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2012 Honors College Outstanding Students Named

Each year, the LSU Honors College selects two freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors, and two seniors for the Honors College Outstanding Student Awards. Here are the students who have been selected as this year’s Honors College Outstanding Students:


Victor Lashley, Jr., Business Marketing senior 

Victor Lashley

Honors College Advocate and Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) Scholar Victor Lashley, Jr. spent winter break on a tour of international businesses in Europe. Since returning, he has completed his thesis research on “Marketing Mainstream Financial Services to Baton Rouge’s Unbanked Population: Assessments and Recommendations for the Bank on Baton Rouge Initiative” and placed in the National Collegiate Sales Competition.

During his four years at LSU, Lashley has been named a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Outstanding Voluneer, an Honors College Service Award Winner, a National Business Educators Association 2011 Annual Convention Guest Panelist, a David and Jeannie Price Scholar, a William L. Jenkins Honors College Scholar, a Walton Family Foundation Scholar, and a J.P. Morgan Chase Louisiana Smart Start Scholar.  He has attended international business seminars in London, Brussels, and Paris; worked at the State Capitol; served as a policy intern for the Equity and Inclusion Campaign in Washington, D.C.; and has worked for four years as an LSU Liaison.  After graduating, Lashley will relocate to New York, NY where he has accepted a position with J.P. Morgan.


Stewart W. Humble, Biological Sciences seniorStewart Humble

Stewart Humble has served as an Honors College Peer Leader, an undergraduate research assistant for the LSU Department of Chemistry and Department of Biological Sciences, a student assistant for the Department of Chemistry, and as a Parent Orientation Leader for LSU’s Spring Invitational.  His campus involvement also includes his roles of LSU Ambassador, Vice President of the Tiger Athletic Foundation Collegiate Club, Treasurer for Alpha Epsilon Delta, Honors College Welcome Leader, and Community Bound Service Plunge Group Leader. 

Humble, a Communication Across the Curriculum Distinguished Communicator, has received numerous honors and awards for his service to the University, including being named to the LSU Tiger Twelve, Class of 2012 and receiving the LSU Honors College Outstanding Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior awards.  He has traveled to Cape Town and St. Lucia on the first Honors College trip to South Africa, coordinated and participated in several service projects, and volunteered with Volunteers in Public Schools and Boys and Girls Club.  Humble was awarded the University Medal for earning a perfect 4.0 GPA and College Honors with completion of a thesis entitled  "Synthesis and Cellular Investigations of the 131-Lysyl Derivative of Chlorin e6" under the direction of Professor Kevin Smith.  Humble plans to attend medical school.  


Catherine Fontenot, Biological Sciences juniorCatherine Fontenot

Basile, La. native Catherine Fontenot is a LASAL junior who currently works as an Honors House Resident Assistant (RA) and as an undergraduate research assistant in the Comparative Genomics laboratory of Boyd Professor Mark Batzer, who studies mobile-element-related genetic variation.  A member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, Honors College Advocates, and Honors College Student Council, Fontenot is very involved in giving back to the LSU and Baton Rouge community.

Fontenot has studied abroad in China and in the United Kingdom, has presented her undergraduate research at forums, and will soon have a publication under her belt.  She has also volunteered with Volunteer Health Corps, Volunteers in Public Schools, and the Equity and Inclusion Campaign to respectively assist physicians during appointments, tutor elementary school students on a weekly basis, and confront persistent poverty and inequity during the Gulf Coast recovery process.  Fontenot said she plans to use what she has learned through the Honors College to apply to medical school and spend her life helping the under-resourced. 


Christine A. Derbins, Mathematics and Mass Communications juniorChristine Derbins

Recipient of the 2011 TAF Female Scholar Athlete of the Year award and the 2011 Wally Pontiff, Jr. Academic Excellence Award, Christine Derbins has gained much recognition for excelling both in the classroom and on the track.  A member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Tau Alpha, Phi Sigma Theta, and Alpha Lamba Delta, Derbins has performed research under Dr. Oporowski, Dr. Bassidy Dembele in the SMILE Lab, and Dr. Stephen Shipman in the LSU Mathematics Department.  She is an Honors College Advocate, a Manship School of Mass Communication Ambassador, and a volunteer counselor at THE PHONE who has studied abroad at the University of Nottingham in England and Tongji University in China. 

