Aerospace engineering Ph.D. student awarded prestigious fellowship

Photo of Brian LesterBrian Lester, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, was awarded the three-year Sandia National Laboratories/Texas A&M University Excellence in Engineering Fellowship, which began in the later half of 2012.

Along with the prestigious graduate assistantship, recipients also encouraged to travel to Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico to participate in an internship.

After learning that he was awarded the assistantship, Lester said he was honored.

“It was quite surprising when I found out and a little overwhelming, but really an honor to be recognized,” Lester said.

Lester earned his bachelor’s degree in 2009 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and began studying at Texas A&M the same year. His current research, under the direction of Distinguished Professor Dimitris Lagoudas, focuses on the development of numerical tools for the prediction and analysis of active (or multifunctional) composites. These novel composites are of interest due to their unique potential for use in environments subject to extreme temperatures or other loading conditions.

The Sandia Excellence in Engineering Research Program is a sponsored program at major universities across the United States and co-sponsored by Texas A&M’s Dwight Look College of Engineering. The program’s goal is to encourage innovation in science-based, multidisciplinary research through support for an outstanding doctoral candidate in engineering. In establishing the program, Sandia National Laboratories hopes to strengthen its partnership with Texas A&M Engineering to encourage a new generation of scientists and engineers who can contribute to areas of national interest and critical need.

Students are eligible for nomination of the assistantship if they are Ph.D. students in the Dwight Look College of Engineering within three years of degree completion at the time of awarding; have an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher; and are U.S. citizen eligibles to qualify for an L security clearance.

Sandia National Laboratories is operated and managed by Sandia Corp, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp. Sandia Corp. operates Sandia National Laboratories as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and supports numerous federal, state, and local government agencies, companies, and organizations. Sandia National Laboratories employs approximately 8,700 people. For more information about Sandia, visit

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