December 3, 2009

Support will expand career opportunities for students

The future of engineering and nuclear physics in Louisiana recently got a boost when Entergy and the Entergy Charitable Foundation awarded approximately $250,000 to Louisiana State University's Forever LSU campaign for multiple initiatives.

The gift will allow LSU to strengthen the power systems program in electrical engineering and jumpstart a nuclear engineering and health physics program jointly in the College of Engineering and the College of Basic Sciences. The gift is aimed at encouraging students to pursue related careers in nuclear and power systems production.

"This is a strategic investment in the future work force of Louisiana to make our state more attractive for energy research, development and manufacturing," said Renae Conley, president and chief executive officer of Entergy Louisiana, LLC and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C. "The students who graduate from this program will be an incredible resource not only for Entergy, but also for businesses and industry throughout Louisiana."

"We're extremely thankful to Entergy for this generous grant to help us better equip Louisiana State University's students for future careers right here at home," said Chancellor Michael V. Martin. "Entergy's gift will have a lasting impact on our students as they prepare for challenging careers in the utility industry."

A portion of the gift will establish the Entergy Doctoral Scholars Program in Power Systems to support faculty and research for power education in LSU's Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE). This investment in power research will enable the ECE Department to recruit the very best to LSU.

"Louisiana is a key area for the energy industry, highlighting a pressing need for engineering graduates," said Dr. Richard Koubek, dean of the College of Engineering. "LSU's College of Engineering intends to address this need with full force and is grateful to Entergy, as we partner to enhance research and career opportunities in electrical and nuclear engineering."

Entergy has also donated four power simulators for use in the ECE Power Systems Laboratory. The power simulators will allow students to visualize interruption or surges in power systems and observe how the control hardware interacts with the power system under various failure scenarios - including lightning strikes, natural disasters or even terrorist attacks.

"ECE Campaign Steering Committee Member and President/CEO of Entergy Texas, Joe Domino, has been extremely valuable in establishing the Entergy-LSU partnership," said Dr. Jorge L. Aravena, ECE interim chairman. "Additionally, several Entergy executives, some who are graduates of LSU's Electrical Engineering program, have provided their expertise and knowledge to assist ECE in creating a strong foundation for LSU's expanding Power Program."

In addition, the award will facilitate the design and implementation of a work force development program provided through a unique collaboration between LSU's departments of Physics & Astronomy and Mechanical Engineering (ME). The program prepares students for a variety of careers in the field of nuclear power production. Producing electricity using nuclear energy is becoming more relevant as the benefits to customers-such as lower fuel costs and less impact on the environment-become more obvious.

"The partnership between Entergy and LSU reflected by this gift to bolster LSU's workforce development initiatives in Nuclear Power creates opportunities for the future out of the current times of economic strain," said Dr. Dimitris E. Nikitopoulos, ME interim chairman. "We thank Entergy for its vision and look forward to working together, now and in the future, for the benefit of the company, LSU, the citizens of the State of Louisiana and the Nation."

"By putting in place local programs like this, we're preparing area students for careers in a growing industry," said John Herron, president and chief executive officer of Entergy Nuclear, Inc. "Young people in Louisiana need to know that Entergy is a leader in the power industry, and that there are many opportunities for future careers in their own backyard."

The availability of properly trained graduates is invaluable for the utility industry, where a large percentage of the work force is nearing retirement. To guarantee a steady supply of qualified replacements, Entergy has increased efforts to renew interest in engineering-related fields and work with schools to expand degree programs.

The initiative, which supports Entergy's corporate commitment to improving education, has a broader impact as well.

"By providing the building blocks to better learning and awareness," said Patty Riddlebarger, director of corporate responsibility for Entergy Corporation, "we are improving the lives of our customers and helping create a stronger Louisiana."

Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $13 billion and approximately 14,700 employees. For more information, visit entergy.com.

The Forever LSU campaign is an historic effort by the LSU community to attain more than $750 million in support for the university by the end of 2010. As of November 2009, the total amount from all sources given to the Forever LSU campaign exceeds $659 million. To find out how you can join the campaign for LSU's future, visit www.foreverlsu.org.

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



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