Niels Levy-Thiebaut
Stamps Forty Acres Scholarship, supported by Carolyn Holmes
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2025
Houston, TX
High School
Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions

I consider myself a citizen of the world. I was born in New York City to French-American parents; I moved to London at age two; and I spent my elementary school years in Paris. Adapting to find my place in every new setting, I learned to be resilient and adventurous. When I moved to Texas at age 12, I initially had trouble fitting in. I resolved this by delving into activities in my community and was surprised at how welcoming my new peers were. I was even able to nurture my French-American roots by serving as President of the French Club at my high school and as an intern at the French-American Chamber of Commerce of Houston, where I helped organize the signature Beaujolais Nouveau fundraiser (without drinking the wine!).

Remembering the challenges I initially faced with English when I moved to America in the sixth grade, I vowed to do my part to bridge the growing literacy disparities in underserved areas of Houston. Through Book Buddies, an elementary school student tutoring group, I helped guide my young scholar buddies through the world of reading to see firsthand the positive effects it could have on their lives. As an elected co-president senior year, I pioneered and participated in virtual story times for first through fifth graders during the pandemic. I also helped finalize virtual one-on-one math and reading tutoring options during this past summer and for the next school year.

My fascination for how things work - from the human body to machines - drives my interest in physics, fitness, sports science, and kinesiology, and I enjoy sharing this with others. I started an evidence-based fitness blog and co-founded a fitness and wellness club at my school to help others in attaining their goals in health and wellness. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I secured professional counselors from the Institute for Spirituality and Health. Through this continuing collaboration, my peers, our school staff, and I have been able to benefit from hour-long weekly meditation and journaling sessions.

Since moving to Texas, I have felt supported in all of my endeavors. I am excited to delve deeper into my interests at UT, surrounded by the best and brightest people I know: my FASP family.

Physics; Plan II Honors

Honors Programs
Polymathic Scholars Honors Program; Plan II Honors

Other Academic Interests
Pre-med; Certificate in Spanish for the Medical Professions; Kinesiology and Sports Science

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program?
I was drawn to the Forty Acres Scholars Program for the outstanding leadership, academic, and global opportunities the program offers, coupled with a generous scholarship at a world-class university and an incredibly supportive alumni network. The diverse Scholar community is a real draw for me. I know firsthand how well different perspectives and experiences can enhance a community and encourage each person to reach his or her potential. When I left my monocultural French school in Paris, I felt like I had never fit the mold of a Parisian student, and I was worried that I would not feel accepted as a French-American tween in Texas. My Houston high school was actually refreshingly diverse, and I have found that Texans are really welcoming. For me, the Forty Acres Finalist Weekend sealed the deal: the resilience and ingenuity the program showed by hosting a fully virtual weekend made me feel connected to my peers and to my new home. I am so excited for this once-in-a-lifetime experience in the four years to come and beyond.