Louisiana Tech graduates largest class in University history
Louisiana Tech University graduated its largest class in University history during two commencement ceremonies this spring.
A total of 1,061 graduates walked across the stage at the Thomas Assembly Center – 909 undergraduates received associate’s and bachelor’s degrees and 152 earned master’s and doctoral degrees.
During his commencement address, Dr. Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System, advised graduates to remember that they leave Louisiana Tech prepared for any challenges because they have degrees from one of the finest institutions in the world.
“You will be doing work that generations before have never heard or dreamed of, but you’re prepared because you have a college degree and it’s from Louisiana Tech,” he said. “But don’t forget to keep learning.”
During the morning ceremony, the University presented an honorary Doctor of Science degree to Craig Spohn, executive director of the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City.
West Monroe native John Allen was awarded the Tower Medallion in the morning graduation ceremony. The Tower Medallion accompanies induction into Louisiana Tech’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni and is the highest honor a graduate can receive. Allen, a 1973 Louisiana Tech graduate, was named the University’s Alumnus of the Year in 2012. During the ceremony, Allen’s son Chance also earned the Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Business.
Jenkins, ’18, serves in Ghana on education fellowship
If she kept a journal during her three-week summer stay on West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, McKenna Jenkins should have an easy time writing her back-to-school “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” essay in September.
A May 2018 elementary education graduate of Louisiana Tech, Jenkins is part of a 25-person team of educators who worked in Ghana elementary schools this summer to help local teachers improve their teaching practices. The professional development mission is a partnership with the district education office in Takoradi — one of the largest cities (almost 500,000 people) in Ghana’s coastal region — Limited Resource Teacher Training (LRTT), and Sabre Trust.
LRTT is a global organization based in the United States but serving the professional development needs of elementary school teachers in 11 countries on four continents; Sabre Trust is a relatively young charity dedicated to building local schools and brighter futures in Ghana.
Jenkins, 21, from Loranger in southeast Louisiana, started her first teaching job in August at Crestworth Elementary in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Tech professor receives engineering communication award
Dr. Kirk St. Amant, Professor and Eunice C. Williamson Endowed Chair in Technical Communication at Louisiana Tech recently received the Alfred N. Goldsmith Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Communication from the IEEE Professional Communication Society (IEEE PCS).
The IEEE PCS is one of the world’s largest professional organizations dedicated to technical and professional communication, and it is one of the 39 member societies of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). St. Amant received the Goldsmith Award at the IEEE PCS’s 2018 annual conference held July 23-25 in Toronto, Ontario.
The IEEE PCS’s mission is to “foster a community dedicated to understanding and promoting effective communication in engineering, scientific, and other technical environments.” The Alfred N. Goldsmith Award is given to scholars who have achieved “distinction in the field of engineering communication as evidenced by a significant reputation in a field associated with engineering communication.”
St. Amant, who is on the faculty of English at Louisiana Tech, is a Research Faculty member with Tech’s Center for Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Science (CBERS) and is on the steering committee for Tech’s Visual Integration of Science Through Art (VISTA) program. His area of research expertise is international and intercultural communication with a focus on international health and medical communication, usability and the design of technology for global audiences, and internationalizing online education.
LTRI serves as Louisiana’s thought leader in strategic deterrence
The Louisiana Tech Research Institute (LTRI) team visited Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas, to perform a series of interviews with Air Force personnel to gather informational reports and perspectives from squadron leadership. Dyess is home to the Seventh Bomb Wing and flies the supersonic B-1B bomber.
This summer assessment initiative serves to inform curriculum development on behalf of the Air Force Global Strike Command’s (AFGSC) Innovation, Analyses and Leadership Development directorate.
LTRI is now a key partner to AFGSC and its nuclear deterrence mission. For this summer and fall, LTRI has embarked on a project to assess, design, and deliver a series of structured interactive workshop forums to support the AFGSC “Airman Leadership and Deterrence Development” program. These workshops will help AFGSC’s squadron leaders around the world gain greater insight into the current geopolitical environment, national defense policy, and strategic deterrence theory. Commanders will be able to better develop and apply a contextualized understanding of their strategic impact on our nation’s defense.
LTRI is a non-profit partner of Louisiana Tech University that seeks to connect the resources of the university with the needs of AFGSC and the nuclear enterprise. The Institute enables Louisiana Tech University to secure new opportunities to support our nation’s security needs, provides the Air Force and AFGSC with “next-door” access to a dedicated applied research center and strategic intellectual thought, builds focused competencies to attract talent and industry, and serves as the official home for deterrence-, cyber-, defense-, and intelligence-related education, training, and workforce development programs for North Louisiana.
