and Phi Ro.
Off-Campus Involvement: Church Lector, Civic Engagement Coordinator at Teatro de Artes, and Zone 13 Associate Zone Councilor for SPS National Chapter.
“At TLU, I’ve had the opportunity to be very active on campus and within the community. When I started here, my original association was with the women’s soccer team. Although I was not yet familiar with what other opportunities TLU had to offer, the structure that was associated with athletics taught me many important skills. I had the chance to learn how to work with others and respect the different backgrounds/cultures that each of us came from. During my freshman year I obtained a position as a civic engagement coordinator at the Center for Servant Leadership. I think it’s important to be involved in the community because it helps to develop interest in local concerns. One of the organizations I’ve been most involved with the SPS as their president. This leadership position has been extremely rewarding. This position has taught me how to be an effective leader and how important it is successful communicate with others in order to get tasks accomplished. As a STEM major and SPS president, I’ve also had the opportunity to enhance my professional speaking skills and I feel like this is necessary for the Black and Gold President’s Council.”
“Vanessa has excelled as a student leader in the SPS and in the Student Government Association—the organization I advise. As a member of the executive board in SGA, Vanessa has shown she is capable of responsibility, professionalism, and excellent communication with faculty, staff, and students. I believe she would be a great addition to BGPC and represent the university well.” – Andella Janicek, director of student activities
“Vanessa was one of the first students I met when I came to TLU. She’s doing a wonderful job representing TLU on a national playing field with SPS. Speaking of playing field, Vanessa maintains her rigorous course of study while also serving in a leadership role on the soccer team. She’s truly the hallmark of an engaged TLU student. She stands out as one of the most promising students I have had the pleasure to encounter in my fifteen years of undergraduate education and research training. Her potential for success is tremendous. I believe she represents the best of what we strive to do here at TLU.” – Toni Sauncy, physics department chair
Sarah Fritzsche ’17
Major: Exercise Science
Hometown: San Antonio
Campus Involvement: Teaching Assistant for the Anatomy and Physiology Lab Teaching Assistant for the Kinesiology, Women’s Cross Country Team, Women’s Track and Field Team, 2016 TLU Representative at the American Conference of Sports Medicine Student Bowl at Texas A&M University, and Former Mobile Food Pantry Volunteer
Off-Campus Involvement: Guadalupe Regional Medical Center Intern in the Catheterization Laboratory for the Cardiac Care Unit.
“I believe I’ll excel in Black and Gold President’s Council because of my work ethic and the wonderful academic and athletic experiences I’ve had at TLU.
I have learned many lessons from running at TLU, but the one that sticks out in my head is perseverance. TLU has also taught me a lot about service. I want to use the skills and knowledge I’ve gained to help others live a happier, healthier life. TLU has given me every opportunity to gain knowledge in my classes, in my work experiences, in service, in athletic competition and practices, and in Seguin. I look forward to representing the student body as part of the Black and Gold President’s Council.”
“Sarah is a born leader, extremely personable, and a shining example of what a TLU student should aspire to be. She's already a teaching and lab assistant for two professors in the kinesiology department and she’s involved in many student organizations. She’s always smiling and a pleasure to be around.” - Darlene Holland, head women’s track coach
“Sarah is a talented athlete who participates on both the cross country and track teams at TLU. While she is extremely involved in extra curricular, she maintains a 3.9 GPA. She’s very determined and is even considering officer training in the military or cardiac rehabilitation after her graduation. She is exactly the kind of person for Black and Gold President’s Council.” - Casi Helbig, associate professor of kinesiology
Gus Gaines ’18
Major: Music Education
Hometown: New Braunfels
Campus Involvement: Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Sigma Phi Theta Secretary, TLU Percussion Studio, and TLU Drum Line.
Off-Campus Involvement: Security Supervisor at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels
“Throughout my life, I’ve been very involved with music. As a frequent performer, I’ve made several connections and have acquired the ability to meet and interact with people from all different backgrounds. My time working at Schlitterbahn has given me great social and ethical skills. Being in a leadership position, I've had to learn how to be in charge, as well as interact with people in situations that I wouldn't typically be in. My abilities to socialize and act in a professional manor are traits I know will be good additions to the Black and Gold President's Council.”
