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Prominent scholarship helps NMSU mechanical, aerospace engineering students earn graduate degrees

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering recently held a banquet to celebrate the Tim Thompson Graduate Scholarship Fund and its four deserving recipients. Pictured from left to right: Roman Chavez, Nathan Troutman, generous donor Tim Thompson, Nicholas Hall, James Flesner, and Department Head Dr. Jay Frankel.

Taeya M. Padilla | student writer | | 575-646-3221

Four New Mexico State University Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering students were recognized as recipients of the Tim Thompson Graduate Scholarship Fund in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Tim Thompson and the 2024-25 scholarship recipients Nicholas Hall, James Flesner, Roman Chavez and Nathan Troutman were honored at a ceremony May 3.

Created in 2023, the Tim Thompson Scholarship supports students pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical or aerospace engineering through the Master’s Accelerated Program. Preference is given to students who graduated from a New Mexico high school and obtained their undergraduate degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from NMSU.

“The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering thanks Tim Thompson for his generous scholarship awards and his continual support of the MAE Department,” Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department Head Jay Frankel said. “Advanced education provides additional in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, permits job versality, and supports professional mobility.”

Hall, a graduate research assistant, said this scholarship will aid his research and education and will grant him more free time to assist with mentoring younger researchers in the department.

“By being my authentic self, I have created real meaningful connections with colleagues, and they have taught me about my potential,” Hall said. “I believe continuing my education will allow me to continue along this journey so eventually I could end up working at a national laboratory as a full-time researcher pushing the boundaries of the field I have come to love.”

Chavez said this scholarship will provide him the freedom to focus on academics and participation in clubs.

“I plan on continuing to work as an intern for the Air Force Research Laboratories, that would ideally transition into a full-time position,” Chavez said. “I would eventually like to be able to work at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as a mechanical design engineer.”

Troutman said this scholarship helped bring financial security to his continued education.

“I plan on taking full advantage of research and internship opportunities that come my way,” Troutman said.

Flesner said this scholarship will allow him to focus more on his studies, which includes performing research on an underwater robot.

“I would like to find a job where I can utilize the skills I have learned about design, analysis and fabrication to design and build mechanisms to help improve current processes, while also being environmentally conscious,” Flesner said.

Thompson is a Belen, New Mexico, native and NMSU graduate. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and is a member of NMSU’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Academy. The MAE Academy is a traditional and strong supporter of the department by providing awards, industrial insight, encouragement and suggestions for continuous improvement. Thompson established the scholarship to encourage top talent in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering to complete their graduate work at NMSU.