LSU: National Impact
Students Recognized on the National Stage with Prestigious Awards
A number of LSU students achieved high honors this year by winning prestigious national awards. LSU’s 2010 national scholars include a Truman Scholar, Udall Scholar, Goldwater Scholar, Fulbright Scholar, Phi Kappa Phi Fellow and NSF Graduate Fellows, among others.
“We congratulate our 2010 scholars for not only showcasing their talents and abilities but also for once again showing the rest of the nation that our students are among the best and brightest in the country,” said LSU Chancellor Michael Martin. “We are committed to excellence in everything we do, and these students further prove that excellence is taking place right here on our campus.”
LSU’s 2010 national scholars reflect backgrounds and experiences as rich as the history of Louisiana itself. Whether researching Gulf Coast shellfish or inspiring inner-city youth to follow their dreams, the accomplishments of these students reach outside the borders of the state to impact the nation and beyond.
“The university is exceptionally proud of these students for being distinguished for their commitments to furthering their academics and being the best they can be,” said LSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Astrid Merget. “These impressive recognitions on a national stage honor the sterling scholastic achievements of these fine students and show the nation the academic excellence and competitiveness of LSU.”
The following is a sample of the national awards LSU students won this year:
“I am very excited and honored to receive the Harry S. Truman Scholarship,” he said. “The thing that I am most excited about is that they have recognized me as a ‘change agent.’ What I do in my community, I have been doing for many years, and I do it because I know that I am making a difference.”
Wade, who majors in African & African-American studies and sociology with a concentration in criminology, will graduate from LSU in December. He serves as a veteran representative and mentor for the organization No More Victims Inc., which aids children of incarcerated parents. Wade, whose own parents were incarcerated when he was growing up, hopes to use his personal and academic experiences to expand public awareness of the struggles of these children and further sociological understanding of the cycle that often leads these children to follow their parents into incarceration.
Wade, also a Ronald McNair Research Scholar, said that he is excited to be the first African-American student from LSU, as well as first student outside the LSU Honors College, to win the scholarship.
“This makes me happy because I know that it will send a message to all students that they can accomplish great things too with hard work and determination, but most importantly an enthusiasm for change,” Wade said. “The Truman is not so much about grades as it is about passion and determination for making a positive difference in your community.”
After graduation, Wade plans to pursue a Ph.D. in sociology and focus on social phenomenon that plague urban or inner city children and families.
The Truman Scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate study, along with priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients are required to work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of a foundation-funded graduate degree program as a condition of their receiving Truman funds.
“I was elated when I found out that I was an Udall Scholar,” Normand said. “It was a surreal and overwhelming moment because it acknowledged all of the efforts I have put into service, academics, leadership and research; but most importantly, it will open more doors for me to make a change in the environment, especially for Louisiana.”
Normand is a chemistry major who will graduate from LSU in May 2011. As an active participant in environmentally-focused public service, she is regularly involved in the annual Acorns of Hope bike ride across Louisiana, planting live oak saplings as she rides. She also created Louisiana Marsh University, a service trip that brought 30 LSU students to plant beach grass on Grand Isle.
After graduation, she hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in environmental science, concentrating on wetland science and policy, and then work for Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
“I have grown as a scholar, citizen and leader at LSU because of the support system and mentoring from the Honors College, LA-STEM Scholarship Program and faculty and staff,” Normand said. “As an LSU student, I have built a strong academic foundation, become a part of tight-knit community, learned from service and defined my future goals.”
The Udall Scholarship provides up to $5,000 for the student’s junior or senior year.
A 14-member independent review committee selected 80 students from 63 colleges and universities on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, health care or tribal public policy; leadership potential; and academic achievement. The 80 Udall Scholars were selected from a record 537 candidates nominated by 256 colleges and universities.
“We are very proud of all of our award recipients,” said Nancy Clark, dean of the LSU Honors College. “They competed on a national level and won. At the Honors College, we are committed to retaining the highest caliber of excellence, and I believe these students not only showcase how remarkable they are but also how remarkable this university is.”
Crosby, LSU’s 2010 Goldwater Scholar, is a biological engineering major who will graduate from LSU in May 2011. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a combined M.D./Ph.D. and conduct clinical research into genetic therapies for diseases.
“Over the long term, my involvement in research at LSU has been the most productive and fulfilling academic experience I’ve had,” said Crosby. “At another school, I may not have had that same opportunity.”
The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,111 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. Requirements for the scholarship include U.S. citizenship, being ranked in the top one-fourth of their class, institutional nomination and a planned career in science, math or engineering.
