Live Gold: LSU Students Recognized with Prestigious National Awards

05/30/2013 11:52 AM

BATON ROUGE – For years, LSU students have been competing on the national stage for prestigious awards and scholarships, and this year is no exception. With two Truman Scholars, two Goldwater Scholars, an Udall Scholar, and numerous other accolades, LSU students are truly showing the nation what it means to “Live Gold.”

“We are proud of all of our scholars and honorees this year,” said Interim LSU President and Chancellor William Jenkins. “The number of students who receive national awards year after year speaks volumes about the quality and hard work of our students, faculty and staff. LSU is a top-notch performer on the national scene and our students have once again proven that they are second to none.”

LSU’s 2013 national scholars come from various backgrounds with a variety of research interests. Whether it’s researching a cure for AIDS, investigating the impact of storm surge on the coastline or seeking to better the lives of those in the Middle East, LSU’s scholars are working in areas with global impact.

The following is a sample of the awards LSU students won this year:

Truman Scholarship

LSU juniors Catherine Fontenot of Basile, La., and Matthew Landrieu of New Orleans were among 62 students nationwide to receive the prestigious Truman Scholarship from the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.

Fontenot, an LSU Honors College student and biological sciences major in the College of Science, plans to pursue Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees, with concentrations in internal medicine and infectious disease/global health, through Harvard Medical School’s Scholars in Medicine program after she graduates from LSU in May 2014.

Landrieu, an LSU Honors College student and elementary education major in the College of Human Sciences & Education, plans to pursue a master’s degree focused on policy, organization and leadership studies from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education after he graduates from LSU in May 2014.

The Truman Scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate study, along with priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Scholars are invited to participate in a number of programs: Truman Scholar Leadership Week, The Summer Institute and The Truman-Albright Fellows Program.

Truman Scholars are required to work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of a foundation-funded graduate degree program as a condition of their receiving Truman funds. Part of the application process is for the students to create policy to address a current issue.

Goldwater Scholarship

LSU students Bruno Beltran of Sulphur, La., and Corey Landry of Denham Springs, La., were awarded the prestigious, nationally competitive Goldwater Scholarship by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, and Zachary Fitzpatrick of Holden, La., and Paxton Turner of Baton Rouge received Honorable Mention. All four students are members of the LSU Honors College; and Beltran, Landry and Fitzpatrick are also LA-STEM Research Scholars.

The Goldwater Scholarship can be used to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Beltran, a computer science and mathematics major who will graduate in May 2015 with degrees from the LSU College of Engineering and the LSU College of Science, hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in applied mathematics. His goal is to conduct research in computational fluid dynamics and to teach at the university level.

Beltran is a first-generation American who represents a multicultural background spanning the harsh economic stratification of his parents’ home country of Peru. His immediate family members vary from doctors to school teachers, and nurses to engineers.

Landry, a biological engineering major who will graduate in May 2014 with a degree from the LSU College of Engineering, hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. His goal is to develop point-of-care diagnostic devices to streamline medical care in refugee camps and developing world clinics.

Landry, along with his family, teaches English classes to the refugee community settled in the Baton Rouge area. He teaches beginning English, while his mother, an analytical chemist, teaches intermediate English; his father, a civil engineer, provides transportation for the families; and his younger sister organizes donation drives.

Fitzpatrick, a biochemistry major who will graduate in May 2014 with a degree from the LSU College of Science, hopes to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in neuroscience. His goal is to conduct translational biomedical research to develop gene and cellular therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases.

Turner, a mathematics major who will graduate in May 2015 with a degree from the LSU College of Science, hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in pure mathematics. His goal is to conduct research in algebraic geometry and teach at the university level.

Udall Scholarship

LSU junior Jonathan Lambert of Madisonville, La., was named an Udall Scholar by the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation. Lambert became LSU’s third Udall Scholar, joining 2007 recipient Nita Clark, a native of Baker, La., and 2010 recipient Anna Normand, a native of Opelousas, La. In addition to Lambert, junior Erin Percevault, a native of Verona, N.J., was named an Udall Honorable Mention.

Lambert, an Honors College student double majoring in coastal environmental science in the School of the Coast & Environment and marine biology in the College of Science, researches storm surge in the Coastal Flooding Research Group of the Department of Geography and Anthropology. Last year, he received the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship.

After graduation in May 2014, Lambert would like to attend graduate school to study environmental science at a program such as the M.A. program in climate and society at Columbia University and ultimately, to obtain a Ph.D. in marine environmental science, concentrating on the impacts of climate change on coastal ecosystems. After his studies, he would like to work for NOAA as a coastal manager at the National Center for Coastal Ocean Science. After gaining this experience, he hopes to return to the academic realm as a research professor, investigating the effects of storm surge.

Percevault, an Honors College junior majoring in landscape architecture in the College of Art & Design, is researching strategies used in response and recovery with particular attention on the performance of ecological systems. After graduating in May 2015, she hopes to participate in the FEMA-unit of AmeriCorps NCCC to gain more firsthand experience of current processes of preparedness, response and recovery. She also plans to pursue a professional licensure as a landscape architect and will return to graduate school in architecture or urban planning to continue research and advise communities in design and sustainable planning.

U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship

LSU junior Logan de La Barre-Hays, a native of Jackson, Miss., was awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship, or CLS, to study a critical language during the summer of 2013. De La Barre-Hays is an Honors College and College of Humanities & Social Sciences student who is double majoring in both international studies and political science with minors in Arabic, history and religious studies. She will graduate from LSU in May 2014.

