Student Spotlight: April Ellis
April Ellis, Undergraduate Senior, Coastal Environmental Science
April Ellis exemplifies excellence. Active in the LSU community, she serves in many student organizations, such as Bengal Bound and CES Advocates. In addition, she serves as a mentor on the Tiger Transition team and as team leader in STRIPES.
For her capstone research project, Ellis is researching the effects of plastic contamination in the Gulf of the Mexico, particularly during Mardi Gras. Instead of being thrown away, beads left on the street are blown into the storm drains by street cleaners.
During high school, her burgeoning interest in environmental sciences drew her to LSU's College of the Coast & Environment (CC&E). She preferred LSU CC&E to other programs in her home state of Georgia due to LSU's proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Ellis felt this would allow her the opportunity to perform field work that she would be unable to do at other universities.
What was the key to your success at CC&E?
Looking back on my time at CC&E, I owe a lot of my appreciation for the field and success to the support of my professors and Dean D'Elia. The most impressive thing about my professors is that they do a lot of research and are well-known in their respective fields. Dean D'Elia has made a lasting impression on my life. Talking to him is what inspired me to focus on doing public health. During times of personal struggle, the dean was a great support system. He encourages all students to stop by and talk to him because he always has time for his students.
Do you plan on continuing your education after CC&E?
I plan on pursuing a master's degree in public health focusing on environmental health and hope to be an environmental analyst for either the Environmental Protection Agency or the Center for Disease Control. I've already been accepted into numerous programs including LSU Health Sciences, Emory University, University of South Florida, and Florida State University. Although, I have not made a decision on which school to attend.
Any tips for potential or current CC&E students?
Get to know your professors, form friendships with your classmates, and get involved. Get to know your professors because they are willing to do what it takes to make sure that their students succeed. They have an open door policy and are always there to help. Talk to them if you have a problem. What I loved most about CC&E were the small classrooms, because I usually had multiple classes with students in the program and gained many friendships in this family-like environment. These friendships have proven to later help me with study sessions and clarifications on classwork.