“Gus is a wonderful young man, who will greatly benefit from the experience and opportunity, as well as bring a great deal to the table with regard to personality and the ability to represent TLU well.” - Beth Bronk, TLU band director
Jacline Gutierrez ’17
Major: Business Administration
Campus Involvement: TLU Women's Choir, TLU Mixed Choir, and Xi Tau Sorority Treasurer.
Off-Campus Involvement: Volunteer at Guadalupe Valley Family Violence Shelter, Volunteer at Believers World Outreach Church, and Volunteer at Discovery Camp.
“Throughout my personal experiences I have realized how important communication, responsibility, and organization is for any situation. Communication is essential for every organization or team to succeed, but people need to be more than just “available to talk”. They need to be approachable and direct when communicating, to avoid any confusion or waist valuable time. Responsibility is important because people need to hold themselves accountable for the contributions they add to their team. Not only that, but people need to also be willing to step up in certain situations and take initiative whenever they can. Organization is extremely necessary because people need to have a plan. They have to know what they are doing, and when they need to have it done by so that the whole group is on the same page. These three skills are vital for any organization. They are a few skills that I truly value, and I believe that I have attained them.”
“Jacline is intelligent, hard-working, and enthusiastic.” - Amelia Koford, associate professor at Blumberg Memorial Library
Sierra Kacko ’18
Hometown: Bay City
Campus Involvement: TLU Softball Team, Love Your Melon, Delta Mu Delta
I ran my own swimming lesson business last summer from my home. I invoiced clients and managed the scheduling and the money. I was a lifeguard for four summers during high school that taught me extreme attentiveness, how to run a public facility, and how to work well in a team environment. I also had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to New Orleans last summer and serve the homeless for a week. We went to a local food pantry and passed out food and filed important paperwork for each person. It was great to learn from them and simply hang out together. Most people don't treat the homeless like humans and we did. They greatly appreciated it. Lastly, I have played sports my entire life. Swimming and softball were the two that I stuck with all the way through high school and now college, as well. These sports have taught me so much in life such as responsibility, time management, how to get along with others that don't share the same views as you, and how to win and lose graciously.
“Sierra is one of the finer young ladies I’ve had the privilege of coaching. Her moral fiber is of the utmost and you will be hard pressed to finder a better person to represent our university.” -Wade Wilson, head softball coach
Bibiana Klasz ’18
Major: Communication Studies
Hometown: Vienna, Austria
Campus Involvement: Bulldogs Live Media Group and TLU Bookstore Employee.
Off-Campus Involvement: Seguin Rotary Club and the Rotarex Club in Austria.
“I have learned a lot through my experience of being an international student and an exchange student while living with three different host families. I’ve had several different jobs throughout my life dealing specifically with people and communication skills. I love every snow sport and hiking and since my parents are both artists I enjoy art a lot too. I have done volunteer work for my church and the Rotary Club.”
“Bibi came to TLU as an international student from Vienna after spending a year at Seguin High School sponsored by the Seguin Rotary Club. She is extremely outgoing, friendly, and holds great conversations. As a communication studies major, these traits serve her well academically and personally and will also be good attributes as part of BGPC.” - Charla Bailey, director of international education program
Teanna Lewis ’17
Hometown : Corpus Christi
Campus Involvement: Resident Assistant and Member of the Campus Activities Board
“Since the fall semester of 2013, I knew Texas Lutheran would be my home. With knowing I would be spending the next four years of my life here, I wanted to get involved with the community as well experience the most I could here on campus. I have volunteered with many of the service days that Texas Lutheran offers as well as have done some volunteering with the Dash for Disabled Veterans. What really opened my eyes was working with first grade students at Jefferson Elementary. The first grade students taught me, it's the small things that matter, but they also helped me find my passion to teach. Since becoming an Resident Assistant has really made me step outside of my comfort zone, and has made me willing and eager to do more to be involved and to be a helping hand to others. My passion in life is to help others in anyway I can. I definitely have a soft spot for incoming freshman that have no clue what college is like. I know everyone’s experience is different, but sometimes it helps to have someone who has been in your shoes to guide you some. By being so involved on campus, especially with being a student worker in the library, a resident assistant, a member of campus activities board, a member of the cheerleading team, and last but not least a student myself I know the importance of working together building a community and striving to make the best out of everything you do. This spring semester started off very rough for me because I lost my mom, so I have made a promise to myself to take any and every opportunity that is offered to me and put my all into it, because I want to look back over my life and think about how far I’ve come and everything I have done and realized how it has shaped me into the woman I know my mom would want me to be.”
