December 19, 2013

The importance of communication skills for graduates entering today’s highly-competitive workforce is critical to a candidate’s potential for career success, according to a 2013 report by The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success.

The report showed that 93 percent of employer respondents in the AAC&U survey agreed on the significance for a graduate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems. More than 75 percent of employers expressed the need for more emphasis on five key areas including critical thinking, complex problem-solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge in real-world settings. The results also showed that an electronic portfolio would be useful to employers in ensuring that job applicants have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their company or organization.

The “LSU Engineer” exemplifies those characteristics and three Fall 2013 College of Engineering graduates have achieved the “Distinguished Communicator” distinction, preparing them for today’s communication-centered marketplace.

“The distinguished communicator program benefits students both in and outside the classroom,” said Ryckur Schuttler, 2013 LSU Distinguished Communicator. “The communication-intensive courses you take are great, but the networking opportunities, experiences, and friendships you make during the journey are what really sets the program apart.”  

As part of LSU's 282nd commencement exercises, Kevin Louth, James Parker, and Ryckur Schuttler from LSU’s College of Engineering were honored with the LSU's Distinguished Communicator Award, the first program of its kind in the nation. Along with these engineering students, two additional students representing numerous majors earned the distinction.

“Since the phrase ‘I'm unique’ doesn't really get you too far these days, being able to show exactly how your skills are uniquely exceptional is pretty important, not only for you to succeed, but also to excel,” said Kevin Louth.  “The D-Comm program definitely helped me market myself more effectively.”

LSU's Distinguished Communicator Award recognizes students who demonstrate exemplary levels of communication skills during their undergraduate years. These students showcase outstanding writing and speaking skills, using a strong command of visual literacy and technological communication. Recipients are selected on the basis of completing 12 hours of approved courses, submitting a digital portfolio, participating in internships or co-ops, serving in leadership roles and public service, and maintaining a GPA of 3.0 in communication-intensive courses. Upon completion, students have their transcripts annotated to reflect their Distinguished Communicator designation.

“The Distinguished Communicator program has helped challenge me to become a better leader in the position I have taken and will help me as I begin my professional career,” said James Parker. 

Kevin Louth earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He was an active member of LSU’s Residence Hall Association, where he was recognized as the Resident Assistant of the Year. Although he has received multiple academic achievement awards, Louth is most proud of his capstone design project's recognition via the ASHRAE Technology Award. This project helped increase energy efficiency for a Habitat for Humanity home in New Orleans. After graduation, Louth will work at CDI Engineering in Baton Rouge, La. Faculty Adviser: Ramachandra Devireddy

James Parker received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. At LSU, Parker served as president, secretary and concrete canoe captain for the LSU student chapter American Society of Civil Engineers, vice president for the College of Engineering Society of Peer Mentors and membership associate chair of the LSU Ambassadors. He was also recognized with the Louisiana Freshmen Merit Award, the Marathon Oil Company Scholarship, the Uniroyal Chemical Company, Inc. Environmental Engineering Scholarship and the Frank Germano Scholarship. Parker has completed internships with Boh Bros. Construction Co., L.L.C. in New Orleans and with Costello, Inc. in Houston. After graduation, Parker will continue working for Costello, Inc. in the Land Development group. Faculty Adviser: Paige Davis

Ryckur Schuttler received his Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering. During his time at LSU, Schuttler served as treasurer for LSU’s chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and was a member of the American Association of Drilling Engineers student chapter, Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, and the College of Engineering Society of Peer Mentors. For the past two summers, Schuttler interned with the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in Colorado and Texas. After graduation, he will work as a production engineer for Anadarko in Vernal, UT. Faculty Adviser: Richard Hughes

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Article by Mimi LaValle, LSU College of Engineering, mlavall@lsu.edu or (225) 578-5706. 



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