This summer, she is working as a DUKE TIP Teaching Assistant at Duke University, where she is assisting in teaching two courses on Mobius Strips and Cryptology to gifted 8-10th grade students.  Upon graduation, Derbins plans to enroll in a Ph.D. program for mathematics and focus her research in graph theory and its applications.  In addition to teaching, she hopes to head undergraduate math societies and women in mathematics clubs in order to engage students further in their studies and promote underrepresented groups in math. 

Kalpanee Gunasingha, Chemical Engineering junior (not pictured)

Kalpanee Gunasingha has interned both at Chevron Corporation Facilities Engineering and at Duke University Health System’s Occupational & Environmental Safety Office, where she evaluated risks of radiation overexposure to medical patients.  Currently, she is working as an Accounting Student Worker for Louisiana Sea Grant, the treasurer for the LSU Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (for which she will serve as president in the fall), a member of Communication Across the Curriculum’s Student Advisory Council, and a Diversity Ambassador for the LSU College of Engineering. 

Gunasingha has also worked as a day counselor and mentor for Marathon Exploration Camp and served as a science fair mentor for NSF Grant.  She currently volunteers for the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team and the Baton Rouge Center for World Affairs and serves as a peer mentor for “ENGR 1050: Introduction to Engineering”


Corey Landry, Biological Engineering sophomoreCorey Landry

Corey Landry is an Honors LASAL Scholar and a LA-STEM Research Scholar whose research on biocompatible nanofiber coatings for implantable medical devices led him to receive a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention.  Landry also serves as an Honors College Advocate and as an English tutor to the growing community of religious and political refugees placed in Baton Rouge by the United Nations.

This summer and fall, Landry will be participating in a research internship at the Interuniversity Microelectronics Center (IMEC) in Leuven, Belgium, utilizing his research experience to develop a biocompatible coating capable of improving and sustaining the function of neural probes used in both fundamental neuroscience and clinical treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. After obtaining a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, he plans to pursue a career that combines biomedical research, engineering design, international collaboration, and community service.


Jacob R. Desmond, Mathematics sophomore  Jacob Desmond

LA-STEM Research Scholar Jacob Desmond considers his most significant accomplishments to apply to two areas of the Honors College’s themes: research and study abroad.  Desmond, who has managed to travel to Europe six times, began researching with Dr. Stanley in the Chemistry Department his first semester at LSU.  When he switched his major to mathematics the next semester, he started working with Dr. Neubrander on Differential-Difference Equations, participating in the Office of Strategic Initiatives REU at LSU that summer and made considerable advances in his research. 

Currently, Desmond is in the process of writing a paper conveying his research results for publication.  He is spending his summer in Leipzig at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research, sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Next year, he will be studying in Tübingen and working on his Honors Thesis. 


Catherine Lowe, French freshman Catherine Lowe


Honors College Advocate and LASAL Scholar Catherine Lowe is a member of Gamma Beta Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta, and LSU Democrats.  She has worked with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Households of Faith Religious Education, and the Charis Retreat Team. Lowe has also volunteered as a tutor for Volunteers in Public Schools and the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, where she tutored three children from the Congo twice a week in various subjects. 

Lowe is a recipient of the Wallonie-Bruxelles International Stages d’ete en Belgique, a full scholarship for a three-week French immersion, cultural studies, and French education program at the University of Liege in Belgium this summer. 


Grace Reinke, Political Science and English freshman (not pictured)

Atlanta native Grace Reinke is a LASAL Scholar who serves as treasurer for LSU’s Feminists in Action, as a member of LSU’s Spectrum LGBTQ Alliance, and as a Resident Assistant for LSU Residential Life.  She volunteers for the Baton Rouge youth Coalition as a mentor to the BRYC fellows and for Volunteers in Public Schools as a Reading Buddy.  This summer, she will serve as the Creative Writing Seminar Leader for Focusing on College and Unlimited Success (FOCUS), an Honors College organization devoted to expanding opportunities for high-achieving students from under-resourced high schools in Baton Rouge. 

“In the Honors College, I have found an environment in which I can express my thoughts in creative, productive, and lasting ways,” she said. “I plan to continue to work very hard toward the goal of not just graduation, but also a truly enriching and well-rounded experience.” 


Story by Elizabeth Clausen, LSU Honors College

For more information, contact the Honors College at 225-578-8831

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