Two Engineering Seniors Named Astronaut Scholars

Tiernan DautleJune 11, 2024

BATON ROUGE, LA – LSU Computer Engineering senior Tiernan Dautle and LSU Chemical Engineering senior Peter Vallet were two of the 71 students chosen nationwide to receive a scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. The scholarship is awarded to students in their junior and senior year of college studying science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) with the intent to pursue research or advance their field upon completion of their final degree.

Dautle, who is from Cherry Hill, N.J., hadn’t planned on attending a university so far from home until she was offered a Stamps scholarship, LSU’s top scholarship opportunity for select incoming students of the Ogden Honors College. She would later study abroad in Ireland for a semester as part of the Honors College.

“I’m also a huge sports fan, so that helped in choosing LSU,” she said.

In high school, Dautle knew she wanted to be an engineer but wasn’t sure which specialty.

“I chose computer engineering because of how versatile it is, and you can work in a lot of different fields, which has served me well with my research,” she said. “I’ve been doing research with the LSU School of Kinesiology, which has allowed me to do some things I wouldn’t normally have been able to do with a different degree.”

Dautle started in the LSU Motor Behavior and Cognition Lab and helped with a project that used virtual reality football games to see if they could improve reaction time and other performance metrics. She then transferred to another kinesiology lab, Human Development and Daily Life, where she mostly works on projects that support neurodivergent children, helping them complete everyday tasks such as using a spoon and picking up a cup.

Peter ValletThis summer, she has an internship with Textron Systems in Hunt Valley, Md., where she is doing systems engineering work. After graduation in 2025, Dautle plans to work in industry for a couple of years and then go to graduate school.

“Through LSU Engineering, I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of things I otherwise would not have been able to do had I gone somewhere else,” she said.

Vallet, who is from Baton Rouge, says that being an Astronaut Scholar has helped him make connections.

“The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation partners with aerospace, technology, and finance firms,” he said. “You get to go for a weekend and meet with these companies and present your research, which definitely opens doors.”

Vallet’s research includes working in LSU Biological Engineering Professor Philip Jung’s Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine Lab, where he did computational biology and data science for cardiac proliferation research. He also works in LSU Chemical Engineering Professor Jose Romagnoli’s Process Systems Engineering lab, whose partners include BASF and ExxonMobil for Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications, where he applied controls engineering and data science for chemical processing and engineering.

Vallet also had an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) with the University of Alabama in 2023.

He currently has a Data Science internship with BASF, where he works on AI for process optimization.

Once he graduates in 2025, Vallet hopes to find a job where he can apply his computation skills to industry, whether in Louisiana or out of state.

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Contact: Libby Haydel
Communications Manager