October 19, 2007

ExxonMobil hosted a recognition dinner for the ExxonMobil Diversity in Engineering Scholars and Mentors on Friday, September 21st, at Juban’s restaurant in Baton Rouge. In 2003, ExxonMobil established a five year, $250,000 scholarship program to benefit LSU engineering undergraduates and assist LSU in attracting talented minority students to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. The target group consists of incoming freshmen, having an ACT score of at least 26, who have graduated in the top 25 percent of their high school class. These ExxonMobil Scholars are given a renewable annual scholarship stipend of up to $5,000, granted they remain full-time students in the College, while maintaining at least a 3.0 grade point average.

LSU College of Engineering Dean Zaki Bassiouni thanked ExxonMobil for supporting LSU’s diversity services and emphasized the impact of this program with the followings statistics: “The five-year retention rate in the College of Engineering is 41 percent, but retention among these ExxonMobil Scholars is 85 percent. It is obvious that these scholarships play a strong role in recruiting and retaining great students.”

Scholars also receive support through the Mentor-Protégé program which pairs students with ExxonMobil personnel who provide guidance in academics and career aspirations. Academic planning and monitoring, as well as regular meetings with academic counselors, are additional aspects of the program which enable continuous support for academic progress and professional development.

Louisa Hayward, Manager of Human Resources, said, “ExxonMobil’s partnership with LSU, now in its fifth year, is the story of a combination between an opportunity, a vision, and a plan. You can see from Dean Bassiouni’s statistics that there is power in partnership. We are working to ensure that engineering is open to anyone. If you get an engineering degree from LSU, you will take a key step toward success.” Hayward continued, “This program allows us to invest in our own backyard, and give our own employees the opportunity to make a difference and help the company invest in its future.”

Del Dugas, Mentor Coordinator, encouraged students to “Tap into the mentor relationships. It will serve you well to link with engineers who truly care about your success. At some point, you will become mentors and the engineering chain keeps growing.”  Marilyn Veillon, EM Mentor, agreed by saying, “the mentor program gives these students an inside connection to the engineering field.” Andrea Battley, EM Mentor summed up the benefits by stating, “Giving back is something that is important for me to support future engineers.”

Mark Boudreaux, Corporate Manager of Citizenship and Community Investments, echoed Hayward’s statement, “From the earliest days, the University, the community and our company have grow and prospered together. Today, ExxonMobil has more than 800 current employees who earned their degrees at LSU.”

Boudreaux continued, “As you would expect, we have learned some valuable lessons through the years and I would like to reiterate some observations from Harry Longwell, former Executive Vice President of ExxonMobil, as he stated important qualities of success at a recent LSU commencement:

1. Unquestionable ethical behavior; stick to your principles and ethics

2. Proprietary interest in your job

3. Take an aggressive but safe and healthy approach in all activities

4. Remember – no matter how smart you are – there is no substitute for hard work and attention to detail

5. Make a value-added contribution while working a s a team player

6. Improve communication skills, both verbal and written

7. Know strengths and weaknesses

8. Communicate your career goals to the appropriate people

9. Have the right priorities

10. Have fun

The true measure of success is being good at what you do and really enjoying your career.”

The following LSU ExxonMobil Scholars were honored at the event: Olugabenga Ajala, Alexander Chretien, Johnathan Hills, Mariel Losso, Jerrad Rolon, Brian Taylor, Judith Udeke, and Daniel Underwood.

Article by Mimi LaValle, LSU College of Engineering, (225) 578-5706, mlavall@lsu.edu

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