LSU Discover Day 2024

Pursuing Careers in Research Panel

3:30 - 4:30 pm | LSU Student Union | Capital Chamber, room 329


Gabrielle Mellor, Psychology and English major, '25


Headshot of panelist Jesse AllisonDr. Jesse Allison
Associate Professor of Experimental Music & Digital Media - LSU School of Music
Cultural Computing - LSU Center for Computation & Technology
Associate Director of the STEM Pathway in Digital Design & Emergent Media - LSU Cain Center

Dr. Jesse Allison is an innovator in sonic art technology, thought, and practice. His work centers around the idea that computer interactivity, used wisely, can produce new and engaging forms of art. Technology research, interdisciplinary collaboration and creative activity are fluidly traversed echoing the spirit of his joint faculty position between the Center for Computation & Technology's Cultural Computing focus area (CCT-CC) and the LSU School of Music. 
As head of the Experimental Music & Digital Media (EMDM) program and Director of the LSU STEM Certification Pathway in Digital Design & Emergent Media (DDEM), he provides students with a link between art and research where themes of human/computer interactivity, embedded computing, social computing systems, and other touch points between technology and society permeate the research and discovery process. An important aspect of both the EMDM program and Cultural Computing, discovery must be viewed as an active endeavor.  With a goal to envision (instead of simply adopt) applications of technology in places where it is appropriate, beneficial, and if done well, quite possibly magical.

Headshot of panelist James GuentherDr. James Guenther
Chief Science Officer
Mariposa Technology

Dr. James Guenther is a highly accomplished scientist and entrepreneur who currently serves as the Chief Science Officer at Mariposa Technology. He is a protein chemist turned data scientist expert in developing Artificial Intelligence algorithms for innovative technology, assisting in research and development, and preparing funding proposals. Dr. Guenther originally hails from New Orleans and completed his undergraduate studies at Southeastern Louisiana University. He then pursued his doctorate in Biochemistry from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Dr. Guenther has authored several peer-reviewed publications in diverse fields, including plant membrane protein structure and function, plant defense responses, lung disease, and inflammasome-mediated inflammation responses. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he returned to New Orleans to help rebuild and rebrand the city as a technology and innovation hub. He developed and directed a biotechnology program at a local community college while serving as the Principal Investigator on a National Science Foundation Advanced Technology Education (NSFATE) proposal. Dr. Guenther's work with the NSFATE allowed him to interact with a wide range of technology-driven industries, including advanced manufacturing technologies, agricultural and biotechnologies, energy and environmental technologies, engineering technologies, information technologies, micro- and nano-technologies, security technologies, and geospatial technologies.
Dr. Guenther has since transitioned to consulting for both academic and private industry development needs, specializing in Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) funding in conjunction with community college programs. In 2018, he was appointed as the Chapter Director for StartupGrind New Orleans, the largest independent business entrepreneurial community, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting more than 2,000,000 entrepreneurs in 600+ chapters and 125+ countries. In 2021, Dr. Guenther joined Mariposa Technology as the Chief Science Officer where he oversees data analysis and Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithm development.  With his extensive experience and knowledge, Dr. Guenther has become a leading figure in the field of business development and technological innovation.

Headshot of panelist Lisa KempDr. Lisa Kemp
Senior Manager, Global Health Economics and Reimbursement
Edwards Lifesciences

Lisa Kemp received her PhD in Psychology from LSU in 2019 and currently supports Real-World Evidence (RWE) development in the Transcatheter Mitral and Tricuspid Therapies (TMTT) business unit at Edwards Lifesciences. She held prior roles as Research Scientist at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital and Data Scientist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. At Edwards Lifesciences, Lisa leads non-randomized research studies using real-world data sources to provide evidence on structural heart disease burden and therapy effectiveness.


Headshot of panelist Christopher SchneiderDr. Christopher Schneider
Medical Physicist, Dr. Charles M. Smith Faculty Research Scholar
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center

Christopher Schneider received his PhD from LSU in 2019 and is now a Medical Physicist and Adaptive Radiotherapy Technical Director at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Baton Rouge. He conducts clinical research in the field of MRI-guided Adaptive Radiotherapy and works with undergraduates and Medical Physics graduate students in his role as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at LSU.


Headshot of Panelist Paul SotoDr. Paul Soto
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology,
Louisiana State University; Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Dr. Soto completed a Ph.D. at Emory University and postdoctoral training at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Soto is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Louisiana State University (LSU). Dr. Soto previously held positions in the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University and at Texas Tech University. Dr. Soto’s research interests are in (1) the use of laboratory animal models of psychiatric diseases and symptoms for the evaluation of potential therapeutic approaches, (2) the use of drugs and genetically engineered animals to identify the neurobiological contributors to basic and complex behavioral processes, and (3) the investigation of short- and long-term effects of exposure to psychiatric medications. Recently, Dr. Soto has begun advocating for the use of single-case experimental designs in areas outside of behavior analysis, such as behavioral neuroscience, because of the scientific and ethical benefits provided by these designs.

Photo of panelist Eric WhiteMr. Eric White
Engineer 6-DCL, Research & Planning Division
Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) of Louisiana 

Eric White is a water resources engineer in the Research and Planning Division of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, where he works primarily with the development and application of  hydrologic, hydraulic, and landscape models of the Louisiana coastal zone. He has been involved with the development of the state’s Coastal Master Plans since 2013 and oversees many of the technical tools used to put together each plan. Eric received his MS in Biological and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University where his research was focused on watershed processes and rainfall runoff modeling in the Ethiopian highlands. As an undergraduate in Agricultural Engineering at Penn State, he started down an applied research career path with a summer funding grant that he used to examine the efficacy of using food waste composting as a tool to treat diesel-contaminated soils. In his free time, Eric enjoys travel, concerts, biking, tennis, and playing trumpet in community band. He is also a PhD Candidate in River-Coastal Science & Engineering at Tulane. He has plans to finish his dissertation sometime before the next solar eclipse.