‘Exceptional Students’ Announced for 2020 WT Leadership Program

Local News

CANYON, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) — Twenty-four West Texas A&M University students will join the University’s elite leadership program for 2020.

The students, whose majors range from agribusiness to sports and exercise science, are the latest cohort of the Dyke and Terry Rogers LEAD WT program. The Leadership Education and Development program launched in August 2012 thanks to a grant from the Texas Pioneer Foundation and was endowed in 2014 by the Dalhart philanthropists.

In the two-year program, students take special leadership theory courses, team up for service projects and work in internship programs, among other requirements.

“Our program challenges these exceptional students to develop their leadership potential in ways that give them confidence and prepare them for exceptional employment after graduation,” said Missy Macon, program director.

Students are selected through an intense application and interview process, and evaluated on attitude, work ethic, ability to work with others, and desire to grow both personally and professionally, Macon said.

The program reflects several key principles of WT’s generational plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World, including leadership and service.

The 2020 cohort, listed by hometown:


  • Jessie Castillo, finance
  • Ireland Kirkpatrick, political science
  • Briss Graham, sports and exercise science

Boulder, Colo.

  • Reilly Dhaliwal, equine industry and business


  • Lani Belle Vanlandingham, pre-nursing


  • EnRico Hawkins, finance and accounting

Crawford, Colo.

  • Tessa Gore, agricultural business

Daytona Beach, Fla.

  • Ustina Guirguis, animal science

Fowler, Colo.

  • Tressa Reed, elementary education

Hooker, Okla.

  • Arianna Stadler, elementary education


  • Allan Baltazar, criminal justice: policing


  • Natalia Ezquivel, computer science

Las Vegas

  • Mia Davis, biology with specialization in pre-veterinarian sciences


  • Courtney Reed, nursing


  • William Ingersoll, animal science


  • Kelsey Shields, animal science with specialization in pre-veterinarian sciences


  • Alberto Garcia, management — human resource management specialization

Plymoth, Ind.

  • Hannah McLochlin, agribusiness


  • David Reyes, sports and exercise science

Roswell, N.M.

  • Aubrey Freese, biology


  • Frey Diaz, plant, soil and environmental science

Universal City

  • Dylan Cole, plant, soil and environmental science


  • Silvestre Perez, pre-med biochemistry


  • Gracen Key, psychology

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