March 25, 2011

Between classes, homework and studying, Madeline Jones, a sophomore in industrial engineering, has LSU volleyball practice five days a week, two hours a day. Given her demanding schedule as a student-athlete and the rigorous curriculum in LSU’s College of Engineering (CoE), making the fall SEC academic honor roll was extra special. 

“It’s really nice to be recognized because I put a lot of work into school, and it’s hard to balance with volleyball,” said Jones.

Balancing an engineering course load with college athletics requires tremendous dedication. With 6 a.m. practices and 13 credit hours under her belt this semester, every moment counts. Jones schedules nearly every hour of her day in a daily planner, from sleeping to eating to studying. While traveling for away games, she watches videos of class lectures that she missed and completes homework assignments. Jones also devotes her entire Sunday to schoolwork.

Jones is one of many engineering students who balance academics and athletics. Engineering students participate in many facets of LSU athletics, from the football and volleyball teams to the LSU Cheerleaders, Tiger Girls and many more. 

As a chemical engineering student and LSU Tiger Girl, sophomore Katherine Frederickson juggles practice and workouts five days a week with schoolwork. The key to her success is planning activities well in advance. To make the most of her time, she reviews notes between classes and enjoys studying with friends.

Finding time and energy for school and sports is difficult, especially for student-athletes in the CoE. The engineering curriculum holds students to high standards in order to prepare them to be immediately successful after graduation.

“LSU’s College of Engineering is the flagship resource for technical talent in the state and gulf coast region,” said Warren Waggenspack, associate dean for academic programs. “We are committed to graduating engineers who solve society’s challenging problems and who improve our quality of life by transforming ideas into reality.”  

For these engineering student-athletes, challenging themselves on the court and in the classroom is simply a way of life. They pride themselves on their devotion to academic excellence, school pride and athletic competition. Participating in LSU athletics and maintaining good grades are equally satisfying.

“Being an engineer and an LSU cheerleader are both rewarding in their own way. For school, you get your good grades, and you’re working toward your degree. And for cheerleading, it’s something that’s fun for me and relaxing,” said Benjamin Brickner, a senior in electrical engineering and LSU cheerleader. 

“We applaud students who are representing the College of Engineering and LSU both in the classroom and in athletic competition,” said Waggenspack. “An ability to balance the significant demands of both worlds and dedication to reaching their highest potential bodes well for their becoming the next generation of leaders for industry, government and all walks of life.”

Engineering student-athletes’ passion for athletics and academics goes hand-in-hand. Brittany Day, sophomore, civil engineering, explained the best part about being an engineering student and an LSU cheerleader is “doing what you love and learning about what you want to do after college.”

Similarly, Frederickson says balancing her schedule between dancing and engineering is incredibly gratifying. This summer, she’ll divide her time between an engineering internship with Chevron Corp. in California and practice with the Tiger Girls.

“I’ve found success in what I’m doing, and I really enjoy it,” Frederickson said. “I love dancing, and I like doing well in my classes. I’m my biggest competitor.”  


Article by Aariel Charbonnet, College of Engineering Public Relations Graduate Assistant

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