Meet the Spring 2023 LSU Distinguished Communicators

During May 2023 Commencement, 83 graduates across eight colleges will receive the LSU Distinguished Communicator Medal. This will be the largest class of Distinguished Communicator graduates to date. Recipients of this honor are outstanding writers and speakers, with a strong command of visual literacy and technological communication. They have earned high GPAs in their communication-intensive courses throughout their baccalaureate years, sought 1-1 mentorships with faculty and have built websites that display their communication competencies and professional talents, both in and beyond the classroom. LSU Distinguished Communicators also graduate with the LSU Communicator Certificate, launched in Fall 2018. 

To celebrate the accomplishments of these exceptional students, CxC will be hosting a medal ceremony honoring Distinguished Communicators, as well as celebrating them through a series of digital posts on social media and

This distinction is the first of its kind in the nation and is sponsored by LSU Communication across the Curriculum (CxC), a nationally-recognized program for its excellence in enhancing learning experiences and improving students’ communication skills across all disciplines. As of May 2023 Commencement, LSU has awarded 907 graduates with the Distinguished Communicator Medal.

Continue reading to learn more about these Spring 2023 LSU Distinguished Communicator graduates, written by undergraduate CxC studio team members Isabella Badeau, Molly Brewer, Morgan Claybrooks, and Stephanie Hailes.

The following students are this spring’s recipients:

College of Art & Design

Kaitlyn BorelKaitlyn Borel, Architecture
Hometown: Gretna, La.
Faculty Advisor: Kris Palagi

Kaitlyn’s passion for design has led her to embrace not only architecture, but also furniture restoration, carpentry, and gardening. In the spirit of DIY, she says “If I see something…that I love, I believe that I can make it, and most of the time I can.” She wants to remind future Distinguished Communicators that the people they look up to were once beginners themselves, and that it’s impossible to succeed if you’re embarrassed to be seen trying something.  After graduation, she will join Domain Architecture in Baton Rouge. 

Vicky ChenVicky Chen, Studio Art (Graphic Design)
Hometown: Metairie, La.
Faculty Advisor: Luisa Restrepo Perez

While Vicky has gathered an impressive number of awards (ranked #1 within the LSU Graphic Design Class of 2023, the Alfred C. Glassell, Jr. Distinguished Scholarship for the Arts, Torre Scholarship in Art and the Mattye F. McGivney Memorial Scholarship), they are most proud of their achievement in receiving Best in Show from the ADDYs by the American Advertising Federation of Baton Rouge. Vicky worked in LSU’s Graphic Design Student Office, and valued the hands-on graphic design experience it brought them. They also were a part of the Graphic Design Student Association, beginning as a Junior Representative and finishing as Vice President, and a student member of the American Advertising Federation of Baton Rouge. After graduation they will be attending Parsons School of Design for graduate school in New York City, where they will have a lot of opportunities to indulge in their hobby of being a foodie who wants to try the latest restaurants. 

Victoria CheungVictoria Cheung, Architecture*
Hometown: New Orleans, La.
Faculty Advisor: Fabio Capra-Ribeiro

Victoria claims their superpower is the ability to sleep through anything, but nothing about their undergraduate tenure suggests they were anything but alert and ready for a challenge. Outside of the classroom, Victoria spends time playing piano, crocheting, painting and leading photo shoots. Of all the awards and recognitions they have received, Victoria values the Edward and Yvonne Scholarship the most as it has allowed financial flexibility during their last year at LSU. They also enjoyed interning at Post Architects because of its exposure to the professional setting in building and construction. After commencement, she will be moving to Houston, Texas to work for an architecture firm.

Alixandria CinquigrannoAlixandria Cinquigranno, Architecture
Minors: Architectural History, Interior Design
Hometown: Slidell, La.
Faculty Advisor: Tara Street

Alixandria is the modern day Sherlock Holmes. Her secret talent is her ability to find out almost anything via an extensive Google search, leaving, as she says, “no stone unturned” until she can confirm the answer is corroborated and relevant. Having perfected the art of the effective query across multiple subject areas also contributed to her successfully double minoring in architectural history and interior design, as well as maintaining her status on the Dean’s or President’s list every single semester she was an undergraduate, which also helped her consistently earn scholarships to support her education. Alexandria’s time at LSU has expanded disciplinary interests, including a stint with Global Medical Brigades, during which she volunteered in Honduras providing medical care to members of a rural community. She continued to take a global approach to research, performing site analysis on San Juan, Puerto Rico, studying abroad for a semester in Paris, and researching the Tupi Kawahiva tribe located in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Alixandria was selected to be a panelist in Venice Biennale and presented her research on the Urban Fabric of Louisiana. After graduation, she’s once again globetrotting for a well-earned break, and then will work for a firm in New Orleans to practice both architecture and interior design. 

Josh CrawfordJoshua (Josh) Crawford, Landscape Architecture
Hometown: Metairie, La.
Faculty Advisor: Haley Blakeman

Of all the awards Josh has earned at LSU, he values Tiger Twelve the most as it “encompasses not only academia or one component of my lived experiences, but the holistic view from leadership to service and inclusivity.” He’s especially proud of the impact he has made at LSU in service to one of the most distinguished landscape architecture programs in the country, from  teaching first-year courses to choosing faculty members who will help shape the program’s future. Outside of his commitment to his field, he enjoys spending time outdoors running, kayaking, and hiking, and dissecting the format, music, and drama of quasi-documentaries. He also enjoys traveling to unique landscapes, including his favorite internship with Design Workshop in Aspen, Colorado, which gave him a chance to experience working in an environment other than his native Louisiana. He’ll have even more time to explore when he returns to Aspen after graduation to continue with the firm full-time, and eventually plans to pursue graduate school for urban planning and working in academia.

Caitlin DavisCaitlin Davis, Studio Art (Graphic Design)
Minor: Art History
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Luisa Restrepo Perez

Caitlin’s love of color and connection transcends her coursework, internships, and co-curriculars. Her parting advice to LSU students is “take that extra step to connect with others in your community. Join that club, take that extra class, or even run for student government. I believe all of these things can benefit a person and help them be better communicators.” In addition to her graphic design work in class and internships, Caitlin is also a practicing artist. Her work was accepted into the Real-Life Juried Art Exhibition as well as earned her photography a place in the LSU Gallery 229 project. Via her service as Event Director and Public Relations Director for her sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, Caitlin has put her design and communication skills to use designing the organization’s external events and executing its social media accounts. After graduation, Caitlin heads into her career as a graphic designer. 

Marie FrenchMarie French, Architecture
Minors: Architectural History, Communication Studies
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Sergio Padilla

Marie has a passion for travel, starting first on a trip to New York, then setting halfway around the world to community service in Romania. During a semester-long trip in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Marie and her team created a boardwalk that would travel around the island while allowing artists to create digital advertisements among the local flora and fauna. In France, she sketched an interactive wall for Park Works where both soccer players and onlookers can view the arena. Locally, she draws inspiration from New Orleans’ music, texture, patterns and vibrancy, interning at M2Studio, There, she liaised with clients and honed her modeling, drafting and editing skills. Next, she plans to work as a draftsman and earn her architectural license.  When asked what she’d like to share with others about her graduation, she offered “I would like to thank the Lord, my professors, my family and my husband for the support they offered as I was completing my schooling.”  

Jackson HartleyJackson Hartley, Landscape Architecture
Hometown: Shreveport, La.
Faculty Advisor: Haley Blakeman

Jackson’s love of outdoor activities is clear through their love of fishing, hunting and hiking as well as their major in Landscape Architecture. Jackson is proud of having learned public speaking and how to encourage others to be better speakers. They would like to tell all future Distinguished Communicators “never give up.” They loved their internship at RVI in Austin, Texas, and will be returning to Texas after graduation to work in landscape architecture at MESA Design Group in Dallas. 

Clara JimenezClara Jimenez, Architecture*
Minors: Architectural History, Environmental Sciences
Hometown: El Tigre, Venezuela
Faculty Advisor: Sergio Padilla

A two-time LSU Discover research grant winner, international design competition winner, and a multiple time School of Architecture design award winner, Clara Jiminez has focused their studies on the “viability of native vegetation and locally sourced substrate mix in green roof modules under south Louisiana’s subtropical climate.” Clara developed this work in their Honors thesis project, which they presented at Mobile Bays and Bayous Competition in January 2023 and also at the LSU Discover Day. Clara enjoys karate, painting, jewelry making, and playing the kalimba. Clara says, “Being a good communicator is a learning process that never ends, and you will be always improving your skills.” Clara’s not taking any breaks after graduation, heading straight into the LSU Coastal Ecosystem Design Internship program this summer, and commencing graduate studies in Landscape Architecture this fall.

