Sky is the Limit for Science and Engineering Outstanding Graduate Michael Haley

Michael is inspired by challenges – not intimidated by them.

Dr. Mohammed Ahmed, TAMU-CC Assistant Professor of Geophysics

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – With a profound passion for geophysics and the drive to lead others, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi graduate student Michael Haley ’19, ’21 was selected as the College of Science and Engineering’s Summer 2021 Outstanding Graduate. Hayley says the recognition is one he feels reflects his devotion to research and academic achievement.

“I always try to remain humble, but sometimes it’s nice to see the rewards of your hard work,” Haley, a native of Rockport, said. “I know that many students put in hard work and have done amazing things at this university, so to be selected as an Outstanding Graduate is an extreme honor and privilege.”

Haley, who earned his Bachelor of Science in Geology in 2019, said he initially faced challenges during his time on campus due to the passing of his mother in 2016. He said it was through the warm welcome of the Islander community that he was able to continue his education and become the Islander he is today.

“A&M-Corpus Christi welcomed me with open arms and so many of my professors became huge influences in my life and helped me achieve my goals and so much more,” Haley said. “I am forever grateful to the geology faculty and staff who pushed to be who I am today.”

During his undergraduate studies, Haley worked as a CASA tutor, which he says opened his eyes to the diversity of people and degrees on the Island campus.

“It was refreshing to see so many new students that had big dream, and how TAMU-CC was able to give them a pathway to achieving those goals,” he said.

Haley said it was Dr. Dorina Murgulet, Associate Professor of Hydrogeology and Director of the Center for Water Supply Studies, who first encouraged him to pursue a graduate degree.

“Dr. Murgulet is an amazing professor who cultivated my love of science and pushed me to apply to grad school, which is the best decision I ever made,” Haley said.

Once in grad school, Haley found a mentor in Dr. Mohamed Ahmed, TAMU-CC Assistant Professor of Geophysics.

“Since joining my lab, Michael has shown great selflessness in helping all of his peers. He is honest, dependable, and an incredibly hard-working researcher,” Ahmed said. “He is an impressive problem-solver who is always able to address complex issues with strategy and confidence. Michael is inspired by challenges – not intimidated by them.”

Through his work in Ahmed’s lab, Haley contributed to the construction of the university’s state-of-the-art Geophysics Test Site at Momentum Village and also updated Ahmed’s geophysics course lab manual while teaching undergraduate geophysics lab courses.

“Dr. Ahmed has truly been a rock in my college experience, and I can confidently say he’s made me a better scientist and a better man during my time here,” Haley said.

Maintaining a 4.0 GPA during his graduate studies, Haley dedicated additional time to his research by summarizing his results in a paper that he later submitted to Remote Sensing Journal. Haley continued to take his research findings to the next level by presenting at the 2019 Geological Society of America (GSA) conference and the 2020 American Geophysical Union.

Haley’s research was supported by three grants from the university’s Division of Research and Innovation including the Enhancement Grant, Research Equipment and Infrastructure Grant, Texas Comprehensive Research Fund Grant, and the Research Enhancement Grant awarded by the College of Science and Engineering to Dr. Mohamed Ahmed.

His industrious work ethic and active contribution to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality led him to earn two scholarships from the Corpus Christi Geological Society.

“The scholarships I received not only helped me stay in classes over the summer, but also allowed me to attend the GSA South Central Conference in 2020 where I was able to network with experts in my field of research,” Haley said.

In addition to thriving in academics, Haley was also a founding member of the Society for Explorational Geophysicists chapter at A&M-Corpus Christi. In his role, he educated incoming geology majors about the types of professions in geophysics along with providing hands-on experience in the geology field and within the geophysics lab.

Graduating with a Masters Degree in Enviromental Science, Haley hopes to find employment for a city or state agency as a GIS analyst. Reflecting on his time as an Islander, Haley believes that TAMU-CC has prepared him for whatever is next.

“I joined the graduate program to push myself to my limits and test my self-resolve,” Haley said. “I can now say that I pushed myself down the long and hard road and reached new personal goals.”