“Receiving the Fulbright was really a dream come true,” Gates said. “The application was due in September so after waiting for such a long time to find out, I was overwhelmed with excitement and relief; I didn’t get a decent night’s sleep for two weeks just thinking and being excited about the future!”
Gates, who will graduate in May with a degree in psychology with minors in French and biology, will begin working in France this fall at CNRS, or the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (National Center for Scientific Research), a large scientific research center in Toulouse where she will be studying creativity, personality and mental imagery in synesthetes, as well as attending lectures at Paul Sabatier University.
“LSU has prepared me for this Fulbright by providing a rich sense of Cajun culture and diversity that I will share with my community in France as the main focus of the Fulbright Fellowship,” she said. “I have also been blessed to have incredible professors that have given training and guidance during college, as well as helping me to prepare my Fulbright application.”
The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide. It was established in 1946 by the U.S. Congress to “enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”
The Fulbright Program has provided more than 294,000 participants, chosen for their leadership potential, with the opportunity to observe each others’ political, economic and cultural institutions, exchange ideas and embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world’s inhabitants. Since the establishment of the program, more than 47,000 students from the United States and 152,000 students from other countries have benefited from the Fulbright experience. The U.S. Student Program currently awards approximately 1,500 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.
“LSU taught me a lot about leadership and offered me a great foundation in academics,” Smith said.
Looking back on her time at LSU, she offers some advice to LSU’s future Tigers.
“Have fun and love what you do,” she said. “There are a million different opportunities on campus, definitely something for everyone. Just get involved and make your four-plus years at LSU fun.”
Since its creation in 1932, the fellowship program has become one of Phi Kappa Phi’s most visible and financially well-supported endeavors, allocating nearly $380,000 annually to deserving students for first-year graduate or professional study. The selection process for the Phi Kappa Phi Fellowships and awards of excellence is based on the applicants’ undergraduate academic performance; leadership and service on the campus and in the community; evidence of graduate potential; personal statement of educational perspective, purpose and objectives; and three academic references.
Every year, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi awards 57 fellowships of $5,000 each and three at $15,000 each to members entering the first year of graduate or professional study.
A number of students affiliated with LSU were recognized as National Science Foundation, or NSF, Graduate Research Fellows this year. These include:
- Jessica Brinson, a December 2009 LSU Honors College graduate in physics who plans to attend Ohio State University to pursue a Ph.D. in high energy experimental physics;
- Julie Doucet, an May 1994 anthropology graduate who is attending LSU for master’s and Ph.D. degrees;
- Robert Egnatchik, a May 2009 LSU Honors College graduate in biological engineering who is attending graduate school at Vanderbilt University;
- Jeffrey Kornuta, a May 2008 LSU Honors College graduate in mechanical engineering who is attending graduate school at Georgia Tech;
- Arrielle Opotowsky, a December 2009 LSU Honors College graduate in physics who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the materials science program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison;
- Alan Williams, a May 2007 biological sciences graduate who currently attends graduate school at Yale University; and
- Katrina Battle, who received her undergraduate degree from Jackson State University and is attending LSU for her post-graduate studies.
Doucet of New Roads began her LSU career in 1982 as an undergrad and has continued her relationship with LSU in a variety of ways as a non-traditional student and employee. With her NSF Fellowship, she will remain at LSU to further pursue her studies.
“The NSF fellowship is a dream come true,” said Doucet, who had received an NSF Fellowship honorable mention last year. “LSU has given me many tools that have prepared me for the future. LSU has a great deal to offer, not only are we a top research institute … but nowhere else can you find the degree of cutting edge research coupled with native cultural diversity as can be found at LSU.”
The NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in the United States and abroad. It is the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, and the program has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers.
Fellows share in the prestige and opportunities that become available when they are selected. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 along with a $10,500 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, a one-time $1,000 international travel allowance and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited United States or foreign institution of graduate education they choose.
LSU Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising
The LSU Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising, housed in Room 214 of the French House, assisted many of LSU’s national scholars throughout their application process.
The office was created to assist students in applying for scholarships and fellowships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Gates, Mitchell, Udall, Truman and Goldwater awards. The office is open to current students and recent graduates from all colleges at LSU as they apply for prestigious national and international fellowships.
The LSU Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising’s mission is to serve as a centralized resource for information on distinguished scholarships for LSU students; publicize scholarship opportunities to the LSU student community and recruit applicants for prestigious awards; provide assistance in the preparation of effective and competitive applications; and publicize the successful outcomes of such applications.
Students interested in applying for these and other scholarship opportunities or for more information, visit http://www.honors.lsu.edu/current-students/student-support/fellowship-advising or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ernie Ballard | Editor | Office of Communications & University Relations