LSU EnvironMentors Awarded the Nation’s Top Chapter of the Year in Washington, D.C.


Photo of Briana

Briana Coleman posing in front of her project poster at the National Fair in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit: LSU

BATON ROUGE – The LSU chapter of the national high school science mentoring program, EnvironMentors, was awarded the 2018 Chapter of the Year at the National Fair and Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. on June 1. This is the second time that the LSU chapter has been awarded Chapter of the Year, after previously receiving the designation in 2013. In addition, LSU chapter member Briana Coleman won fifth place for excellence in environmental science research and a $500 scholarship. The LSU chapter has earned 13 awards since its inception in 2010.

LSU EnvironMentors is an after-school science mentoring initiative that pairs high school students from Scotlandville Magnet High with LSU undergraduate and graduate mentors who help them improve their understanding of science.

“It feels like a huge accomplishment to have placed after coming [to the National Fair] for three years. With the help of my mentors and everyone at LSU, I felt like I had to keep fighting because this is what I want to do. And, to finally have it—words cannot explain that feeling. It was awesome,” Coleman said.

Coleman is a rising senior who dreams of becoming an environmental lawyer. She is currently evaluating college options, including the new LSU College of the Coast & Environment, or CC&E, Coastal Environmental Science partnership with the LSU Paul M. Herbert Law Center.

These high school students are selected for the national competition after completing a year-long research project with the help of their LSU undergraduate and graduate student mentors. Each mentee’s work culminates in a local poster competition in which his or her data collection and research findings are presented. Top EnvironMentors students from the local competition earn the privilege of competing at the EnvironMentors National Fair. This year, four LSU EnvironMentors were selected to attend: Briana Coleman from Baker, La., A’Shonte Reed, LeAnne Riley and J’Tyriah Woodson all from Baton Rouge.

The program is also an opportunity for college students to provide community service while developing leadership and mentorship skills. It is organized by LSU CC&E, and mentors from multiple units throughout campus participate including the colleges of Agriculture, Coast & Environment, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences and Science.

Photo of Environmentors participants

From left to right: Scotlandville Magnet High Teacher Pamela Francis, LeAnne Riley, Briana Coleman, A’Shonte Reed, J’Tyriah Woodson, and LSU EnvironMentors Chapter Coordinator Brian Matherne. Photo Credit: LSU

“I am especially proud of LSU’s EnvironMentors program. We are seeing outstanding results in the graduation rate of our high school participants. What is especially remarkable is that students are not selected for this program based on academic ability or achievements but solely on their interest in science and their level of commitment to it,” said Christopher F. D’Elia, professor and dean of CC&E.

Brian Matherne, CC&E graduate student and LSU chapter coordinator, attributes their success in becoming the 2018 Chapter of the Year to engaging the students in challenging new experiences in order to foster deeper learning and growth.

“My experience working with the youth in our program has been incredible. I’ve seen very large transitions in the ability, focus and determination of our students. It’s very inspiring for me to see students form a passion, feel they can understand science at a higher level and feel that perhaps they want to go on and do science as a career,” Matherne said. 

LSU EnvironMentors is solely funded by philanthropic donations. For more information, visit:


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Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations