MSU Texas chemistry department made lasting impression on Spring 2021 grad

A great experience at Midwestern State

MSU Texas chemistry department made lasting impression on Spring 2021 grad

Walking across the graduation stage was exciting for Amy Arceneaux. It was also bittersweet because being a part of the Spring 2021 graduation class signaled the end of her time at Midwestern State.

Her future is bright as she prepares to attend University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. It’s time for a new chapter, she says, but the one she just finished was exciting. Arceneaux became a first-generation college graduate with a Bachelor of Science and was named the Outstanding Chemistry Student in the Redwine Honors program. 

“There hasn’t been one class where I didn’t come out a better person or scholar, and I owe a lot of who I am to my professors,” Arceneaux said.

“It will mean saying goodbye to a lot of people I greatly admire professionally. It is exciting to start my next chapter, but it still feels like I am leaving a whole life behind. I think about UTMB and how it will be not knowing any faculty members, just because I love all the faculty here and know them so well," Arceneaux said.

Getting accustomed to hybrid learning was different in the past year, but Arceneaux found a bright spot.

My last year wasn’t too different though, a lot of my teachers did a hybrid approach, and I loved it,” she said. “It was great preparation for medical school actually because many lectures there are posted online, so you have to be disciplined enough for self-paced learning. I spent a lot of time in coffee shops. I get crazy distracted in my room at home, so for me, just getting out in any way possible was key.”

Arceneaux was born in Houma, Louisiana, and grew up in Houston. She heard about MSU Texas through the radiologic technician program, and one of her high school health science teachers was an MSU Texas grad. Amy double majored in biology and chemistry. “It’s a closing of a whole chapter of my life. I’ve spent the past five years here at MSU, so it’s definitely bittersweet,” she said. My memories with Dr. Elizabeth Ann Machunis-Masuoka while doing Welch Research through the chemistry department has been a constant in my life over the past four years, and it’s hard to imagine college without them.”

Next is medical school for Amy where she plans to “figure out if I like surgery or not, haha. My fields of interest are oriented towards trauma or gastroenterology. Research in insulin resistance has also been a recent career interest that aligns with opportunities at UTMB,” Arceneaux said. 

She won’t soon forget her experiences and friends from MSU Texas.

“All my favorite memories from MSU are relationships with the faculty, hands down,” Arceneaux said. “There is not one chemistry professor I won’t miss. They have been rooting for me and been there for me through the whole pre-medical process. I feel their belief in me is paying off now that I am graduating and going off to medical school. I wanted to make them proud because they have given and have done so much for me. 


Amy Arceneaux
Amy Arceneaux leaves MSU Texas thankful for her learning experience where she gained valuable relationships with faculty and fellow students. Arceneaux was honored as the Outstanding Chemistry Student.

Her favorite class was analytical chemistry with Dr. Jianguo Shao with Dr. Fu Cheng (George) Liang’s biochemistry class a close second. “Both are outstanding professors and taught how their material applies to different fields, including healthcare. Dr. Shao taught us analytic applications within medicine, and the healthcare field, which is a big part of why I want to continue performing research in medical school. One of my favorite things he would say was never to stop learning and always be teaching yourself something.”

Arceneaux wanted to thank her parents for all the sacrifices they made to make her mission possible at MSU Texas as a First Gen graduate. “I owe everything to my parents,” she said. “Until my acceptance into medical, my biggest accomplishment was being accepted to MSU. It has opened so many doors my parents wanted for me, and their support has been unwavering throughout it all. They've been my inspiration and gave me unwavering support to explore anything I wanted, even becoming a physician. Being able to receive a diploma is such a privilege, and it means all the sacrifices my parents made have been worth it - that I was able to make them proud.”

Relationships on campus were the key, she said. Her advice for future students is simple: “Surround yourself with those who make you better and make you push yourself. A good friend group and support group make all the difference,” Arceneaux said.

A group Amy enjoyed immensely was the Redwine Honors program. “I enjoyed how many different events and partnerships the program lets you get involved in as a member,” she said. “Dr. (Steve) Garrison and Cody (Parish) give you a lot of consideration as a member, student, and future professional; they listen and set us up for success. They have let me run with some different ideas while I was on the service committee and supported me the whole way. It is by far the only organization I’ve been a part of here on campus where you get to personalize the difference you make within the community. And the Halloween parties - so much fun, they will be greatly missed.”

2021 Redwine Honors Program Awards

Outstanding Special Education Student: Braelyn Ringwald

Outstanding Mass Communication Student: Karrington Bradley

Outstanding Music Student: Lilian Adams

Outstanding English Student: Meredith Berend

Vinson Award in Creative Writing: Meredith Berend

Outstanding Chemistry Student: Amy Arceneaux

Outstanding Mathematics Student: Chad Callender

Outstanding Freshman Man: Andres Revis

Outstanding Freshman Woman: Elizabeth Horn

Outstanding Sophomore Man: Hunter Ordner

Outstanding Sophomore Woman: Brooke Creacy

Outstanding Junior Woman: Abigail Jones

Outstanding Senior Man: DanLee Duncan

Outstanding Senior Woman: Kishelle Licorish

Man of the Year: Andrew Wolf

Woman of the Year: Amanda Threlkeld

Viola Grady Leadership Award: Crege La Ronde

Alumni Association Award: Hunter Ordner

Hardin Scholar: Autumn Fredline