Six LSU Engineering Graduates Achieve Distinguished Communicator Honor

LSU's 285th commencement exercises honored six College of Engineering students with LSU's Distinguished Communicator Award. LSU’s Distinguished Communicator program, considered the first of its kind in the nation, recognizes students who demonstrate exemplary levels of communication skills during their undergraduate years. Along with these College of Engineering students, eight additional students representing numerous majors earned the distinction.

Students honored from the College of Engineering with their hometown and major include:

  • Kevin Hooter, Baton Rouge, La., biological engineering
  • Jabari Landry, Baton Rouge, La., civil engineering
  • Jordan Lunda, New Orleans, La., computer science
  • Edward Lynch, Keller, Texas, computer engineering
  • Brandon Smith, Orlando, Fla., biological engineering
  • Leah “Tia” Willis, Baton Rouge, La., architecture and construction management

Sponsored by Communication across the Curriculum, the award recognizes students who are outstanding writers and speakers with strong visual literacy and technological communication skills. Recipients completed 12 hours of communication-intensive courses, submitted digital portfolios and maintained a 3.0 GPA in their C-I classes. The students built digital portfolios, displayed as public Web sites that include their communication projects from courses, internships, leadership roles and public service.

“Communications today are usually multi-modal, meaning that technology enables us to combine visual, written, and spoken communication more readily than in the past,” said Boz Bowles, technical communications instructor and coordinator, Engineering Communications Studio. “Therefore, it is vital that engineers be able to write, speak, and use visuals to communicate their work, as well as to understand how technology affects those modes. In fact, CxC LSU considers technological communication itself to be a mode, and there is a clear need for engineers to hone their communication skills before they reach the global job market.”

Upon completion, students have their transcripts annotated to reflect their Distinguished Communicator designation.

“The Distinguished Communicator program was instrumental in focusing my efforts throughout my time at LSU,” said Brandon Smith. “My courses taught me different engineering techniques, but because they were communication intensive, I also gained plenty of experience giving different presentations to different audiences. Other aspects of the program, such as the workshops and online portfolio, taught me how to effectively demonstrate my acquired skills along with my future goals.”

The strongest benefit of the program is the development of a digital portfolio. “The portfolio gives potential employers and/or graduate application committees a concrete sense of the return they can expect on their investment in a student,” said Bowles. “Employers don’t have to solely consider the students’ résumé claims; they can see actual examples of the students’ work in all four modes: writing, speaking, and visual & technological communication.”
Below are examples of this year’s College of Engineering graduates’ digital portfolios:

For more information on LSU’s Distinguished Communicator program, visit


Article by Mimi LaValle, LSU College of Engineering, 225-578-5706, Photos provided by LSU's Communication Across the Curriculum.