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Former student Andrew Balog ‘21 sits under a tree outside
Andrew Balog ’21 belonged to the first cohort of undergraduate students that graduated from the department in spring 2021. | Image: Dharmesh Patel

Andrew Balog ‘21, a former student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has accomplished something extraordinary. He belongs to the first cohort of undergraduate students that graduated from the department in spring 2021. As a first-generation Aggie, he will take with him sound academic training in materials engineering and the rich history and traditions of Texas A&M University.

Balog first visited Texas A&M as a high school student with his older brother, also an engineer, and recalls being completely impressed by the campus and the engineering program. Naturally, when it came time to apply for college, engineering was on the top of his list. 

Though he had originally set his sights on chemical engineering, when he arrived he suddenly had the option of applying to the undergraduate materials science and engineering program, which was newly established in 2018.

“When I first expressed interest in Texas A&M, there wasn’t a materials science and engineering program for undergraduates, but when I applied for a major, the program was just starting,” said Balog. “I was thrilled since materials science and engineering was my first choice, the timing was just perfect.”

In addition to taking courses, Balog said he had the opportunity to get hands-on experience in research while working on a project in a lab. He said this experience greatly helped him in understanding how to approach a scientific question analytically and then conducting a series of experiments.

“Getting to work in the lab was a transformative experience for me,” said Balog. “I enjoyed being part of a team and interacting with my scientific mentor, I learned a lot.”

Balog was chosen among several students for the Abraham Clearfield Materials Science and Engineering Scholarship. The scholarship supports outstanding undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a doctoral degree in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Balog was also one of seven seniors in the College of Engineering chosen to receive the Craig C. Brown Outstanding Senior Engineer Award. This award is the most prestigious honor bestowed upon a graduating senior in the college, and it was the first time a student from the materials science and engineering department had won it.

“It is really nice to be recognized for the work you’ve put in but, more importantly, I think my award is a reflection of all the people I have worked within the materials science and engineering program,” said Balog. “Now, as a result, I know I have earned a quality education in a field that I am deeply passionate about.”

Balog is motivated to continue his academic pursuits and will begin his doctoral degree in materials science and engineering at The Pennsylvania State University in fall 2021.