Maker space and design conference creates more opportunity for students, teachers
A weeklong mix of conference and summer enrichment camp in Louisiana Tech’s College of Education prepared early childhood educators to be more effective through integrated learning exercises and ideas when teaching problem-solving skills in their classrooms.
Teachers engaged in STEAM-learning projects during the camp.
“We want to get back to being real; we were into intellectual for a while, but this way of teaching is more about developing a more well-founded individual,” said Benjamin Gramann, a Portland, Oregon-based designer/architect who is leading the conference for the second consecutive year here. “We don’t do digital. It’s all analog. It’s creating. Bending paper. Back to the real thing and the original way of problem-solving, by repeating something in a different way.”
Many of the teachers in this week’s conference are back from last year’s first-time conference, including STEAM teammates Joyce Powell, a librarian, and first and second grade teacher Heather Hubbard from Monroe City Schools. Last year they used design activities they’d learned at last summer’s conference as lessons to go with stories they read with their young students. One story was about super storms: using materials like Legos or wooden planks and blocks, the students built structures to withstand the heavy winds of a tornado or hurricane, a timely lesson that followed the reality of Hurricane Harvey in late August, and early September 2017.
“We borrowed one of the large fans from our custodian and put the structures in front of that,” Hubbard said. “Two actually remained intact. So we learned from that. Some of these students were familiar with flooding since they’d been exposed to it a couple of years ago in the spring in Monroe, so we were able to talk about that and involve that in our lessons too.”
Much of the instruction involves “stringing together different activities until you have a more finalized product,” Gramann said. “We trace, draw, build, document, and then start over again. We’re creating, teaching them to create.”
More than 30 early childhood and elementary teachers from the Monroe City School District and both the Lincoln and Union Parish school boards took part in the training with Louisiana Tech Science and Technology Education Center (SciTEC) professors, specialists from the Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana, and Gramann. The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) collaboration is possible because of the Louisiana Systemic Initiatives Program (LaSIP), established during 1991-92 to improve mathematics and science education through a $10 million National Science Foundation grant combined with matching support fund dollars from the Board of Regents and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
During the past year, SciTEC, in partnership with a number of colleagues from colleges across the campus, has helped provide support to more than 20 STEAM-focused outreach projects and programs serving students and teachers from the PK-16 levels from the region and from around the nation.
Louisiana Tech students earn 12 LaSPACE assistantships
Twelve Louisiana Tech University students have been awarded coveted student research assistantships from the Louisiana Space Consortium (LaSPACE).
Three graduate students earned assistantships through the LaSPACE Graduate Student Research Assistance (GSRA) program, and nine Tech undergraduate students earned assistantships through the LaSPACE Undergraduate Research Assistantships (LURA) program.
Haley Barnett (doctoral student in molecular sciences and nanotechnology), Hannah Green (master of engineering, biomedical) and Zachary Swart (master of molecular sciences and nanotechnology) were awarded assistantships through the LaSPACE Graduate Student Research Assistance (GSRA) program. Barnett, Green and Swart earned the awards for their biomedical research relevant to both aerospace studies and LaSPACE human resource development objectives. LaSPACE issues a maximum of five GSRA awards each year.
Undergraduate students in a variety of programs received LURA awards. John Aguillard (electrical engineering), Evan Glynn (mechanical engineering), Rachel Hegab (biomedical engineering), Kristen Hutson (biology), Madison Padgett (biomedical engineering), Bethany Perez (biomedical engineering), India Pursell (biology), Kaitlynn Willis (biology) and Trevett Young (chemical engineering) earned assistantships through the program. These nine students received their awards for research that they will continue to engage in with faculty on NASA-related aerospace, space sciences and aeronautics research.
“It is very exciting to see so many of our students apply for and being awarded LaSPACE student research assistantships,” Dr. Mary Caldorera-Moore, LaSPACE Louisiana Tech campus representative and assistant professor of biomedical engineering said. “The LaSPACE undergraduate research assistantship (LURA) provides them with their first opportunity to gain invaluable research experience.”
The LaSPACE Consortium is a member of a nationwide organization that partners NASA with colleges, universities and other space related institutions to promote scientific research, workforce development and public outreach to develop and strengthen long-term research capabilities that will make significant contributions to the research and technology Mission Directorates of NASA.