Alexis LafleurAlexis Lafleur, Architecture
Minor: Architectural History
Hometown: Walker, La.
Faculty Advisor: Irene Brisson

Though she is the first in her family to graduate with an accredited degree, Alexis already has a clear motivation for her future as an architect. “Architecture is meant to serve people, and I would like to spend my career doing just that.” Her hidden superpower is the ability to mentally construct and connect ideas in 3D models, and will benefit her well in that quest for people-first design. She is most proud of the skills gained through the Distinguished Communicator program, saying that “this experience will help me be a great collaborative designer, not only clearly communicating to clients but professional peers as well, increasing the potential of amazing designs.” After graduation, she plans to work at a local firm and find time to travel and explore different cultures, and ultimately wants to use her skills to reinvest in Louisiana.

Stephen LemoineStephen Lemoine, Landscape Architecture
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Haley Blakeman

Stephen’s goal as a future landscape architect is to create healthy landscapes for people to enjoy, and to leave the world a better place. He is proud to have developed the ability to communicate with many different types of people in multiple ways, and wants to remind future communicators that communication skills are a lifelong process as well as an asset. Stephen enjoys hunting, fishing, and travel, and values his internship in Georgia last spring because it let him experience life in another state. After graduation, he will travel again to Avon, Colorado, where he will begin his career as a landscape architect and designer.

Emma LittleEmma Little, Studio Art (Graphic Design)*
Hometown: New Orleans, La.
Faculty Advisor: Courtney Barr

Artistic production is at the heart of everything Emma does, from performing as Disney princesses for children’s birthday parties to making “very creative, but very pointless” PowerPoint presentations. She is most proud of the hard-earned distinction of graduating with college honors, while getting the Graphic Design Student Association back on its feet post-COVID (and serving as president), serving in leadership roles in her sorority Alpha Delta Pi, and working in the Graphic Design Student Office. After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate degree at LSU in communication studies to help further strengthen her skills working with clients as a full-time graphic designer.

Zed LobosZed Lobos, Studio Art (Digital Art)
Minor: Psychology
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Allison Young

What does red sound like? Zed could probably tell you. Their Synesthesia allows them to hear color and movement with sound, and they use this to create storylines in vivid detail. Their work “Curved Line Triptic/Swirly Noir,” was published in Volume 62 of the Delta Journal. Zed enjoys the dark comedy genre of storytelling, so many of their works feature psychological elements and horror themes with a sprinkle of comedy. Recently, they’ve been working on their story “Grim and Gran Reaper.” which features an unlikely friendship between the Grim Reaper and a sweet old lady who’s mistaken him for her “goth” grandson. Spoiler alert: she lives. Over the past year in particular, Zed has been particularly proud of expanding their own story to form close connections and friendships, in part because of their time working in the Digital Art and Design Association, the Ceramic Arts Student Association, and in the CxC communication studios. After graduation, Zed plans to expand their worldbuilding abilities, entertainment experience and art therapy knowledge, heading to New Mexico for inspiration.

Grayson LoudonGrayson Loudon, Architecture
Hometown: New Orleans, La.
Faculty Advisor: Kristen Mauch

Grayson says that the person he was five years ago never thought he would be able to talk in front of people. Now, he effortlessly shares his design work in public critiques and leads communication skills workshops for large groups as well as training sessions for his fellow CxC team members, for which he won Tutor of the Year for the South Central Writing Center Association. Grayson’s advice for LSU students is to take the time “to listen to others and to force yourself into some of those uncomfortable situations, such as public speaking, so that you can start to become comfortable with it and make it your own.” Via Grayson’s world travels and internships, they leaned into the practice of watching and hearing people from a broad range of disciplines and backgrounds. Along these lines, Grayson is most proud of his choice to adapt his major to the career he wants, which has expanded his skillset and points of reference to include landscape design, science and engineering, history and culture. After graduation, Grayson heads to CARBO Landscape Architecture, while also planning for the next adventure in rock climbing, photography and cooking.

Jaycie McDonaldJaycie Macdonald, Architecture
Hometown: New Orleans, La.
Faculty Advisor: Kristen Mauch

Jaycie is proud to conclude her undergraduate journey after “taking the scenic route,” which allowed her to fully explore college as a “resource, social space, and networking hub” along the way. While at LSU, she was able to build long-lasting connections through joining the LSU Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team in 2017, becoming captain in 2020. Effective leadership, team building, and a passion for developing women to succeed led to Jaycie being selected by the team to serve as head coach in her final year at LSU. “There is no string of words to perfectly describe what this team and its members mean to me,” she says. Her mentors see that same leadership potential, encouraging her to be her own boss, but she’s eager to join a new team as she pursues her passion for architecture. She’s had a good taste for effective redevelopment through her internship with Kimble Properties, seeing the immediate impact of including the voices of residents in community revitalization efforts. “Anthony Kimble and his team are truly change makers,” she says, “and I am beyond proud to be a part of their work.” Jaycie is still exploring her post-grad options, but is excited to see how other countries are addressing global issues through the built environment.

Ivy McClureIvy McClure, Architecture*
Minor: Architectural History
Hometown: Keithville, La.
Faculty Advisor: Kristen Mauch

A first-generation college student, Ivy has put in a ton of hard work in and out of the classroom to get here today—and to graduate with honors on top of that. Joining Student Government Senate in their sophomore year ignited a passion for policymaking, serving as chair and vice chair for the Committee on Campus Affairs and Sustainability, and vice chair for the Sexual Violence Prevention Temporary Committee. Through explorations of how policy impacts the build environment, Ivy was able to gain critical skills in communicating across different perspectives and building consensus—an invaluable asset for any urban designer. Their honors thesis further explored the intersection of design and policy with a special focus on labor rights. In their spare time, Ivy is a ceramicist and can be found reading, sleeping or spilling tea with their friends. For now, they will be staying in Baton Rouge after graduation to work with a local architecture firm.

Kensy MenocalKensy Menocal, Architecture
Minor: Architectural History
Hometown: Walker, La.
Faculty Advisor: Kristen Mauch

Kensy is the first woman in her family to graduate from university, and is especially proud to be an LSU Distinguished Communicator because she taught herself English as a teenager when she was a recent arrival from Honduras. An aspiring architect since the age of 12, Kensy’s goal is “to design inhabitable architecture which enhances human experience” and “to create spaces that ignites passion for living.” She enjoys roller skating and spin classes, and has worked as an LSU School of Architecture Summer Camp Counselor since 2021. After graduation Kensy will be continuing her passion for architecture while working at Tipton Associates in Baton Rouge.

Adam MillerAdam Miller, Landscape Architecture
Minor: Horticulture
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Kevin Benham

Adam wants to use his skills to make a positive impact on the world, and has already been recognized for embarking down that path. He is most proud of earning the Distinguished Communicator medal, knowing that he will be a better team member, community advocate, and landscape architect because of the skills he developed at LSU. In his spare time, he loves to cook, be active, and express his creativity through painting and sketching. As an undergrad, he had the opportunity to apply those skills in a work environment through a London-based internship with Marcus Barnett Studio, allowing him to gain experience while exploring a new culture. He hopes to return to the city after graduation to continue that exploration and reconnect with the firm. 

Shellie MillironShellie Milliron, Studio Art (Graphic Design)
Minor: Art History
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Lynne Baggett

Shellie has a passion for all forms of art. She has been singing since she was in 5th grade, today alternating between her church and as a Disney princess for children’s birthdays, studied art history in Florence, Italy, and is a nature photographer. An avid traveler, she enjoys immersing herself in the culture of a new place—something she’s had the opportunity to practice while living in seven different cities over the course of her childhood. Here at LSU, she was the senior representative for Graphic Design Student Association and played a heavy role in the production and logistics of the 2023 Graphic Design Senior Exhibition. Consistently working throughout her college career, Shellie cites her internship with Brew Agency as her most enjoyable opportunity to learn in her field. After graduation, she plans to continue working in the graphic design world with the intention of eventually pursuing a graduate degree in Mass Communication with a Concentration in Strategic Communication.

Victoria PorrettoVictoria Porretto, Interior Design
Hometown: New Orleans, La.
Faculty Advisor: Tracy Burns

Victoria started at LSU planning to major in Fashion and Merchandising, but quickly fell in love with the Interior Design program and opted to pursue that instead. She still has a love of fashion, and is determined to merge the two. “As a firm believer that what I wear can correspond to what I design in an interior space,” she says, “I am eager to find ways in which I can continue to learn and grow within these two aspects of design.” She cites the Distinguished Communicator program for helping her develop her leadership skills, which she put into practice as vice president of the Interior Design Student Organization, and gave her the nudge to get more involved with the National Society of Leadership and Success. After graduation, Victoria will pursue a master’s in luxury and brand management.

Collin RoanCollin Roan, Landscape Architecture
Hometown: Lake Charles, La.
Faculty Advisor: Kathleen Bogaski

From working as a landscape maintenance foreman to interning with regional firms, Collin has a range of experience to bring to his landscape architecture career. He most enjoyed his internship with Daly Sublette Landscape Architects in New Orleans where he had the opportunity to put his skills into practice. Collin proudly finished in first place in LSU’s Design Week twice and earned Dean’s List honors five years in a row. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the piano, hanging out with friends, playing sports, and going to concerts. 

