Nathanael Van Soest ‘22: An Aggie With A Passion For Storytelling
With the help of scholarship funding, English major Nathanael Van Soest ‘22 is pursuing his dreams of becoming a writer and director.
By Mia Mercer ‘23
Like most children, English major and film minor Nathanael Van Soest ‘22 grew up loving stories. But after watching a behind-the-scenes documentary about his favorite series, Star Wars, Soest realized he didn’t just want to read and watch stories; he wanted to make them.
Ever since his introduction to the world of film and how stories are made, Soest was determined to follow his dream of becoming a writer and director. When it was time to pick a college that fit his career goals, Soest knew Texas A&M University was the perfect place to begin his journey.
“My decision to attend Texas A&M was largely based on a feeling of belongingness I received as I toured and walked around campus,” Soest shared. “I grew up sandwiched between large farms and ranches somewhere in between Jarrell and Schwertner, Texas, and I went to a small high school near Pflugerville. I had been worried about college because I was so used to small schools, but A&M felt like the biggest small school I had ever been to. It was truly the best of both worlds; large enough to have any and all programs I could ever want without losing that small-town touch that I was looking for.”
Since becoming an Aggie, Soest wasted no time taking the next step towards his dream. He is the vice president and screenwriting chair of Screenwriting, Acting, and Movie Production (SWAMP), the movie production club on campus. He is also co-authoring a book with his favorite professor, James Francis, titled The Horror Movie Musical through the Undergraduate and Professional Research Experience Project (UPREP) program, where he explores the untouched subgenre of horror movie musicals and what they teach us about horror and musical genres’ influence on society. Francis is also helping Soest with his honors thesis over the directing career of Dennis Hopper.
“The biggest way the College of Liberal Arts helped me throughout my college career was through its professors and staff,” Soest said. “The professors have all shaped me in some way, through their dedication to their material and to us students. Liberal arts professors go the extra mile in everything and are always there to help you grow inside and outside the classroom (shoutout to Dr. Francis).”
Soest is the recipient of two scholarships; the Lou and C.C. ‘42 Burton Scholarship Fund and the Stewart and Anna Morgan Scholarship.
“Finances are always a big concern when it comes to college,” Soest said. “These scholarships helped lessen that load on my back, which in turn allowed me more time and mental capacity to invest into my academics, my future career, and clubs.”
As he prepares for the grand finale of his undergraduate career, Soest is considering pursuing a master’s in English while continuing his love for production and media.
“I encourage others to attend A&M because from my experience, it is an amazing education filled with unique opportunities, tons of resources, and some of the best staff and professors anywhere,” Soest shared. “There really is a place for everyone here and you can find the resources to explore and learn about whatever you are interested in.”