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West Texas A&M University
Alumni Association eNewsletter
January 2017

West Texas A&M University Alumni Association eNewsletter - Let's Catch Up,

WT Alumna, Kyla Williams, is finding her place on Broadway

By Brittany Castillo '14

“I sat in Grammy Award winner Sara Bareilles’ seat for the Tony Awards this year,” said WT alumna Kyla Williams. “I had to shimmy my way past Lucy Lu and Oprah chitchatting.”

Williams moved to New York City after graduating in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in theatre performance. She landed an internship with the American Theater Wing, who sponsors the Tony Awards, and found herself among the stars.

“I never could have imagined I would be sitting at the Tony’s one day or sitting in acting studios with celebrities. I just kept taking steps every day toward my goals of being an actress and when I stopped to look around, I realized how far I’d come,” Williams said. “A younger Kyla would think I am really brave.”

Williams grew up in Amarillo playing soccer with Kids Inc. and golf for Randall High School, where her dad is principal. She performed in the UIL One Act Play and was the recipient of the Sterling Award, honoring one outstanding student in the graduating class. At WTAMU, Williams worked at the University Bookstore and was active in the theatre department. She starred in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Iphigenia 2.0, Legally Blonde the Musical, Shakespeare in Hollywood and 33 Variations. When Williams was not in the WT BIT Theater, she was in New York City hauling equipment and pitching tents in Central Park as a production assistant. She knew opportunity would not come without hard work.

“In 2013, it was my second summer interning, and I went to a professional audition for the Stella Adler Studio,” Williams said. “I was one of five people to get a call back, and they invited me to be a part of their summer program.”

The first professional training school to be affiliated with New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, the Stella Adler Studio is based on the principle of self-growth at the foundation of all acting. These teachings helped Williams hone her acting abilities, encourage self-reflection and introduced her to exclusive workshops, where she worked alongside action star and heartthrob Gerard Butler.

“That class sent me on a path of self-discovery and betterment. I’d love to give that to people one day by opening my own acting studio founded on acting techniques but also Eastern practices like yoga that are about self care,” Williams said.

Currently, Williams bartends on Broadway for shows like Wicked and Hamilton, and she recently returned from a two-week yoga trip to India. She aspires to become a professional actress and acting coach but not before becoming a world traveler.

“I realized I had put myself in a box of what I thought was expected of me as an actress. There’s a lot of people trying to tell you what you are, especially in New York City and theatre, but a professional is someone who knows who they are and what they bring,” Williams said. “By having these experiences to grow, I will gain more, bring more and give more in a performance and my life.”

Alumnus Honored with 2016 Cotton Achievement Award

Cotton Grower magazine has recognized Barry Evans as the 2016 recipient of its Cotton Achievement Award. Evans, a cotton producer and industry leader from Kress, was honored Jan. 5 at the magazine’s annual luncheon in Dallas. He is the award’s 47th recipient.

“In addition to being a successful cotton grower, Barry’s tireless dedication to the industry has earned him the respect of many of his peers—from the dirt roads around Kress, to the board rooms in offices and upscale hotels across the Cotton Belt,” Beck Barnes, editor/publisher of Cotton Grower, said.

In addition to farming, Evans is very involved with various agricultural organizations. He is currently secretary/treasurer of the National Cotton Council and has served as Texas state chairman of the American Cotton Producers, president of the Cotton Foundation and as a member of the Cotton Board. He is a past president of Plains Cotton Growers and currently sits on the Plains Cotton Improvement Program committee. Evans also is a past chairman of the Northern High Plains Boll Weevil Eradication Program Advisory Committee. He is also active with the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation and the Swisher County Farm Bureau.

WTAMU's Liz Moore Receives AgriLife Award

Liz Moore ’04, a research associate at WT and a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticultural agent in Randall County, was one of 15 members of the Environmental Landscape Plant Evaluation Team honored with the AgriLife Extension Superior Service Award earlier this month at Texas A&M University in College Station.

The Superior Service award recognizes AgriLife Extension personnel who provide outstanding performance in education or other outstanding service to the organization and Texans. The 15-member team worked together to create a national network of peer-reviewed environmental plant trials to identify the best-adapted landscape plants from flowers and fruit to herbs and ornamental grasses.

Moore and the team set a goal to identify plants that possess the strongest and best-adapted genetics to help homeowners avoid serious plant problems before they occur. That goal also included using the strong plant genetics as an environmentally responsible way to develop the nation’s landscape without relying on more water, more fertilizers and more pesticides. With widespread adoption of the team’s findings, it is estimated that water consumption in Dallas alone could be reduced annually by 1.9 billion gallons.

Liz Moore '04, far right, with fellow Superior Service Award honorees

From the Director

Dear Buff Family:

The new year is off and running. Would you believe we're already looking toward Commencement, Homecoming, chapter events and more? We hope you'll join us for an upcoming alumni event, and if there's not one in your community - let's talk, because we'd love to help you plan one.

Watch your email for more on how you can be a part of Homecoming 2017, special reunions, regional development, President Wendler's Your Community, Your University visits, and so much more. It's a great time to be a Buff and you can find more information on all of it at

Becky Stogner


Heard from the Herd

Have you encountered a member of the Herd when you've been sharing your Buff pride? Let us know and be sure to have them connect with us at

Upcoming Events

Feb. 6
Alumni Chapter Event, 4 - 6 p.m.
Wellington Ritz Theatre, Wellington, Texas

Feb. 9
Alumni Gathering at Jazz Texas, 5 - 7 p.m.
312 Pearl Pkwy, Ste 6001, San Antonio, Texas

Feb. 10
Annual Alumni Reunion at TMEA, 9:30 - 11 p.m.
Menger Hotel, San Antonio, Texas

Feb. 20
Alumni Gathering at CU29 Cocktail Bar, 5 - 7 p.m.
720 Brazos Street, Austin, Texas

Feb. 21
Alumni & Educators Gathering at The Wine Rack, 4 - 6 p.m.
4610 N Garfield, Suite D4, Midland, Texas

Feb. 22
Alumni and Educators Gathering at Proof Bar & Lounge, 5 - 6:30 p.m.
7270 E Hwy 191, Odessa, Texas - for details on upcoming events
University calendar - for a complete schedule of campus events
gobuffsgo  - for complete schedule of WT athletic events - for a complete schedule of Your Community, Your University presentations

WTAMU Alumni Association 102 N 25th Street, Canyon TX 79016
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