December 21, 2012

As Andrew Woodroof walked across the commencement stage to accept his diploma, the LSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering reached a new milestone – awarding the first Master of Science in coastal and ecological engineering.

Responding to Louisiana’s demand for highly educated and skilled engineers to work on coastal and wetland problems unique to deltaic systems, CEE’s MS degree program was developed in response to the continuous threat of coastal flooding, erosion of Louisiana's barrier islands and loss of coastal wetlands along Louisiana’s unique estuaries and shorelines.

“It’s exciting to be the first to graduate in the program. I’m happy to complete the degree, being the first is a bonus,” Woodroof said. “It’s been fun, and I’m glad that LSU now has a program like this.”

A native of LaPlace, La., Woodroof has always been interested in the coast and wetlands. After graduating with a BS in civil engineering from LSU in 2008, Woodroof realized the opportunities related to coastal restoration and decided to pursue a Master’s degree.

Working full-time while completing his degree, Woodroof realized the benefits of having both practical and theoretical knowledge of the field. Woodroof noted the strengths of the degree program included exposing engineers to coastal sciences through the LSU Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, which has been beneficial for him to apply in the workplace. In addition, the program has continually pushed him to think “outside of the box.”

“Andrew is passionate about coastal and ecological engineering. His dedication, determination and professionalism made him the first graduate of our new Master’s program,” said Q. Jim Chen, CSRS Distinguished Professor in Coastal Engineering, CEE, and Woodroof’s thesis chair. “Andrew’s thesis research on the Holly Beach breakwater system sheds light on the performance of the shoreline protection system under hurricane impacts. I expect that many more students will graduate from our Coastal and Ecological Engineering program to meet the need of coastal protection and restoration in Louisiana and beyond.”  

Woodroof worked closely with his committee including: Chen, Clint Willson, professor, CEE; Heather Smith, assistant professor; CEE; and Kevin Xu, assistant professor, James P. Morgan Distinguished Professorship, LSU Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, to complete his thesis titled, “Determining the Performance of Breakwaters During High Energy Events: A Case Study of the Holly Beach Breakwater System.”

“Dr. Chen opened my eyes to continued learning by asking questions that challenge every step of the coastal engineering process, rather than searching for a simple answer,” Woodroof said.

Students participating in the new degree program are required to complete 24 course credits, one seminar credit and six thesis credits. The curriculum ensures that students complete the program with an in-depth understanding of both coastal and ecological engineering.

“I would absolutely recommend the program to other students,” Woodroof said. “Coastal and ecological engineering is a particularly interesting field to be in right now. Louisiana has a large and unique challenge ahead in regards to coastal protection and restoration, so there are many topics to explore and real world challenges in the field.”

 There are currently both full and part-time students enrolled in the program.

 For more information about the program, click here.


For more information, contact Cassie Thibeaux, College of Engineering, or (225) 578-0092. 

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