Alumni making a difference: Tommy Amal

Tommy AmalBy Amy Loeffler

If there is one thing Tommy Amal (at right, right) does on a daily basis, it’s encourage students to be their best.

Amal (M.S., agricultural, leadership, and community education, ’14) volunteers as a co-advisor for students in the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences program — a nonprofit initiative that promotes academic and professional advancement by empowering underrepresented ethnic groups in agriculture and natural-resource-related sciences.

MANRRS helped Amal when he was an undergraduate studying agricultural leadership, so he knows the value of the program.

Students might come into majors with rigid ideas of what they think they want or need to do in order to follow a particular career path. Amal helps them see other options and opportunities.

“Helping students unlock mental boundaries really opens up so many different doors,” Amal said. “I assist students by helping them find out about nuts and bolts things like access to internships. I also help them figure out long-term goals, like what they want to do with their majors and how undergraduate research can enhance their academic pursuits as well as their careers.”

He is also giving back to the organization that had such a profound effect on him. The Virginia Tech chapter was recently recognized as a Chapter of Excellence.

“I think service a lot of times can be as simple as connecting a student with a resource or just helping students think beyond boundaries,” said Amal.