Claire SamahaClaire Samaha, Landscape Architecture
Minor: Horticulture
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Kevin Benham

You could say that plants are Claire’s strong suit. Not only does she practice landscape architecture, she gardens in her free time. As a communicator, Claire knows how to stand out amid thousands of other designers. “Don’t strive for perfection; strive to be uniquely yourself,” she says. Having led several teams through successful projects, she also knows how to share that spotlight, noting that being an effective communicator “means you know how to bring the best communication not only from yourself, but from the whole team.”  One of Claire’s favorite experiences included interning in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at Cadence Landscape Architects, where commitment to sustainability led the charge in all her work. She will be joining the Newton Landscape Group team as a landscape designer in Baton Rouge after commencement. 

Ilai WrightIlai Wright, Studio Art (Graphic Design)*
Hometown: Houma, La.
Faculty Advisor: Courtney Barr

Ilai’s love for art was born as a child recreating the Sunday comics. Today she’s creating designs for others, working as a designer in the Graphic Design Student Office and LSU Athletics Creative Services. That confidence in her art hasn’t always extended to public speaking, but now she has completely broken out of her comfort zone. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, she has been recognized for having the highest GPA in the region for her sorority. She has also been on the President’s list for seven out of eight of her semesters here at LSU and will be graduating with only one B on her transcript. In her free time, she enjoys embroidery and designing grad caps. After graduation, she plans to take a gap year to work and travel before pursuing a graduate degree in Art Therapy.

College of Coast & Environment

Maddie FryerMadeline (Maddie) Fryer, Coastal Environmental Science*
Hometown: New Orleans, La.
Faculty Advisor: Matthew Hiatt

Maddie is passionate about pollution. Her honors thesis, one of her most valued achievements, focuses on using drones to study anthropogenic debris (also known as litter) in urban watersheds. Beyond developing and increasing her confidence in her research, it helped her become a stronger critical thinker, communicator, and writer. It also gave her the opportunity to begin her goal of earning her pilot’s license before age 26 by obtaining her FAA part 107 commercial drone license. One of her favorite internships was at the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite, and Rodent Control Board working with the mosquito division. It allowed her to see her own research with a fresh perspective, recognizing litter as an additional public health concern. When she has down time, she spends it with her dog and likes to knit. Following graduation, Maddie will shift her research from water to land, earning her Ph.D. in soil science from the University of Manitoba and focusing on nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas) emissions from agriculture.

Kameelah HollisKameelah Hollis, Coastal Environmental Science
Minor: Biological Sciences
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
Faculty Advisor: Vincent Wilson

Service to the community was instilled in Kameelah from a young age, a quality that she is able to demonstrate through volunteer work and her public health research. She has a passion for finding solutions to a wide range of issues from food insecurity to health disparities, and has set up service events such as blood drives and phone donations for medical professionals. Her next project will be facilitating a donation event with the Coalition of Black Women in STEM for Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital. She dove into research early into her LSU career, and strives to serve as a mentor on campus for students like herself. One of the opportunities she most enjoyed while at LSU was a research experience internship at the University of Tennessee through the National Science Foundation. “​​I felt as though I was able to show what students at LSU have to offer,” she says. In her spare time, Kameelah believes in the value of taking time to practice mindfulness and reset, and achieves this through pilates, hiking and paddleboarding. She was accepted to three of the four top public health schools in the country, making the decision to attend Columbia University in the Fall to pursue her Master’s of Public Health. 

Olivia HurleyOlivia Hurley, Coastal Environmental Science*
Hometown: Sterlington, La.
Faculty Advisor: Matthew Hiatt

Olivia is not only a distinguished communicator but also a Distinguished Researcher medalist who has worked for several years in the Wetland Plant Ecology Lab at LSU and presented her research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She is also a talented multi-instrumentalist who plays a variety of bluegrass instruments, including guitar and banjo. After graduation, she will be returning to LSU as a graduate student in the Oceanography and Coastal Sciences master’s program. Olivia would especially like to thank her mom, who traveled to be at all her ceremonies this week, and to tell her family how grateful she is for their support and encouragement.

Aine O'NuanainAine O'Nuanain, Coastal Environmental Science*
Hometown: Bossier City, La.
Faculty Advisor: Kevin Smiley

“I highly value receiving the Tiger 12 award because it honors students who contributed positively to the life of the campus, surrounding community, and/or society. I am thankful for the recognition.” Aine is heavily involved on campus as the Vice President of the LSU Rowing Team. She says that her time there taught her new ways of communicating with different types of people and strengthened leadership skills. She believes that her time on the team as well as her academic and professional career made her passionate about sustainable development, water conservation, and waste management. Through her devotion to this career this honors student has worked with Cheniere Energy as an Environmental Compliance Intern and received a Rotary Global Grant Scholarship which will fund her going to graduate school. But before she leaves, she'll be starting a Rotaract org between LSU and Southern as she sees it an important bridge for students across the communities. In the fall Aine will be at Utrecht University in the Netherlands for her Master's in Sustainable Development.

E.J. Ourso College of Business

Ricky SchroberRicky Schober, Marketing
Minor: Entrepreneurship
Hometown: St. Francisville, La.
Faculty Advisor: Greg Accardo

“Know your audience, and listen before you speak.” Ricky has won multiple trophies with the sales team due to his expert marketing skills. With his indomitable nature, he was able to become a licensed real estate agent and now serves as an advisor with Stirling Properties real estate team here in Baton Rouge. Now, he assists people in investing in real estate, finding tenants, finding spaces to lease, and more. After graduation, he will enter the LSU MBA program while working with Stirling as a commercial real estate broker. 

College of Engineering 

Mohammed AlgalbanMohammed Algalban, Electrical Engineering
Minor: Business Administration
Hometown: Lafayette, La.
Faculty Advisor: Jian Xu

When Mohamed wasn’t not leading future engineers via the Society for Peer Mentors, flexing his multilingual skills, or refining his multimodal skills in classes and internships, you could find him riding on LSU’s Equestrian team and diving into volunteer work and education as part of it. He is most proud of his participation in the Proctor and Gamble internship, which is where his engineering experience and communication skills were refined in real time with a variety of different stakeholders. In fact, after graduation Mohamed heads to a full-time position at P&G in Alexandria. In his personal time, Mohammed enjoys playing soccer, and his superpower is singing…but only when no one else is around. 

Julie ArmandJulie Armand, Biological Engineering
Hometown: Leesburg, Va.
Faculty Advisor: Todd Monroe

In April 2023 Julie was awarded 1st Place overall for oral presentations in STEM fields at LSU’s annual Discover Day undergraduate research conference. During her time at LSU, Julie worked in Dr. Todd Monroe’s lab focusing on 3D printed and fabricated devices for cell quality analysis to preserve genetic resources of endangered species. For Louisiana Sea Grant, she was awarded an undergraduate research grant while serving as a Community Engaged Intern. Julie’s interest in improving the world also extends to supporting her fellow people, and via her work on the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Inclusivity Committee she contributed to programmatic expansion of senior design projects in engineering capstone courses to facilitate increased inclusivity in the classroom. When Julie’s not dedicating time and focus to improving comprehensive quality of collective life, you can find her rollerblading or applying her DIY skills to whatever project has come up for the day. After graduating, she heads to Texas for full time work. 

India AtkinsonIndia Atkinson, Chemical Engineering
Minor: Chemistry
Hometown: New Orleans, La.
Faculty Advisor: Mike Benton

In addition to completing her coursework for a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Chemistry during her time at LSU, India participated in the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Coalition of Black Women in Engineering. Thanks to her contributions to CWBE, including serving as their Communications Chair, she was recognized as the “most outstanding senior” in the LSU chapter. She also turned her hand to entrepreneurship, turning her love of drawing and crafting into a custom crafts business, India’s Crafts and Creations. Before attending LSU, India earned her associate’s degree in industrial technology. After graduation, she will be joining the ALLEX Rotational program at Air Liquide, where she previously completed a summer internship. 

Ben BishopBenjamin (Ben) Bishop, Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Digital Media Arts & Engineering
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Hunter Territo

When his peers were dropping out of the Mechanical Engineering program, Ben is proud to say he stuck with it. He opted to nurture his creative side along the way with a minor in Digital Media Arts & Engineering, a dichotomy mimicked in his work as a studio team member and mentor in both the CxC Studio in Art & Design and the Chevron Center for Engineering Education, and was nominated for Student Employee of the Year. Ben cites that unique combination of engineering, creativity and communication in giving him the tools to effectively serve the people who would benefit from his work. In his spare time, he can be found riding his folding bike, listening to audio books, and insatiably researching his interests, which are currently urban transportation, digital minimalism, and rewilding. As for Ben’s next move, it won’t involve the Oil and Gas or Meat and Seafood industries “for ethical reasons” but it will involve finding work in Atlanta, Georgia, “so that I can be with my partner and older brother (those are separate people).”

