October 3, 2012

For Lafayette, La., native Le’Kendra Fusilier, attending the Marathon Exploration Camp for Inspiring Tomorrow’s Engineers (XCITE) solidified her decision to become an engineer.

Fusilier attended the program when she was in 11th grade because she knew she wanted to attend LSU and major in engineering but was unsure of what type of engineer she would be.

 “The XCITE program definitely helped me make my decision,” Fusilier said.  “It made engineering my number one pick by showing me the benefits that come with an engineering degree. I decided to major in petroleum engineering because I wanted to set myself up for a great future, and I know an engineering degree will get me where I ultimately want to be in life.” 

XCITE is a pre-college program designed to introduce female high school students to LSU and the field of engineering.  Campers attend classes, participate in experiments, work on individual and group projects and connect with industry professionals. 

 “The XCITE experience has taught me how to network with other women who share the same interests,” Fusilier said. “It also provided me with an inside view of how LSU’s College of Engineering operates.”

As a camper, Fusilier spent time in classrooms around the engineering school and explored LSU’s campus. She also attended math and science classes taught by faculty members and some camp counselors. 

Through the camp, Fusilier also connected with the College of Engineering staff, which she believes most students don’t really have the opportunity to do.

“XCITE helped me network more with the engineering college’s staff,” Fusilier said. “I would’ve never known many of them if I hadn’t gone to XCITE. It gave me the upper hand.”

Since the camp, Fusilier has embraced life as an engineering student, joining programs such as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). She has been involved in the SpringFest Minority Recruitment Weekend and served as the associate chair of Leadership. She is currently a McNair Scholarship recipient, which allows her to work with graduate students and professors to complete undergraduate research.

Fusilier believes that it’s important for more women and minorities to become engineers.

“We’re [women and minorities] underrepresented,” Fusilier said. “Companies are looking for women and minorities to show their skills and be engineers.”

The Office for Diversity Programs offers pre-college programs to engage future diverse students, faculty, staff and partners in meaningful initiatives to increase engineering and cultural awareness recruitment and retention. The Office’s mission is to facilitate and enhance the College of Engineering’s efforts to increase participation and graduation rates of women and underrepresented minority students and to recruit and retain high quality women and underrepresented minority faculty.

For more information on XCITE, click here.


Article written by Elise Bernard, communications intern. For more information, contact Cassie Arceneaux, College of Engineering, carcen6@lsu.edu or (225) 578-0092. 

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