December 1, 2013

Dedicated to the process of creating, engineers solve society’s problems, make ideas reality and generate prosperity that improves the quality of life. The "LSU Engineer" possesses those attributes and has a reputation as a hardworking individual and a solid team leader with a strong work ethic. Resembling those leadership qualities, LSU biological engineering and Honors College student, Linda J. Cross, has received a 2013 CCELL "Happy" award for outstanding community service.

"Being a recipient of the Happy Award has shown me that my service accomplishments have not gone unnoticed, and has encouraged me to continue serving others," said Cross. "Giving back to others allows strong relationships to be built between communities."

Cross has as taken three service-learning classes at LSU, in which capacity she has served as a VIPS Reading Friend and has collaborated with teachers at the LSU University Lab School to bring interactive demonstrations of engineering to K-12 students. A very active volunteer, she has participated in more than 25 service projects.

How has your LSU engineering experience translated to encourage others to explore engineering?

Creating and teaching a science class for 5th grade students at the University Lab School showed me that learning does extend beyond the classroom. My group guided the students to learn on their own by investigating science with commonplace objects."

What rewards have your service learning experience provided?

This semester I helped lay down safe ground cover for a playground build at the University Presbyterian Church. It was eye-opening to be involved in the building phase after designing a playground in a service-learning course my freshman year. As a Reading Buddy during the design course, I learned more about the needs of public schools in Baton Rouge and that I could actually alleviate some of them.

In FOCUS, an LSU organization which creates a two week college immersion program for students from under-resourced high schools, I realized the merit, yet lack of music and arts programs within Baton Rouge high schools and served as a music seminar leader and then co-president. I have served in FOCUS because I want to allow others to have the opportunity to have the rewarding experiences that I have had with similar programs to the ones cut from their schools.

What has been the outcome of your community service engagement?

Serving the community has taught me to identify needs and create resourceful solutions. My positions have not only taught me awareness of intercultural and educational issues, they also taught me adaptability, organizational strategies, communication skills, teamwork and what dedication to a cause really means. My service learning work is important to me because I have realized those who serve and those who are served all learn from each other.

Cross was among 12 LSU faculty, students and community partners recently awarded with the third annual set of CCELL “Happy” Awards for excellence in service-learning. LSU’s Center for Community Engagement, Learning, and Leadership, or CCELL, “Happy” Awards for excellence in service-learning.

In addition to BAE’s Cross, the 2013 Happy Award recipients include: BREC, community partner; Ciera Duronslet and Marshall Moulis, PhD students, chemistry; Joyce Jackson, associate professor, geography and anthropology; Debra Kopcso and Stephanie Kurtz, instructors, mathematics; Kevin Lewis, supervisor, Operation Pathways Division, The NHP Foundation;  Chaiss Matthews, Honors College student, biological sciences; Andrea Morris, associate professor, foreign languages and literatures; Jeffrey Nunn, Andrew Clinton Pereboom alumni professor, geology and geophysics; and Mary Stein, assistant library director, East Baton Rouge Library.

CCELL promotes community engagement by serving as a clearinghouse for service-learning pedagogy and community partnerships; promotes learning by informing and helping to coordinate planning, research, pedagogy and assessment associated with service-learning and other innovative student learning initiatives; and develops student leadership skills by facilitating service-learning and related student initiatives. For more information on CCELL, visit


Mimi LaValle, College of Engineering, or (225) 578-5706. 

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