Jill BohnetJill Bohnet, Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Business Administration
Hometown: The Woodlands, Texas
Faculty Advisor: Fred Thurber

Jill has won the LSU Discover Research grant not once, but twice, for her work in energy and environment. As part of her research, Jill engineered a new drilling mud that reduces the amount of waste from land farming. Jill is not only the Tiger Athletic Foundation Scholar of the year, but also an LSU Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year Nominee. She has also been recognized for having the highest GPA in the LSU Athletics department. Throughout these accomplishments, she embodied the collaborative approaches required of an effective team player, serving as President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the SEC Leadership Council and SEC Community Service Team. These activities were integral to Jill’s values, and she notes “It is incredibly important to me to give back to the community as much as I get from them.” After graduation, Jill heads to Ovintiv, an upstream oil and gas company based in Denver, CO. 

Caroline CochranCaroline Cochran, Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Studies
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Katherine Pettrey

Caroline has packed a number of interests into her double major, and she’s especially proud of combining her three minors in entrepreneurship, business administration, and robotics into her second major in Interdisciplinary Studies.  Her work with the Society of Peer Mentors gave her space to practice tailoring the communication skills she developed through the Distinguished Communicator program for a variety of needs and audiences. Caroline served as the president of the Society of Peer Mentors, and received the Warren N. Waggenspack, Jr. Leadership Legacy Award in recognition of her service to the organization. She will be moving to Kansas City, Missouri, to work with Burns & McDonnell’s energy department as an assistant instrumentation and controls engineer, working in all different types of power plants and solar fields.

Lupe CovarrubiasGuadalupe (Lupe) Covarrubias, Biological Engineering
Minor: Robotics Engineering
Hometown: Bakersfield, Calif.
Faculty Advisor: Nick Totaro

Lupe has mastered the art of time management, successfully navigating three jobs while being a full time college student. In addition to her degree, Lupe completed a minor in robotics, and served on the Bengel Bots leadership board. One of Lupe’s favorite roles was serving in the LSU Career Center, where she was able to offer advice to fellow students regarding communication skills, networking, and professional development. In her time outside of work and school, Lupe enjoys upcycling clothes with her sewing machine and is also a former kickboxer. After graduation, Lupe will move to North Dakota, where she will pursue a career in 3D modeling and 3D printing.

Holden DavidHolden David, Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Corina Barbalata

Holden started college with a passion for mechanical engineering and never looked back. They have served as a member of the TigerRacing team in several roles, including being elected the club’s captain and team lead in their senior year, which they hold as their highest honor. In the club’s 2022 season, the TigerRacing team placed 7th out of 100 teams at competition, the highest placement it has ever received. Holden will be starting their career at Daniels Manufacturing Corporation in Orlando Florida, where they’re excited to enjoy their scuba diving hobby during their time off. 

Miller DickersonMiller Dickerson, Biological Engineering
Hometown: Hot Springs, Ark.
Faculty Advisor: Adam Melvin

If you’re ever at a networking event, find Miller and tap into her superpower. “I could talk to a brick wall,” she says, “and I am not afraid to either.” That confidence gave her the push to pursue multiple leadership roles while at LSU, including Tau Beta Pi chapter president and the co-lead for the Victoria's Secret PINK campus team, a role where she was one of five women across the nation recognized as inspiring. Outside the classroom, she developed a love for the science of beauty as a research and innovation intern with L’Oreal. “From being a pre-med biological engineering student to now heading to graduate school, I really could not have predicted this, but everything works out in the end,” Miller shares. Following graduation, she’ll be working on her food blog and social media side hustles while getting ready to attend Tulane University to pursue a Ph.D. in Bioinnovation.

Zoe ElamZoe Elam, Biological Engineering
Minor: Digital Media Arts & Engineering
Hometown: Metairie, La.
Faculty Advisor: Nick Totaro

Ever met an engineer with a bartending license? How about a bartending engineer who also has a twin sister, and can speed-read? Zoe is full of surprises. Zoe’s created video games with hand-drawn graphics, designed an animal-themed playground for Burgundy Hedgehogs, and even gave a presentation on Engineering ethics and internships. A large part of Zoe’s student life has been community service and mentoring others. As an Engaged Citizen Program participant, they completed over 90 community service hours in organizations like Volunteers in Public Schools, Geaux Big LSU Day of Service and the Bissonet Swim Team. Zoe’s passion for their work via the Society for Peer Mentors led to them being elected the first biological engineering major to serve as president of the multidisciplinary organization. After graduation, Zoe will work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans.

Parker HannanParker Hannan, Biological Engineering
Hometown: Mandeville, La.
Faculty Advisor: Nick Totaro

“I find that I am at my best both academically and emotionally when I am placed in stressful situations,” Parker says. That skill of working best under pressure has certainly been evident during his time at LSU, juggling responsibilities of a pre-med student while pursuing the Distinguished Communicator and Distinguished Undergraduate Researcher programs. Since his sophomore year, Parker immersed himself in leadership roles with the Biological Engineering Student Organization, including President, and as an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Yongchan Kwon’s lab where he and fellow Distinguished Communicator grad Chloe Heitmeier were awarded an LSU Discover grant to continue their research. Working as a medical scribe was the experience that provided valuable insight into what his future will entail. “It was here that I began to fully understand my love for medicine and the pressure that I will soon be a part of,” he says. After graduation, he’ll take a gap year where he plans to spend time with family, visit a few National Parks, and develop some healthy habits before applying to LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans for med school.

Chloe HeitmeierChloe Heitmeier, Biological Engineering*
Minor: Computer Science
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Faculty Advisor: Nick Totaro

Boring things do not exist to Chloe. They can turn any uninteresting topic into something fun and entertaining to experience. Throughout their degree, Chloe split time between serving as an officer in the LSU Biological Engineering Student Organization, finishing college Honors and volunteering at the Companion Animal Alliance. When they aren’t studying, you can find Chloe painting, rock climbing, or playing video games. Chloe says, “communication is all about confidence. When you’re confident about what you know and your material, people will view you as a skilled presenter.” Chloe will continue their research as a PHD student at MIT this fall, majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering studying plant genomics and directed evolution. 

Aubry HymelAubry Hymel, Chemical Engineering*
Minor: German
Hometown: Covington, La.
Faculty Advisor: Bhuvnesh Bharti

Aubry’s research has taken her to Germany and back. She participated in the DAAD German Academic Exchange RISE program where she conducted research at the Technical University of Berlin. There she developed her independent research skills, practiced German, and dove into the art of global encounters. She says, “I used to think of researchers being very solitary, but in my experience, I had to work with many different kinds of people, which required effort in effective communication.” Aubry enjoys reading classic literature and fantasy, drawing, and painting. She is very proud to be a Distinguished Researcher, Honors College Graduate, and a completed German minor. She is pursuing her PHD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.

Lauren HynsonLauren Hynson, Biological Engineering*
Minor: Robotics Engineering
Hometown: Pineville, La.
Faculty Advisor: Marybeth Lima

Some may not immediately see a connection between martial arts and biological engineering but as a second-degree black belt in shorin-ryu style karate, Lauren does. “I believe that my time on the mat learning pressure points and anatomical weak spots sparked my fascination with biological engineering and human-centered design,” she says. While at LSU, she explored multiple facets of human-centered design, including building a game to help fourth graders better understand fractions, developing a rainwater management system, and one of her personal favorites, serving as the project lead for Davis Park Playground, a partnership between LSU Community Playground Project and Winnsboro Economic Development Committee that led to a $250,000 grant for the build. Her work with the Playground Project led to Lauren co-authoring a paper published in the International Journal for Service-Learning in Engineering detailing the development of a holistic assessment that included the community’s perspective. Lauren is humble about her commitment to service and community engagement, so much so that she was secretly nominated and awarded with her most valued award to-date: CCELL’s Happy Award. Following graduation, she will be working as a solar farm engineer, inevitably making a larger impact than she anticipates.

Sam JonesSamuel (Sam) Jones, Computer Science
Minors: Mathematics, Robotics Engineering
Hometown: Mandeville, La.
Faculty Advisor: Andrew Webb

Sam’s passion for computer and robotics design has placed them in leadership positions both inside and outside the classroom. They have served as team leaders for several semester-long class projects, including as lead website developer, animation developer, and weapon system developer for their Video Game Design course. Sam has also served since 2019 as a mentor for the Denham Venom, a FIRST Robotics Competition team for teens, and has led them to victory, winning the Autonomous Award at the Tallahassee Regional. Their passion knows no earthly bounds either–Sam worked as a software engineering intern at NASA’s SSC Technology Transfer in Summer 2021. After graduation, Sam plans to move to Seattle to work in computer science.

