The academic community has come to anticipate the inclusion of LSU alongside institutions like Harvard and Yale annually in competing for prestigious national fellowships, coming off a year in which LSU saw all four of its Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship nominees receive the award, its second Harry S. Truman Scholarship winner in three years and yet another of its students named to the USA Today’s All-USA College Academic Team.
Add Micaela DeGruy to that list of success. DeGruy was recently announced as a recipient of the 2009 Truman Scholarship, the third student in the last four years to do so while representing LSU and the Honors College. “It was truly unexpected,” she said. “I still can’t believe it. To be included in a group of people like the previous winners is a true honor. They are incredible leaders and have true passion to make changes. I am humbled to be part of a group of scholars who are going to shake up the status quo.” A mass communication and political science junior, DeGruy has extensive involvement on campus, including Volunteer LSU and as the Director of Students on Target with Student Government, overseeing 2008 Groovin’ on the Grounds. Truman applicants are asked to outline a public service project they would like to implement as part of the application process. DeGruy’s policy proposal detailed a pilot program for a United Nations-funded counseling center for refugees.
DeGruy will be traveling to South Africa this summer to do missionary work. She is still undecided on a graduate school, but after graduating in December, she will use the Truman stipend toward her Master’s degree and Ph.D. in social work. She hopes to continue research in special psychological effects of political violence and to ultimately design cultural therapy centers in third world communities operated by indigenous people.
“I can’t wait to tell future Honors College students about the wonderful opportunities that the college offers,” DeGruy said. “The Honors College facilitates true growth and development. If you work hard every day for something you are passionate about, you will achieve greatness. And the most wonderful part about it is, you will achieve greatness not for yourself, but for the people you will impact.”
Being named to the All-USA College Academic Second Team is the latest in a series of accolades for John Casey. The graduating biological engineering senior received the 2007 Goldwater Scholarship and was also selected to the 2009 Tiger Twelve class. He was named the Most Outstanding Senior of both LSU and the Honors College, and he plans to pursue a doctorate in biological engineering from MIT.
Michael Rhea joined Goh and Casey in being selected to LSU's 2009 Tiger Twelve class and also was named to the 2009 Leadership LSU class. A graduating international studies and political science senior, he has received several scholarships and served as president of Volunteer LSU. Rhea will pursue a law degree at LSU's Paul M. Hebert Law Center after graduating.
"We have outstanding students who do outstanding things that are not only exceptional at LSU but have impact nationally. That makes me proud to be at LSU and proud to be a Tiger.” - Brian Goh
A small, diverse group of Honors College students stole the show at an annual gathering of Louisiana’s collegiate honors programs in February. A contingent of Honors College students, accompanied by Student Activities Coordinator Mark Dochterman and Academic Adviser Jeremy Joiner, traveled to Lafayette to attend the Louisiana College Honors Council (LCHC) Conference, hosted by the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Khya D’Aquilla, Elizabeth Lissy, Megan Miclette, Kathleen McMurray, Sarabeth Rivet and Parker Wishik represented LSU and the Honors College. The conference includes a slate of academic presentations by students to showcase the work being done at the state’s various honors programs. LSU representatives made presentations of various topics, often the subjects of their thesis projects. For instance, D’Aquilla gave a presentation on his studies of Japan’s democratic history, and McMurray detailed her work as director of an adaptation of the Catherine Butterfield play, The Sleeper.
“I attended the LCHC because I thought it would be a good opportunity, and a first experience for me, to present the research project I was working on,” said Lissy, who gave a presentation regarding environmentally-friendly fuels using molecularly imprinted polymers. “It was beneficial for me to see different people talk and give presentations. I was able to determine what works and what doesn't in giving the best presentation you can in only 10 minutes.”
The Honors College program FOCUS (Focusing on College and Ultimate Success) was also the topic of a presentation, and it received great attention and interest from other schools’ contingents. Miclette and Rivet also shared feedback with one student whose presentation detailed a similar program and offered advice to representatives seeking to adapt the FOCUS program to their own campuses.
LSU was a hit outside the classroom as well, interacting with students on a personal basis and providing an air of enthusiasm and energy. Miclette helped kick off the conference’s talent show with a dramatic reading of a poem written by a recent FOCUS participant, and D’Aquilla had all in attendance rolling on the floor with witty tales of his father and a family trip.
The LSU Honors College is excited to be charged with hosting the 2010 LCHC Conference and now has the experience and knowledge necessary to make it a memorable visit to Baton Rouge for Louisiana’s Honors community.
After graduating from the LSU Honors College, Julie Gerdes worked as the Development Director for the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre (BRBT), where she oversaw fundraising and community outreach. After some prodding from Hurricane Gustav (two pine trees through her bedroom), Julie re-located to Washington, D.C., to begin an internship in the Kennedy Center’s Institutional Affairs Department. Highlights of her internship included working on the Kennedy Center’s Arabesque: Arts of the Arab World Festival, the Obamas’ visit to the Center for Alvin Ailey and Ted Kennedy’s Birthday Party. Julie will begin her graduate studies at American University in the fall.