LSU EnvironMentors Chapter Coordinator Named Society for Science & the Public Advocate

Brian Matherne, Doctoral Student, Environmental Sciences

LSU EnvironMentors student Briana Coleman and Brian Matherne pose with Briana's research poster at the NCSE 2019 Conference

LSU EnvironMentors student Briana Coleman and Brian Matherne pose with Briana's award-winning research poster at the 2019 NCSE Annual Conference.Photo: Brian Matherne

Hometown: Biloxi, Mississippi

High School: Mercy Cross (now St. Patrick Catholic High)

Anticipated Graduation: May 2020

Brian Matherne, doctoral student in the College of the Coast & Environment’s Department of Environmental Sciences, has been selected as one of 60 Society for Science & the Public Advocates as part of their 2019 Advocate Grant Program. Out of the 289 applications they received, Matherne’s was selected for his hard work and dedication to the students he serves as the chapter coordinator of LSU EnvironMentors.

Having initiated LSU’s chapter of EnvironMentors, Chris D’Elia, professor and dean of the College of the Coast & Environment, is proud of the recognition that Matherne and the program have received.

“When we began this program in 2010, I knew it would be a special outreach initiative. LSU hosts the only EnvironMentors chapter in Louisiana and it has received national acclaim. LSU was twice awarded National Chapter of the Year, and now our program coordinator is nationally recognized for his outstanding efforts. Brian is a first-rate example of how CC&E students are making lasting impacts on their community and the world,” D’Elia said.

Fully supported by philanthropic donations, LSU EnvironMentors is an after-school science mentoring initiative that pairs underserved high school students from Scotlandville Magnet High with LSU graduates and undergraduates who work individually with the high schoolers on a yearlong scientific research project. Students are selected based on their interest in science and willingness to commit. Top students earn the privilege of competing in the annual EnvironMentors National Fair in Washington D.C.

According to Matherne, “Scientific communication is a growing field which requires scientists, educators, and writers to breakdown complex topics into concepts that can be understood by a broad audience. Continually presenting research findings helps students to develop a sense of what people want to learn about their work and how to relate their findings to someone from another field.”

The purpose of the Society for Science & the Public’s Advocate Grant Program is to assist high school science students in competing at national science fair events, like the one LSU EnvironMentors attends each year in D.C. Support from this program will help Matherne and the EnvironMentors as they return for the competition next spring.

“I plan to use these funds to propel our students to new heights. With this grant, we will be able to purchase new science fair materials and computer equipment that will improve the overall EnvironMentors experience and provide students with an exceptional scientific education,” Matherne said.  

The Society for Science & the Public is a non-profit dedicated to expanding scientific literacy, effective STEM education and scientific research.

Learn more about LSU EnvironMentors.


Published: April 25, 2019