Andrew LarpenterAndrew Larpenter, Mechanical Engineering*
Hometown: Killian, La.
Faculty Advisor: Karim El Kholy

Andrew came to LSU as a first generation college student, and graduates this week as a member of LSU’s Tiger Twelve 2023 cohort, recognizing the top-twelve graduating students who’ve made a positive impact on LSU campus life and the surrounding community. Andrew made a name for himself as the founder and president of the Maker Club, which provides members with hands-on learning experiences to build skills for engineering majors and help them explore areas in their field. Under Andrew’s leadership, the Maker Club was nominated for the Live Purple Love Gold Award. He also graduates as a National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) Scholar and Ambassador, Honors College Advocate, and he is graduating with honors, Summa Cum Laude, all while doing mechanical engineering. Next, Andrew takes his talents to ExxonMobil as a machinery engineer.

Madeline LemoineMadeline Lemoine, Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Corina Barbalata

Madeline’s motto is to ask "why not" instead of "why." Whether it’s participating in circus summer camp, honing cooking skills, teaching swim lessons, checking off national parks from their bucket list or diving into the oft-dreaded group project, Madeline embraces the challenge, reminding others that without the risk, there could be no reward. This is also Madeline’s approach to cultivating communication skills in and beyond the classroom, taking leadership roles in their sorority Delta Zeta, serving in the Society of Peer Mentors, and the Society of Women Engineers. After commencement, Madeline will be moving to Port Arthur, Texas, to begin their career as a Reliability Engineer at Valero.

Mallory MatthewsMallory Matthews, Biological Engineering
Hometown: Hammond, La.
Faculty Advisor: Nick Totaro

Mallory has a list of karaoke songs ready to go at any moment and can take a nap anywhere. While neither of those skills directly relate to her future career, it shows that she takes fun seriously. She juggled multiple roles at Tumbles South Baton Rouge, from STEAM instructor to Ninja Warrior and Gymnastics Coach and most importantly a friendly face for the children and families who visit. She has a passion for helping others grow and improve, which will come in handy as she works toward a career in Orthotics and Prosthetics with a focus on patient advocacy. After graduation, she will be pursuing a master’s in the field after a year of technician work in an Orthotics and Prosthetics lab. She’s also planning to take some time to travel, hike and camp, and hopefully nap in some safe places along the way. 

Connor McCarthyConnor McCarthy, Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Nuclear Power Engineering
Hometown: Saint Amant, La.
Faculty Advisor: Shyam Menon

Connor is the epitome of a risk taker. During peak pandemic months involving online-only learning, he made the choice to leave school and pursue internships with Oil and Gas Upstream, Oil and Gas Downstream. He found his home in the engineering world through nuclear engineering; After 18 months in the field, he returned to LSU to complete his degree without skipping a beat. Connor says, “I think you should not shy away from risks, jump into them. There are very few doors in life that close behind you and lock forever. Whenever you think about taking a risk, ask yourself: "Is this decision reversible?" Despite his heavy engineering background, he one day hopes to have large scale artistic sculptures on display of his own design. After commencement, he is heading to Boston, Massachusetts to work for Commonwealth Fusion Systems.

Andre MiraAndre Mira, Biological Engineering
Hometown: Alexandria, La.
Faculty Advisor: Liz Martin

Andre says that he has grown from someone who struggled with speaking in front of large groups to confidently navigating communication no matter the audience. He has collected a plethora of honors, including the Engaged Citizen Program Medal and graduation with honors. He says he strives to be “decent” at everything he does and if he’s not, give him a couple weeks and he will be. As a student at LSU, he has taken on interests as diverse as working with GEAUX Engineering with the Society of Peer Mentors, the Biological Engineering Student Organization, the Bengal Reauxbotics Team, and the Badminton and Competitive Tennis clubs, plus working as an Electrocardiogram Technician at Southern Medical Corporation. He will be attending medical school in the fall.

Hannah MistricHannah Mistric, Environmental Engineering
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Aaron Bivins

Hannah advises her fellow LSU students to take the leap out of their comfort zones and embrace the opportunities to learn not just what’s in the classroom, but also all of the life and personal skills that can come with new adventures, too. While at LSU she joined Geaux Green, an organization focused on education about sustainability and hands-on projects like the LSU lakes clean-up. Her passion for environmental issues has led Hannah toward work in green infrastructure, water/air quality research, coastal restoration, and environmental remediation. One of her favorite internships was with Costello, Inc., during which time she lived in Houston and focused on land development. She’s also a dedicated plant-cultivator at home, and loves to crochet, read, and offshore fish. After graduation, Hannah will be working for Fluor Corporation in Sugar Land, Texas.

Tasnia MonirTasnia Monir, Biological Engineering
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Nick Totaro

Tasnia’s superpower of having a built-in navigation system correlates well with her drive at LSU. “I always end up at my destinations solely based on where I assumed they would be,” she says. “It may not be the fastest way, but surprisingly always correct.” Reflecting on her time at LSU, Tasnia is especially proud of how much she’s grown. While she entered college fearing public speaking, she shares that she “gained a sense of voice and style, and can now properly communicate to my peers in confidence.” She’s passionate about community, serving as a volunteer with Baton Rouge General for the past four years and staying connected to her culture through the Baton Rouge Bangla Association. When she needs to relieve stress, you can find her hiking and appreciating the flora and fauna of our environment. Following graduation, Tasnia plans to take time to further her experience in the medical field while traveling the world (including a trip to Japan!) before applying to medical school. 

Ruby RobergRuby Roberg, Chemical Engineering*
Minors: Chemistry, International Studies
Hometown: St. Francisville, La.
Faculty Advisor: Liz Melvin

Ruby may not have always known what she wanted her career to be, but she's consistently known that she wanted to keep learning and sharing knowledge with others. And to study abroad, which she started when she spent her sophomore year at Radboud University in The Netherlands and continued as a research intern at TU Kaiserslautern in Germany in Fall 2021—a program where only 16% of applicants were accepted. Here at LSU, she’s embraced that desire to share knowledge by serving as a mentor, tutor and supplemental instructor, all allowing her to continue to pursue engineering discovery and communication. While she is graduating with multiple accolades and having received numerous awards, it’s her degree that she values most. “Together, all of my honors bolster the importance and pride I feel in earning my degree from LSU,” she says. After graduation, Ruby will be moving to The Netherlands to complete a masters in Chemical Engineering at TU Delft in The Netherlands.

Colin RobertsColin Roberts, Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Communication Studies
Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.
Faculty Advisor: Liz Melvin

“My college career has been a story of establishing new things and taking advantage of every opportunity to make change I could find, and I am proud that I took the opportunity to make the most of my time here.” As a freshman, Collin started back up the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity in February 2019, serving as the Vice President from then until January 2021 when they became the President and held that position until July of that same year. They also performed as the Recruitment Chair for the fraternity from July 2019 to July of 2021. Collin also founded the Jewish Student Association in May of 2019, fully establishing it that following year as a sophomore. They filled the role of President of this club from its founding until September 2021. Colin joined  LSU Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) TigerRacing in October of 2020 and immediately took over the position of Cooling Subsystem Lead. The next year they took on the positions of Steering Subsystem Lead and Treasurer. They kept the role of Treasurer for two years and in 2022 they also took on the positions of Control Systems and Ergonomics Subsystem Leads. As treasurer they improved the club’s placement in the business presentation and cost events by almost 60 places from the previous season. After graduation Colin will be starting a position with General Motors as a TRACK Hardware Engineer in Detroit, Michigan.

Ella SheetsElla Sheets, Chemical Engineering*
Minor: Environmental Science
Hometown: Lafayette, La.
Faculty Advisor: Adam Melvin

Ella’s passion for research about nano-catalytic water purification earned her Best Presenter at the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium at Rice University, and second place at the Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Poster competition for the American Academy of Environmental Sciences. In and beyond the lab, Ella commits her leadership skills to clubs and group projects in an effort to support collective progress in reducing waste, increasing efficiency, and propelling sustainability forward. When she’s not working on the science of saving the world, Ella commits to keeping her creativity fueled, dabbling in crochet, drawing, and even performing aerial silks. She is headed to work for ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge as a Process Engineer after commencement. 

Bailey SmoorenburgBailey Smoorenburg, Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Robotics Engineering
Hometown: Covington, La.
Faculty Advisor: Corina Barbalata

It’s pretty easy to spot Bailey in a crowded room. “I’m 6 ft tall and still (unapologetically) love to rock heels,” she says. But her height isn’t the only thing that makes her stand out. Since her freshman year, Bailey has spent hundreds of hours building the 8044 Denham Venom team from Denham Springs High School and STEM Center for FIRST Robotics, an organization dedicated to giving K-12 robotics students a chance to compete. She participated in competitions with FIRST as a high school student, and became a mentor once she came to LSU. All the effort was worth it. “They have grown to be so successful, and I am so proud of the students’ progress,” she says. Her favorite internship was working with Relativity Space in Long Beach, California, where she focused on Terran 1, the world’s first 3D printed rocket. After graduation, Bailey is excited to move to Seattle and join the team at Blue Origin where she will work on their rocket engines as a mechanical engineer.