“Teanna has so many roles on our campus that promote the positivity of TLU. She serves as a resident assistant, cheerleader, and on the Campus Activities Board. She’s always looking for the positive in TLU and promotes herself and the positions she holds on campus to the best of her abilities. Teanna will make a perfect member of the Black & Gold President's Council.” - Brian Ford, area coordinator/summer programs
Jayna McGarity ’18
Major: Elementary Education
Campus Involvement: Community Service Chair of Sigma Delta Lambda Sorority Incorporated, Tschoepe Hall Student Worker, Alpha Chi Honor Society Member, Black Student Union Member, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society Member, TLU Honors Program, Jefferson Elementary Tutor, Secretary of Greek Council,
Off-Campus Involvement: Girl Scouts of America Lifetime Member.
“I’ve dedicated much of my time to serving my community and my school through involvement in various activities. In high school, I was involved with several organizations and programs with a focus on community service. In addition to my involvement in organizations at TLU, I studied abroad at Harlaxton College in England during the fall of 2015. I’ve also gained confidence in myself and developed self-reliance.My employment experiences as a summer camp counselor and Tschoepe Hall student worker have also helped me develop my communication skills and I will use these skills as a member of the Black and Gold President’s Council.”
“Jayna studied at Harlaxton during the Fall 2015 term and did extremely well academically, winning the best essay award for the semester. Fitting study abroad in as an Education major is a feat Jayna accomplished well. She is an excellent student, thoughtful, and very organized. She loves Texas and TLU but also values the importance of learning about topics and people new to her.” - Charla Bailey, director of international education program
Sarah Neill ’17
Major: Political Science
Hometown: San Antonio
Campus Involvement: TLU Women's Choir, Alpha Lambda Delta, Marketing & Communication Intern, Honors Program, Admissions Ambassador, Student Visit Coordinator
“Sarah has been an amazing intern, always showing initiative and creativity in her assignments. She's involved across campus, is incredibly outgoing, and shows the kind of confidence, intelligence and intuition college students should acquire. She would make a great leader within BGPC, and would benefit from working with her peers in a collaborative environment.” - Jenni Morin, director of digital marketing & content
Riley Schaefer ’18
Campus Involvement: TLU Baseball Team, Leadership Council of Baseball Team, SAAC, and Alpha Lambda Delta.
“Through sports I have acquired great leadership skills and with baseball, I’ve learned how to work effectively as a team. I’ve also learned perseverance and dedication through my schooling and have worked hard to keep my 4.0 GPA.”
“Riley is extremely intelligent, an a tremendous athlete and great student. He’s very focused, a hard worker, and has great leadership skills. He’s also a member of the TLU Baseball Leadership Council as voted by teammates.” - Greg Burnett, head baseball coach
Brooke Woods ’18
Major/Minor : International Business
Campus Involvement: TLU Women's Soccer Team, President of Kappa Pi Gamma, Vice President of Greek Council, and Alpha Lambda Delta.
“From being involved with Greek Life, I’ve learned leadership skills, how to plan and organize events, and how to be open-minded. Soccer has taught me teamwork, perseverance, and how to put others before myself. When working as a waitress I learned problem solving skills, how to persuade and influence, and to always have a positive attitude. I love to paint and that has taught me to pay attention to the small details that make up the bigger picture. Through volunteer work, I’ve learned how to converse with people from many different backgrounds. I want to use these skills and be able to make a difference in my community, having a positive impact on those around me.”
“Besides being a fabulous scholar-athlete, Brooke has tremendous energy and people skills. She can present herself confidently and professionally.” - Holly Lutze, assistant professor of business and economics