May 15, 2009

Four LSU College of Engineering (CoE) students received University Medals for graduating with perfect grade-point averages highest undergraduate grade-point averages. The following University Medalists from Engineering were recognized at a special ceremony at the LSU Faculty Club on May 14: Santhana Krishnan Balaji, Kevin Hanegan, Jacob Scheibal, and Yunan Yuan.

The LSU CoE also honors those graduates who have earned the highest grade point average in the CoE. Dr. Edward McLaughlin, Dean Emeritus, presented the Edward McLaughlin Dean's Medal of Excellence to those same four graduates who earned a perfect 4.00 grade point average. The award commemorates McLaughlin's 28-year LSU career as professor, researcher, department chair and dean.

Recipients of the 2009 University Medals and College of Engineering Edward McLaughlin Dean's Medal of Excellence:

Santhana Krishnan Balaji, a mechanical engineering graduate from Bangalore, India, and son of Subramanian and Indira Santhana Krishnan. Balaji attended Sharjah Indian School in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Reflecting on his years at LSU, Balaji remembers being late for class, getting caught in thunderstorms, and the beauty of the land and skies here at LSU. He also like stated "Everything that I have done is because of God's grace...the very fact that I am graduating today is by God's grace and God's grace alone."

Balaji will continue his education at Stanford University where he will pursue graduate studies in Mechanical Engineering.

Kevin Hanegan, a civil engineering graduate from Baton Rouge, LA, and son of Jeanne and Tim Hanegan. Hanegan attended Catholic High School in Baton Rouge. One of his favorite activities at LSU involved racing a concrete canoe that was cracked in half but, true to engineering, was held together with duct tape. Hanegan credits Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for his motivation for pursuing a civil engineering degree, getting involved in coastal restoration and ultimately coming to LSU.

Hanegan's future plans include a Masters program in Coastal Engineering at Delft Technology University in the Netherlands.

Jacob Scheibal, a biological engineering graduate from Mandeville, LA, and son of Ellen and Jeff Scheibal. Scheibal attended Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville. He claims his best LSU memory is the 2007 football victory over Florida. One of Scheibal's most interesting activities while being a LSU student was volunteering in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center (PMAC) at two in the morning after Hurricane Katrina.

Scheibal's future plans include attending medical school at the University of Alabama Birmingham.

Yunan Yuan, a computer engineering graduate, came to Baton Rouge from China at the age of 16. Daughter to Qingzhong Yuan and Jinhui Liu, Yuan attended McKinley Senior High School in Baton Rouge, LA. She recalls volunteering at the PMAC with Hurricane Gustav where she appreciated the devotion toward others and the community. Yuan's involvement in interesting activities at LSU included learning hip-hop dancing, building a robot, and inventing a network emulator for ten gigabytes per second networks at LSU CCT.

Yuan hopes to close the communication gap between America and China and plans to work for Microsoft and will then attend Harvard Law School.

Article by Mimi LaValle, LSU College of Engineering, 225-578-5706,

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