Steven TranSteven Tran, Environmental Engineering
Minor: Business Administration
Hometown: Ville Platte, La.
Faculty Advisor: William Moe

As a proud first generation college graduate, Steven is honored to “blaze a trail for future generations of [their] family.” In their time at LSU, he’s taken every opportunity to fully develop his skills, from engineering to the ability to make a free throw in basketball with their eyes closed. Steven especially enjoyed their internship with the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, where they had the opportunity to see the practical application of classroom concepts. After graduation, Steven will be joining Chevron as an Air and Greenhouse Gas Engineer in Bakersfield, CA.

Rachel YiuRachel Yiu, Electrical Engineering
Hometown: Luling, La.
Faculty Advisor: Jerry Trahan

Rachel is a black belt in taekwondo and brings that same discipline to her development as a Distinguished Communicator, saying “there is always room for improvement in your communication abilities.” While in college Rachel has been the public relations chair, professional development chair, and treasurer of the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, a club she has participated in since its founding in 2022. She also took on a leadership role in the Society of Peer Mentors and the Engineering College as a whole when she became an Chevron Engineering Head Ambassador. Rachel has had two internships with Valero Energy Corporation which she believes provided her with great experience, and upon graduating she will be working for them as an Associate Control Systems Engineer at the Valero Texas City Refinery. 

College of Human Sciences & Education

Claire SurekClaire Surek, Child and Family Studies
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Hannah Plauche

When Claire began to pursue Child and Family Studies, she was a little apprehensive to choose a field that’s not necessarily financially lucrative. Leaving LSU, her concerns have subsided. “I know that I will be able to make a positive impact on families in my community and children that will grow up to be the future,” she says. “That is worth infinitely more than any number on a paycheck.” That impact is already extensive, including serving as clinical behavioral technician at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders and committing to community service through organizations like St. Vincent de Paul and Habitat for Humanity. Her commitment to improving children’s lives has extended into working with underfunded schools in the Baton Rouge area, providing opportunities to build students’ love of literacy through book drives and the Champions are Readers program, providing a positive reading environment for students in pre-K through third grade. Claire will be diving head first into the field after commencement, with plans to pursue her graduate degree in the future. 

College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Tatum Carver-DewsTatum Carver-Dews, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Minor: African & African American Studies
Hometown: Whitehouse, Texas
Faculty Advisor: Hyunju Chung

As a future speech-language pathologist, Tatum is passionate about playing a role in ensuring individuals can improve their quality of life through the power of language. To be effective, she has prioritized developing a service mindset through volunteering with her church, the McMains Children’s Developmental Center’s Capable Arts Camp, the Engaged Citizen program, and the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association. Research has to be at the forefront of her work to stay up-to-date, and she’s honed those skills starting as a freshman in the D4 Child Language Lab, specializing in studying childhood Developmental Language Disorders. In Spring 2022, she was awarded second place in her category and third place overall at LSU Discover Day for her research on clinical group identification. When asked what she is most proud of, she says, “I am proud to have survived YEARS of sleep deprivation.” Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately for Tatum, those long nights will continue into the Fall as she returns to LSU to pursue a graduate degree in Communication Sciences & Disorders.

Frida CervantesFrida Cervantes, English
Minor: Philosophy
Hometown: Lafayette, La.
Faculty Advisor: Emily King

When Frida started at LSU as a first-generation college student and child of a single mother, she was ready to hit the ground running, adapt to college life, and make it her own. In her first semester at LSU, Frida earned a spot in Alpha Lambda Delta Honor society as recognition for her high GPA. Fast forward to graduation day, and Frida is finishing her undergraduate tenure as secretary of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law fraternity, new member educator for Sigma Phi Lambda Christian Sorority, and as a graduate from the Leadership LSU 22-23 cohort, the latter of which entailed extensive leadership training and the development of a leadership initiative targeted to incoming first-year students. When Frida’s not setting up new first-year students for success, you can find her flexing her trilingual communication skills, riding horses, and playing guitar or piano. After graduation, Frida shifts into full-time work and sets her sights on law school. 

Caroline Cochran, Interdisciplinary Studies and Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Katherine Pettrey

(Caroline's bio is listed under College of Engineering)

Sydney GoldbergSydney Goldberg, Geography (Disaster Science and Management)
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Jill Trepanier

When Sydney, a Baton Rouge native, was a kid learning how to read the radar and better understand the extreme coastal weather surrounding her, she had no idea she’d set herself on the path toward broadcast meteorology. After interning at WAFB-TV as part of a course requirement, however, she cemented her passion for being the person in a position to help others understand more about what is happening when bad weather occurs. When not broadcasting, Sydney uses her communication skills to guide her peers and high school students. For the past three years Sydney has served as an assistant cross country track and field coach for University Lab School, and prior to that was a teaching assistant for Chemical Engineering Fundamentals. This summer, Sydney will continue her internship as a weather intern at WAFB-TV and will also be volunteering at the National Weather Service for New Orleans/Baton Rouge. In the fall, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in Geoscience with a concentration in Broadcast Meteorology at Mississippi State University. 

Malasia KennedyMalasia Kennedy, Psychology*
Hometown: Bowie, Md.
Faculty Advisor: Nichole Santee

Malasia’s superpowers are seemingly diametrically opposed: she’s a thorough planner, and an adaptability wizard. Most importantly, she’s inspired to live daily following Oscar Wilde’s advice: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Originally planning to finish LSU in three and half years, she pivoted during the pandemic and switched majors, leaning into her interest in media psychology and journalism, taking honors courses and joining the McNair Scholars program, presenting at conferences, and earning several accolades - not all, she noted, but “a win is a win.” Of her time at LSU she shares, “I've learned to hone my best qualities, discuss my worst, learn some new ones, and help people.”  As part of her work helping others, Malasia joined the National Society of Leadership and Success, serving as publicity chair, and joined the CxC Studio team as a one-on-one communication mentor and communication skills presenter for undergraduate classes. Her first step after graduation is to go to bed and take a break. From there, she heads to Maryland to reconnect with family and friends, volunteer, pursue internships, and apply to graduate schools in the U.S., U.K., and Asia. 

Ella McCalipElla McCalip, English and French*
Minor: Linguistics
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Chris Barrett

Ella’s communication skills span four languages and counting. In addition to English, they speak French, Italian, and Spanish, which they have leveraged outside the classroom as a legal assistant working with immigration clients and processing paperwork for international visas. Ella believes in the importance of a global mindset and cross-cultural communication, which spurs her love of international travel. Ella is a member of the Delta Gamma Fraternity, where they participate in Service for Sight, escorting blind and visually impaired students to class at LSU, as well as a volunteer for St. James Place and a member of Christ the King Catholic Church and Student Center. After she graduates with a GPA above 4.0,  Ella will be going to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill for a Master of Arts in Global Studies.

Caroline PadenCaroline Paden, Screen Arts (Production)
Minor: Communication Studies
Hometown: Wesley Chapel, Fla.
Faculty Advisor: Trish Suchy

Whether earning her pilot’s license in the middle of a severe thunderstorm or spending her study abroad experience in France on crutches, Caroline is always up for an adventure, real life or scripted. She grew up seeking comfort through film, and aspires to create that same comfort for others. One of her recent documentary projects, “A Race of a Lifetime,” followed a dragon boat team of breast cancer survivors. She was inspired to make the film after seeing her mother battle breast cancer while Caroline was in high school, and seeing her journey from diagnosis to survivorship. A personal victory was seeing the film featured in the Campus Movie Fest film festival, and knowing her work can both inspire and help someone feel less alone in their struggles. She will complete her time at LSU earning both the Distinguished Communicator medal and University medal, two achievements she deeply values. “LSU pushed me to become the student I am today, giving me the focus and skills to turn my passion and dream for film into a reality.”  Following graduation, Caroline plans to work in the film industry, hopes to one day direct an Oscar-worthy film, and maybe somewhere along the way incorporate her aviation skills with filmmaking, as long as the weather cooperates. 

Angel PuderAngel Puder, Political Science and African & African American Studies
Minor: Political Communication
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Faculty Advisor: Brian Hamel

Angel is an adamant activist and multi-award-winning graduate who has worn many hats in her time at LSU. In her time at LSU Angel has been the President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at LSU, Vice President of the Society for African and African American Studies, a Senator for 5 semesters in Student Government, and a Committee Chair for 3 semesters in Student Government. She has been awarded the Engaged Citizen Program Medal, 2023 CCELL Happy Award Winner, LSU NAACP Image Award’s Hidden Gem Award, BWEI Fannie Lou Hamer Award two times, LSU Black Scholars’ Award two times, President's Honor Roll two times, Dean’s List three times, and position of Leadership LSU Cohort Member and Keynote Speaker. She says the award she most values is the Tom W. Dutton Scholarship because it was focused on her outstanding service to the university community and Baton Rouge through participation and leadership in community service activities. When she graduates, Angel intends to take a gap year to live in Houston and serve in AmeriCorp before applying to graduate schools for a master’s degree in Public Affairs and Public Administration. She intends to use what she has learned about public policy, the African American experience, and political communication to build a career in addressing food security within low-income and minority communities.

