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LSU Today Flagship Faculty
What was your previous position and where?Before beginning my faculty career at LSU in October 1996, I was a Ph.D. student in Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Ohio State University.
What brought you to LSU?A good job offer and an intense interest in leaving cold, gray winters.
What is your research interest?I have two areas of research interest, engineering education, specifically service-learning in engineering, and bioprocess engineering. In terms of engineering education, I am interested in the ways in which teaching engineering using community-based design impacts the retention of students and impacts the community. For bioprocess engineering, I am working with a team of faculty - Cristina Sabliov and Dorin Boldor from Biological & Agricultural Engineering, and Zhimin Xu from the Department of Food Science - to characterize the rice bran layer of new and existing rice varieties and to develop processes that make efficient use of rice bran, for example, by producing biodiesel.
What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?I hope to continue the partnership between LSU and the East Baton Rouge Parish Public School System in which biological engineering students and elementary school students collaborate to design playgrounds at the schools. Our goal is to build a kid-designed, safe, fun, accessible playground at every elementary school in the parish - 12 down, about 40 to go.
What do you enjoy most about LSU?The people. I especially enjoy working with my students and the faculty, staff and community partners affiliated with the Center for Community Engagement, Learning, and Leadership. Everyone’s positive, “can do” attitude and commitment to fairness, justice, and equality provide constant inspiration to me.
What are your major accomplishments?Developing a thick skin in terms of rejection - no happens a lot more than yes when grant writing and fundraising; learning the art of negotiation; and successfully avoiding service on committees that are in charge of planning and executing social events.