Outstanding Graduate Felicite Galvan Makes Strides as a Woman in STEM

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Outstanding Islander Graduate Felicite Galvan ’22 says hard work, resilience, and a passion for helping others are her Islander Impact. Nominated by the Honors Program as the Spring 2022 Outstanding Islander Graduate for the College of Science and Engineering, Galvan says her journey is one she hopes will inspire other young women to choose the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

Galvan is one of more than 1,285 Islanders who will earn their degree during the Spring 2022 commencement ceremony to be held on May 21 – the largest in the university’s 75-year history. The honor of Outstanding Islander Graduate is sponsored by Academic Affairs.

“Receiving this honor, I hope to inspire other young women to not fear the ‘what if,’ moments,” Galvan said. “If I can encourage even one young woman through my experience, then I know my Islander Impact is forever.”

A San Antonio native, Galvan says choosing to attend A&M-Corpus Christi was a no-brainer, stating her best childhood memories were made during family vacations on the sands of Coastal Bend beaches.

“To graduate from the Island University meant having the gift of starting my career in a place where, then and now, I feel joy,” Galvan said.

Galvan, who is earning a Bachelor of Science with a focus in Biomedical Sciences, says her undergraduate degree is the first step to her dream career as a physician assistant.

“Having shadowed a physician assistant, I really admire their ability to help the patient feel at ease through communication,” Galvan said. “As someone whose passion it is to serve others, I strive to assess, diagnose, and treat patients with compassion and sympathy – so I know this is the right field for me.”

Through her participation in the TAMU-CC Honors Program, Galvan was mentored by Dr. Daniel Newmire, TAMU-CC Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, who encouraged her academic success through community and research engagement, including her participation in the 2021 XINACHTLI Experiential Summer Research Program and the 2022 Student Research Symposium.

“The benefits provided by the Honors Program led me towards participation in research, community service, free outdoor adventure events, and finding a great mentor in Dr. Newmire,” Galvan said. “From the first email, Dr. Newmire expressed appreciation for me wanting to be a part of research and guided me towards applying for the summer research program. As my mentor, he encouraged me and helped me along the way.”

From 2021-2022, Galvan was part of a team of Islander student and faculty researchers that studied and presented data based on a previous study that highlighted the impact of thermotherapy treatment on both healthy and Type 2 diabetic skeletal muscle cells.

“Aside from the knowledge I gained from working in a lab and taking care of cells, the project allowed me to experience the real meaning of teamwork, patience, and tenacity,” Galvan said. “This project was not a simple straight line but rather a roller coaster of failures and successes. It gave me perspective on the difficulties I would face in my future and how no matter the turmoil, I could always persevere to reach my goal.”

Newmire says Galvan is a true example of what motivated students are capable of.

“Felicite has always been a hard worker who had an amazing ability to assert her independence as an academic and think on her feet,” Newmire said. “She is a special student and will dominate each next step she takes towards an amazing future.”

Galvan immersed herself in academic, university, student support, and student-led organizations including Career Services, the Student Volunteer Connection, Intramural Sports, the Coastal Bend Health Professionals Initiative, and the Alpha Epsilon Delta National Health Preprofessional Honor Society. Galvan also spent numerous hours volunteering at organizations including Harbor Hospice, Driscoll Children’s Hospital, the Gulf Coast Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, and the Coastal Bend Food Bank, among others. For two years, she also worked as a nurse assistant at Incarnate Word Academy.

“I’ve provided first-aid, administered medication, performed vision/hearing screenings, and administered COVID tests, though the most beneficial part of my job has been the mentorship I’ve received from my supervisor, Lisa Matl,” Galvan said. “Not only did she help me excel in my job, but she gave me great advice and guidance about my future career goals.”

While Galvan says she has many people to thank for her success, including supportive faculty, staff, friends, and mentors, she ultimately credits her mother, a single-parent and first-generation college student, for her perseverance these last four years.

“The pandemic was challenging for everyone; with new learning systems and new online classes, I was worried these would be giants I could not conquer,” Galvan said. “It was then that I thought about my mom and all she faced for my success. Seeing her push through as a first-generation student inspired me and reminded me there is no goal that I set that is truly unattainable.”

Galvan also gives thanks to the university’s Disability Services for helping her attend classes with comfort and ease. Galvan says following years of gymnastics and other athletic activities, she struggles with chronic back pain after suffering a herniated disc.

“Through the help of Disability Services, I had accommodations which truly made all the difference,” she said.

Galvan says she plans to continue her education through application into a physician assistant program.

“We each have our own unique journey, and now my fellow graduates and I have finally reached the milestone we worked so hard to achieve,” Galvan said. “I feel more blessed now than ever to soon be an alumna of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.”