Drew WelschDrew Welsch, Political Science
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: Alamo, Calif.
Faculty Advisor: Jonathan Nickens

You wouldn’t believe it today from his local and global pursuits, but Drew claims that he started LSU as a shy and reserved person unsure about communicating with others. Minoring in international studies, Drew studied abroad in France for a program that included students from several different countries, and while there learned not only French and international policy, but about communication tactics and intercultural histories from a global perspective. Locally, Drew co-founded the LSU Golf Club, for which he served as President and Vice-President over a three-year span, and founded the LSU Investment club, for which he served as President. In these roles, his primary focus was developing sustainable infrastructure, and he is proud to leave these organizations with strong membership numbers and new leadership. After graduation, Drew heads to law school. 

Manship School of Mass Communication

Ashlyn AndersonAshlyn Anderson, Mass Communication (Political Communication)
Minor: Political Science
Hometown: Spring, Texas
Faculty Advisor: Bob Mann

As a native Texan who came to LSU knowing no one, Ashlyn quickly embraced the challenge of finding a community where she could make her mark. In her freshman year, all amidst COVID, she was selected as an LSU Ambassador, secured a student government position and rushed Zeta Tau Alpha—all commitments that she continued in one role or another through her senior year. Her leadership and community involvement has resulted in being inducted into not one but two honor societies, Order of Omega and Omicron Delta Kappa. She is a confident communicator, switching between the creativity of social media content creation to concrete analyses of political movements and campaigns. Her hidden talent is falling asleep anywhere, which she will hopefully embrace before heading to get an advanced degree at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service and eventually her Juris Doctorate where she’ll be able to combine her passion for politics and criminal justice.

Leigh AuzenneAmanda (Leigh) Auzenne, Mass Communication (Digital Advertising)*
Minor: French
Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas
Faculty Advisor: Doug Draper

For Leigh, passing her honors thesis defense is one of the many highlights of her undergraduate career, as despite juggling several responsibilities simultaneously, she was able to research perceptions of influencer advertising that documented previously unpublished insights into the field. She plans to use her communication skills to help others as she begins her dream summer internship at an advertising agency in Dallas, Texas, then heads to France to teach English. Outside of her professional pursuits, Leigh enjoys roller skating and successfully launching her first garden, sharing “I'm super proud I haven't killed anything yet, and I'm looking forward to fresh veggies all summer.”

Ava BorskeyAva Borskey, Mass Communication (Journalism)*
Minors: English, History, Sociology
Hometown: Maurepas, La.
Faculty Advisor: Jeff Gauger

Adaptability is Ava’s superpower. Not only is she graduating with Honors and three minors in English, History, and Sociology, she will be a University Medalist (one who maintains a 4.0 GPA average throughout their undergraduate career). The internship opportunities she enjoyed most at LSU was her time as The Reveille’s Entertainment Editor and working for The Mag. Through these avenues, she was able to exhibit her leadership capabilities and guide new reporters in a bustling newsroom. Although she writes news stories and journalism articles, in her personal time, Ava loves to write creative short stories and read. She also has 15 years of ballet experience, and can do Pointe. After graduation, she's excited to transition to magazine work and feature stories. 

Reed DarceyReed Darcey, Mass Communication (Public Relations)
Minor: African & African American Studies
Hometown: Metairie, La.
Faculty Advisor: Jeff Gauger

You might not expect a journalist to stay away from social media, but Reed makes it a priority. “I'm not always successful,” he says, “but I try to monitor the time I spend on it and spend my time in more productive ways.” And he’s found tons of ways to be productive in pursuit of his goals as a sports reporter, from covering sports at The Daily Reveille—and doing a stint as editor-in-chief—and working as a contributing writer for The Advocate/Times Picayune’s sports section. He even got to mark his senior year in an especially memorable way by covering the NCAA women's basketball Final Four in Dallas for The Advocate. He’s leaving LSU as an award-winning journalist, including earning the 2021 Mark of Excellence Award in his region from the Society of Professional Journalists. In his free time, he enjoys reading about news, politics, and sports and cooking Louisiana cuisine. After graduation, Reed will spend some time here in Baton Rouge looking for his next story. 

Jake LoftonJacob (Jake) Lofton, Mass Communication (Public Relations)*
Minor: English
Hometown: Prairieville, La.
Faculty Advisor: Kalling Heck

Jacob believes that what sets a leader apart is their ability to communicate efficiently with the rest of their team while still being a full participant in the project. He has put this philosophy to work in several capacities, from running an Eagle Scout service project to serving as a team supervisor at CC’s Coffee House.  In addition to being a Distinguished Communicator medalist, he will also receive the Distinguished Undergraduate Researcher Medal at the end of summer semester, and will be graduating with honors. He has also presented his research at LSU Discover Day. He enjoyed his internship with Otey White & Associates so much that he has accepted a full-time position with them as an account executive after graduation.

Hannah MichelHannah Michel, Mass Communication (Public Relations)*
Minor: Energy, Public Affairs
Hometown: Lafayette, La.
Faculty Advisor: Doug Draper

Hannah has poured out her blood, sweat, and tears onto her work as an honors college student researching Bill Nye’s impact as a science communicator. The most surprising area Hannah has found herself utilizing her communication skills was for her little brother’s baseball team. She aided her mom in developing a brand kit, sponsor letter, and Facebook page for the team. Priding herself on her and her peers’ diligent work, Hannah says, “We survived a global pandemic as baby adults, took the mental toll of that experience and still managed to graduate as distinguished communicators. That resiliency we showed is something we should be extremely proud of and never forget about ourselves.” After graduation, she intends to pursue a full time job in Lafayette while beginning work on her MBA.

Birdie O'ConnellLillian (Birdie) O'Connell, Mass Communication (Journalism)
Minors: Spanish, Leadership Development
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Faculty Advisor: Roxanne Dill

Birdie’s hidden superpower is her mastery of organizational skills, the result of which is that she is graduating in only three years from LSU. That organizational talent also helped ensure Birdie was able to pursue her childhood goal of becoming a sports reporter. Here at LSU, she honed her skills in the field with a stint at Tiger TV, reporting in the studio and at live sporting events, a sports reporter for The Daily Reveille, and as an intern with Charlotte Motor Speedway. In addition to her drive for achieving her goals at LSU—for which she was awarded the highly competitive 2023 Louisiana Association of Broadcasters Scholarship—she prioritized being involved in the community, whether as an resident assistant, a Manship Ambassador, the vice president of the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and a volunteer with Companion Animal Alliance. She’ll continue developing her skills after graduation as a production intern with FOX Sports this summer. She plans to begin teaching in Madrid in the Fall through the public diplomacy program, North American Language and Culture Assistants Program, with the ultimate goal of being a sports broadcaster in Spain. 

Carley OakleyCarley Oakley, Mass Communication (Public Relations)
Minor: Energy
Hometown: Gonzales, La.
Faculty Advisor: Doug Draper

Despite being a self-proclaimed introvert, Carley’s academic, professional and extracurricular calendar is jam-packed. She was one of two students chosen for the ExxonMobil Energy and Public Affairs scholarship her freshman year of college. This opportunity led to her current public relations internship at ExxonMobil and the benefits of graduating debt-free. She is proud of her achievement as a selected member of the LSU Bateman team where they competed against 75 schools in a national case study competition. Her team held five events in one month and implemented a complete public relations campaign for their client, the News Literacy Project. When she’s not working, you can find her reading or strolling the LSU Lakes. After commencement, Carley intends to move to Dallas, Texas, where she will pursue a career in public relations.

Emilie RavainEmilie (Emmie) Ravain, Mass Communication (Public Relations)
Minor: Business Administration
Hometown: Covington, La.
Faculty Advisor: Doug Draper

While a Junior Associate in festival planning for the Spears Group, Emmie was nominated by her employer - and won - the Public Relations Society of America New Orleans Rising Star Award for demonstrating incredible work ethic, exceptional competence, skill and leadership potential. In addition to this role, Emmie flexed her organizational and color-coding skills for multiple wedding and event planning organizations, both in supporting and leadership positions. Emmie is finishing their degree in only three years, and made the final interview round for LSU’s Tiger Twelve, representing .5% of the 2023 graduating class. After graduating, Emmie intends to move to the Houston area to work in corporate events and sponsorships. 

