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Photo of college student Nathaniel Lies standing outdoors.
Nathanial Lies, a graduate of the first cohort of undergraduates in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, was chosen as a recipient of the Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees Outstanding Student Award for 2021. | Image: Courtesy of Leighton Jack ’14

The Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees chose Nathaniel Lies ’21 and three additional students as recipients of its Trustees’ Outstanding Student Award for 2021. 

Since its establishment in 2012 by former trustee Melbern Glasscock ’59 and his wife Susanne, the Trustees’ Outstanding Student Award has rewarded Aggie seniors who hold campus leadership positions and continue to succeed academically while facing financial, familial or personal challenges.

Eagle Scout and National Merit Finalist Nathaniel Lies visited colleges across the Midwest until he found a place where he could develop himself and pursue his curiosity and love of science. Stepping foot on Texas A&M University’s campus for the first time, Lies said something in the atmosphere and culture just clicked. 

“My dad passed away when I was in high school, leaving my mother financially responsible for me and my siblings. She has always been there to support and encourage me, so now that I’m able to give back, I do anything and everything to lessen the financial burden on her,” Lies said. “Trying to strike a balance between cost and quality of education was difficult, but if I had known the kind of support I would receive at Texas A&M, I wouldn’t have visited other schools. That ‘we’re all in it together’ Aggie spirit has been so transformative to helping me learn and make connections.”

In the College of Engineering, Lies led the first cohort of undergraduates in a brand-new major: materials science and engineering. Blazing the trail for the program, Lies took on leadership roles in the Materials Science and Engineering Ambassadors and Materials Advantage while working as a research assistant, presenting at conferences and competing in national materials competitions.

“It’s been such an honor to help create the first impression of Texas A&M’s MSEN (materials science and engineering undergraduates,” Lies explained. “It’s also been a rewarding experience to work with faculty on strengthening a curriculum that will continue for decades.”

Lies’ research directed his dreams toward academia. Moving to Atlanta this summer, Lies will use his award money to pursue his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at Georgia Tech.

“It’s nice to be recognized for the work that I’ve put in, and I feel such gratitude for the Foundation helping make my career and dreams possible,” Lies said. “Texas A&M really excels at helping other Aggies, and I look forward to the day I can turn around and help other people as I’ve been helped.” 

This is an excerpt from the original article which appeared on the Texas A&M Foundation’s website.