De La Barre-Hays will spend the summer in Morocco studying Arabic. She hopes that through learning Arabic, she’ll be able to work in the future with organizations like the State Department or Amnesty International to try to remedy some of the humanitarian issues that are happening in the Middle East.

The Critical Language Scholarship program is part of a U.S. government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. It provides fully-funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences. CLS program participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.  

Consistent with the U.S. Department of State’s goals to increase diversity among international educational exchange program participants, the CLS program actively recruits in states and regions of the United States that have been historically under-represented in international exchange and encourages students from diverse backgrounds and academic majors to apply. The CLS program also promotes diversity in the independent review process, and includes readers and panelists from 44 states and 160 institutions, including land-grant public universities, liberal arts colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, Ivy League institutions and community colleges.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Five current or recent LSU students were recognized by the National Science Foundation with Graduate Research Fellowships. These fellowships provide a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 along with a $10,500 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

The following students and recent graduates received the prestigious award, an exceptional honor for the students, their faculty mentors and the university itself:

  • Anthony Correro, a native of Bossier City, La.: graduated in May 2013 with a degree in psychology from the LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, along with Colleges Honors from the LSU Honors College.
  • Trent Key, a native of Baton Rouge: a Ph.D. student in civil engineering in the LSU College of Engineering, Huel Perkins Diversity Fellow and Louis Stokes Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation Bridge to the Doctorate Program scholar.
  • Kameron Kilchrist, a native of Lafayette, La.: graduated in May 2013 with a degree in biological engineering from the LSU College of Engineering, along with Colleges Honors from the LSU Honors College and a LA-STEM Research Scholar.
  • Nicholas Speller, a native of Cartersville, Ga.: a Ph.D. student in chemistry in the LSU College of Science and a Louis Stokes Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation Bridge to the Doctorate Program scholar.
  • Devon Wade, a native of Houston, Texas: graduated from LSU in December 2010 with a double major in African & African-American studies and sociology with a concentration in criminology and a Ronald E. McNair Research Scholar.


NSF is one of the country’s top funding sources for scientific research at the university level. Founded in 1950, part of the independent federal agency’s mission has been to promote the progress of science and advance the health and prosperity of the United States. In support of this mission, the organization each year recognizes outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees with an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. NSF received more than 13,000 submitted applications for the 2013 competition, and made 2,000 award offers.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program

Three LSU students were selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to participate in the Exceptional Research Opportunities Program, or EXROP. Initiated in 2003, EXROP links the resources of HHMI’s Science and Science Education programs to provide selected bright, motivated undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds and from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences with outstanding summer research experiences that encourage them to pursue careers in academic science.

The following students received the $4,500 award and will conduct research this summer as HHMI EXROP scholars:

  • Bruno Beltran, a native of Sulphur, La., and a sophomore majoring in mathematics and computer science, will conduct research at Yale University. Beltran also received the 2013 Goldwater Scholarship.
  • Dante Johnson, a native of Bossier City, La., and a junior majoring in biochemistry, will conduct research at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
  • Cedric Williams, a native of St. Francisville, La., and a sophomore majoring in physics and mathematics, will conduct research at Stanford University.


EXROP students attend meetings at HHMI headquarters where they present their research in a poster session, network with their peers and HHMI scientists, and hear from scientists from various backgrounds and stages in their careers. EXROP students are eligible for continued support in their doctoral education via HHMI’s Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study.

LSU-Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Researchers

Three LSU students will participate in an international summer research opportunity through the LSU-HHMI International Research program. The following students are participating in the program this summer:


  • Zachary Fitzpatrick, a native of Holden, La., will conduct research at the Pasteur Institute in France. Fitzpatrick is a biochemistry junior who is also in the Honors College and a LA-STEM Research Scholar.
  • Arielle Nabatilan, a native of Baton Rouge, will conduct research in Grenoble, France. Nabatilan is a chemical engineering sophomore who is also in the Honors College and a LA-STEM Research Scholar.
  • Isaiah Woodson, a native of Woodbridge, Va., will conduct research in Grenoble, France. Woodson is a chemical engineering senior who is also a LA-STEM Research Scholar.


LSU-HHMI International Research program is supported in part by a grant to LSU from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Precollege and Undergraduate Science Education Program. Advanced LSU undergraduates with a strong research background and students beginning graduate school in fall semesters are eligible for international research opportunities. Possible placements include laboratories in Pasteur-Lille, Leuven, Grenoble or other locations identified with the LSU-HHMI program faculty and staff.
Financial support for this award includes a summer stipend, international travel expenses, and travel within the U.S. to the relevant embassy.

LSU Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising

The LSU Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising was created to assist students in applying for prestigious scholarships and fellowships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Gates, Mitchell, Udall, Truman and Goldwater awards. Students interested in applying for these and other scholarship opportunities or for more information on the office, contact Drew Lamonica Arms, director of fellowship advising, at For more information on the LSU Honors College, visit

About the LA-STEM Research Scholars Program

The Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or LA-STEM, Research Scholars Program is funded by NSF and the Louisiana Board of Regents and managed by the Office of Strategic Initiatives at LSU.

LA-STEM admits students who show great potential to succeed in STEM areas at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and who have distinguished themselves as scholars and leaders. The Office of Strategic Initiatives looks for students who are committed to promoting diversity in the sciences in their undergraduate and graduate careers. Students are required to maintain the highest of academic standards to remain in the program. They also exemplify a strong dedication to mentoring, enthusiasm for diverse cultural experiences and a passion for serving the community. For more information on LA-STEM at LSU, visit

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Thursday, May 30, 2013