Lizzie ShawLauren (Lizzie) Shaw, Mass Communication (Political Communication)*
Minors: Communication Studies, Dance
Hometown: Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Faculty Advisor: Kelci Sibley

Lizzie spent her time at LSU seizing every opportunity to get involved, including being elected student body president for the 2022–23 academic year. She was named a flagship undergraduate scholar and a board of supervisors scholar. She was involved in LSU Ambassadors, Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity Delta Kappa Chapter, Order of Omega Kappa Theta Chapter, and Dance Marathon. Throughout her time at LSU, Lizzie also participated in the Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars Program with U.T. Austin, worked under the Louisiana Secretary of Corrections as a Governor’s fellow, and interned as a clerk with the 6th Judicial Circuit of Alabama. In the summer of 2022 Lizzie was a Governor’s fellow with the department of corrections where she was able to receive a hands-on education of Louisiana’s correctional system. This experience informed the topic of her senior thesis. Lizzie is currently working as a Leadership Consultant for her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha allowing her to travel across the United states to different college campuses and assist chapters in their growth and membership needs. After that, she intends to enroll in law school in the fall of 2024.

College of Science

Carlie ChristCarlie Christ, Biological Sciences (Secondary Education)
Hometown: Basile, La.
Faculty Advisor: Rebecca Nguyen

Whether serving as the Bereavement Chair for her sorority or working in a free healthcare clinic on the Texas-Mexico border, Carlie’s passion for service and community rings true in everything she does. Her sense of community was developed growing up in a small town, giving her the tools to innately “empathize with others, show respect and grow in compassion for those who I knew and those who I did not,” a particularly critical skill for a future health professional. However, that small town life also left her with the sense that striving for more wasn’t always attainable. Entering LSU as a first-generation college student added to that and often left her doubting her capabilities and her degree choice. The Geaux Teach program helped her gain confidence and ground her in the idea that she could still pursue different careers after graduation to impact people’s lives. After graduation, she’ll be celebrating her two sisters who are also graduating this spring with different levels of degrees. And as a self-proclaimed morning person, she’ll be waking up early to spend time with family, volunteer in the community, and substitute teach at her former high school before applying to Physicians Assistant school.

Ellie FieldsEllie Fields, Biological Sciences (Secondary Education)*
Minor: Business Administration
Hometown: Crowley, La.
Faculty Advisor: Morgan Kelly

Rather than embracing idle time, Ellie always has to have something to do. “I am not very good at just sitting around and doing nothing,” she states. From serving in leadership roles with the Tennis Club, Pre-Optometry Club and Collegiate Club to volunteering in the community, Ellie has certainly found a lot to do while earning her degree at LSU—while earning a dozen different scholarships and awards. Serving as a student teacher at Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired through the Geaux Teach program was one of her most rewarding experiences, sharing that she is forever grateful for the things her students taught her. She most values earning the Distinguished Communicator medal as it is representative of the hard work, dedication and personal growth she has achieved. “This medal signifies that I have become the person I dreamed of being while receiving my undergraduate degree,” she says. When she has spare time, she enjoys playing tennis, coaching cheer, spending time with friends and family outside of school. Ellie’s commitment to not sitting around will continue in the fall when she attends Southern College of Optometry in pursuit of her Doctorate of Optometry degree. 

Molly GaffneyMolly Gaffney, Biological Sciences
Hometown: River Ridge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Rebecca Nguyen

Molly has a service mindset, from rescuing injured or orphaned animals to cleaning up debris around the LSU lakes. Her favorite volunteer experience began in her sophomore year at Farr Park Equestrian Center's Hearts and Hooves Therapeutic Riding Program, giving her an opportunity to provide physical and mental therapy to children and adults with disabilities. Her on-campus involvement spans genres, including Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Medical Society, LSU Musical Theater Club, LSU Ambassadors, and Christ the King Church. She most values her experience in the Distinguished Communicator program for giving her the tools to “succeed in all of the aspects of my education and life in general.” As a future physician, she entered the Geaux Teach program to not only learn how to educate others but also “to know how to better communicate with my patients and teach them about their medical conditions and needs, especially with children.” She is applying to medical school this summer, with hopes to join the fall 2024 incoming class of medical students. Until then, she’ll return home to New Orleans to work as a Medical Transcriptionist for Tulane. 

Emery GodkeRobert (Emery) Godke, Biological Sciences (Secondary Education)
Hometown: St. Francisville, La.
Faculty Advisor: Hollie Hale Donze

A self-described rule follower, Emery has never been to detention, was never suspended, has no speeding tickets, and never made a B throughout his college career. His dedication to his own leadership development is a through line in everything he does, from teaching and mentoring peers to serving as ombudsman for his honors fraternity Phi Sigma Pi—and maybe even from his commitment to Dungeons & Dragons. His decision to pursue the Geaux Teach program stemmed from his experience as a student in the West Feliciana School System, recognizing the impact of effective leadership through his teachers. He was able to create the same impact for students years later when he returned to West Feliciana Middle School to complete his student teacher residency. While he’ll be leaving LSU as a fully licensed science teacher, he plans to continue his commitment to leadership and to impacting the lives of young people by pursuing his dream of attending medical school and ultimately becoming a pediatrician. 

Jason HuangJason Huang, Biological Sciences*
Minors: Chemistry, English
Hometown: Buford, Ga.
Faculty Advisor: Fatima Rivas

Jason is graduating with three medals (Distinguished Communicator, Distinguished Undergraduate Researcher, and Engaged Citizen) making him “the Thanos of medals.” His drive to achieve isn’t limited to medal programs though. While at LSU, he embraced every opportunity from helping to foster diversity through the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion in the College of Science to developing his skills as an educator through the Geaux Teach program. He is a founder of the LSU Badminton Club, served as a leader on campus, and presented his research at multiple conferences. If that’s not enough, he also made a commitment to being an active citizen through extensive community service, stating that a successful society “relies on everyday ways citizens help each other.” Of all of his awards, he chose a participation award for a pitch competition as the one he most values for what it signifies. “Though it seemingly has no value; it shows that by the very least, I tried to win,” he says. “I put in an effort to participate.” Indeed he did. After graduation, Jason will teach high school biology for a year, then pursue a master’s in oral health sciences and before going to dental school.

Seija MeauxSeija Meaux, Geology
Hometown: Thunder Bay, Canada
Faculty Advisor: Amy Luther

Seija might hold the record for the most extensive travel of any Distinguished Communicator with a record 27 countries visited—and she’s lived in four. So far, research has taken her to Greece to study the region’s tectonics and Greenland, where she was chosen as one of nine undergraduates out of more than 340 applicants to study earthquakes on the Sarfannguit Island funded through the National Science Foundation. One of her favorite experiences at LSU was being able to share her love of science and geology at outreach events and as the LSU Geology Club secretary. “It was rewarding to see their interest and excitement in the subject,” she says. When she’s not sharing her knowledge and working on coastal restoration and conservation projects through volunteer endeavors, she’s listening to true crime podcasts, caring for her plants, and kickboxing. Seija will return to LSU in the fall as a graduate student in the Department of Geology and Geophysics. 

Tammy SanTammy San, Microbiology*
Minor: Business Administration
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Faculty Advisor: Teresa Wilson

Making a connection between the dental field and crocheting and archery might seem like a stretch for some, but not for Tammy. These two hobbies help her hone her fine motor skills and depth perception, two things that allow her to have an outlet for artistic expression while training for her future career. Her passion for dentistry stemmed from seeing family in rural Vietnam suffer from the effects of medical insecurity. She has made it her mission “to mitigate the inaccessibility to dental care by becoming an active member in both my community as well as the dental community.” As a first-generation college student, Tammy sought out mentors to help her quell the doubts in her mind and find her own path toward success. This experience has instilled the importance of mentorship, and inspired her to become a peer mentor herself. When Tammy ultimately begins her own dental practice, her superpower for holding a conversation for a long time will come in handy. “Just be prepared to sit there and hear about what's going on in my head while I talk and simultaneously determine how comfortable you are with eye contact.” But for now, she’ll flex those conversation skills when she starts dental school and finds time to squeeze in more travel.

Leora WilsonLeora Wilson, Geology (Geophysics)
Minor: Oceanography
Hometown: Winter Park, Fla.
Faculty Advisor: Amy Luther

Leora’s love of geology and geophysics was born through her extensive travels and an innate curiosity about “various rock formations and the mechanisms behind shaping our solid Earth.” Her recreational travels have started to overlap with her research ones, including exploring Colorado Springs, Colorado and Taos, New Mexico through Geology Field Camp and studying abroad with LSU Geology in Greece. She is particularly proud of the range of work she has accomplished as an undergraduate researcher starting in her freshman year, including an internship with the United States Antarctica Program with the National Science Foundation in the McMurdo Dry Valleys as a field assistant and general camp manager. While her research experience gave her opportunities to develop leadership skills, she was able to fully put those skills into practice while serving as a SCI 1001 Peer Mentor and a College of Science Ambassador, where she was voted Lead Ambassador and Best Trivia Writer for the 2021-2022 year. This summer, Leora will continue researching and curating a local exploratory oil and gas-related library in the LSU Department of Geology and Geophysics funded by the American Association of Petrologic Geologists and local petroleum exploration companies. She hopes to begin graduate school soon after.

*Honors students are designated with an asterisk.