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Former Student Excels In Education    

April 15, 2024

Eunique Woods '14
Eunique Woods '14

By Taylor Bounds, Division of Marketing and Communications

Eunique Woods '14 has a passion for education that is as contagious as her joy, turning those around her into lifelong learners. Whether it's to camp or to class, she believes in creativity and fun, bringing a special liveliness each day.

When Woods was working full time for Sea Camp, Texas A&M University at Galveston's science-based summer camp and outreach program, she presented a shark dissection for a visiting Odyssey Academy Galveston middle school group. With a degree in marine biology and having worked as a Sea Camp instructor for a few years, the dissection was, for the most part, seamless and routine. She noticed the teachers at the back of the classroom communicating with each other through nods and quiet conversation, but continued with her presentation anyway. When she finished with the dissection and it was time for students to leave, a few of the teachers caught up with Woods to ask if she herself was a teacher. When she answered "no," she was told to seriously consider it because she had a clear talent for education.

Though Woods could imagine herself leading a classroom, she had recently graduated and didn't want to immediately go back to school for her teaching certification. She was also content where she was, working for Sea Camp.

However, not long afterward, Woods met the principal of Odyssey Academy,  who had heard reports from several teachers of how she had captured the attention of their students. The principal offered her a job, prompting Woods to test the waters and pursue her life science teaching certification before diving into a new career.

Now finishing her eighth year of teaching at Odyssey Academy, Woods is proud to follow in the footsteps of her mother, Beverly Scruggs, who she says laid the foundation for her passion for education as a teacher in the Dallas Independent School District for over thirty years.

During Woods' transition out of Sea Camp and into a traditional classroom, Dr. Daisy Dailey, the campus director of educational outreach, called with a challenge for her: to start an additional camp focused on the maritime industry for local junior high and high school students. Dailey knew that Woods would be up to the task.

Agreeing with Dailey on the need in the community for education about the maritime industry, Woods helped launch the Maritime Careers Camp in 2015. The camp is a weeklong, no-cost program designed specifically for rising eighth through tenth graders in Galveston County and introduces students to potential careers in the maritime industry. Woods says that even on the island, many kids just don't know the expanse and importance of the industry.

"I’ve known Eunique for many years and had the opportunity to observe her growth as a student, employee and educator," said Dailey. "I chose Eunique to help lead Maritime Careers Camp because of her ability to communicate effectively with a wide audience: students, parents, school administrators and co-workers. I was also confident that she would be able to build strong relationships with the campers by being engaging and kind. Maritime Careers Camp is still going strong, and its success is due to the dedication of outstanding educators like Eunique."

In partnership with the Galveston Chamber of Commerce, about 20 students joined for the first camp. In the years following, other community partners started to buy in, enabling the camp to grow. The week is packed with unique opportunities with everything from SCUBA diving in a pool to a behind-the-scenes look at life on an oil rig at the Ocean Star Museum. Campers get to see the country's customs and security systems first-hand, guide a remotely operated vehicle, and tour a modern cruise ship and the 1877 tall ship Elissa. They leave excited about the maritime industry – and the custom hard hats provided by Gulf Copper, joked Woods.

According to Dr. Donna Lang '88, associate vice president for academic operations at the Galveston Campus, these partnerships are thanks to the hard work that Woods and her coworkers have put into the camp.

"Eunique is incredibly passionate about the success of her students and makes a personal connection to help each one see their own potential and clarify their dreams," said Lang. "Her vibrance and exuberance have a ripple effect not only on her students but the community as a whole. I have no doubt that her impact will be felt in Galveston for years and even generations to come."

Woods credits Lang and Dailey as mentors, and as those relationships have grown over the years, she says, "If they ever need anything, I'm there." Though, that seems to be the attitude Woods has about everybody.

Eunique Woods in her classroom at Odyssey Academy
Woods in her classroom at Odyssey Academy

In her classroom at Odyssey, Woods does it all for her students. From baking cakes to building roller coasters, she includes what would be extracurriculars in the curriculum so her students, especially those that don't always have those opportunities outside of the classroom, can benefit. Her positivity seems to fuel her as she is, no doubt, the kind of teacher that students remember for a lifetime.

"I love that everything is new every day," said Woods. "Every second of every day a student has a new idea, and I like to challenge myself to think outside of the box to bring their ideas to life."

She credits Sea Camp with cutting her teeth as an educator and setting the standard for her future classroom.

"The sky's the limit with Sea Camp," said Woods. "There is never a barrier for what they're willing to do for kids. If a door is closed, they'll open it."

When Woods was just a few years older than her students are now, she took an aquatic science course and was sold on marine biology. Paired with her lifelong love of Galveston, Texas A&M was easily in her top choices for higher education. When she attended Sea Aggie Preview, now Aggieland Saturday by the Sea, she fell in love with the campus, the traditions and the people. She now shares her love of Texas A&M by teaching the Aggie Core Values to her students, and keeps in touch with several former campers, many of which are working at the companies they were first introduced to during the camp.

"The best blessing you can give is to give it back," said Woods. "I put everything I receive from my community back into my community. I just hope if there's a student out there trying to figure out their future, just like I was, that I can help them find their calling."

Maritime Careers Camp 2024 is July 22-26. To register, please fill out the online application or call the Sea Camp office at 409-740-4525.


Media contact:
Taylor Bounds

Texas A&M University at Galveston is the marine and maritime branch campus of Texas A&M University which educates nearly 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students in science, business, engineering, liberal arts and transportation. It is driving the development of the blue economy in the Gulf Coast Region and is a critical contributor to Texas A&M's rare land-, sea-, space-grant mission with nearly $10 million in research expenditures.

Texas A&M-Galveston is also home to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, one of six state maritime academies and the only one in the southern United States, which trains over 400 cadets annually for maritime service and employment around the world.

Texas A&M-Galveston is located in Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast where it is surrounded by industry, environment and programs essential to fulfilling its special-purpose mission. Aggies are known for their deep commitment to the success of each other and their strong desire to serve.