December 12, 2014

LSU’s College of Engineering invited sophomores and juniors from select high schools throughout East Baton Rouge Parish and the New Orleans area to participate in Engineering U, a four-lab rotation workshop designed to give prospective engineering, computer science, and construction management students a glimpse of the many research opportunities available to students at LSU. The one-day sessions showcased many avenues for gaining real-world experience outside traditional classroom learning. 

“The goals of Engineering U are to encourage high school students to consider the fields of engineering, computer science, and construction management; increase awareness and understanding about the importance of those areas of study; and showcase the real-world benefits of being an LSU Engineer,” said Assistant Recruiting Manager Terrica Jamison. 

The first rotation was at La House, a research-based facility that teaches LSU and the greater public about environmentally friendly design, construction, and landscape options to address Louisiana’s unique climate and weather patterns. Students learned about innovations in solar energy and construction materials that make homes more energy efficient, as well as novel construction techniques to safeguard against catastrophic weather events. 

Next, the students visited the Petroleum Engineering Research and Technology Transfer Laboratory (PERTT Lab), in the LSU Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering. Students donned hard hats and toured the industrial-scale facility, where petroleum engineering majors take two classes and conduct blowout prevention research alongside engineers from top energy firms. The PERTT Lab, which offers employment opportunities for students beginning their freshman year, is one of the only facilities of its kind in the world, and it provides students unique hands-on training.

A visit to the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering’s machine shop gave visitors an inside look into how 3-D printing is changing the way engineers design and create products. Shop staff gave the students a live demonstration of the printers, and current LSU students shared some of their completed projects with the prospective engineers. 

While at the Shop, Tiger Racing President Mathew Richards gave students a tour of the garage where he and his teammates work on the race car they will enter in next year’s Formula Student Automotive Engineering (FSAE) Collegiate Design Series. East Baton Rouge School System Director of Secondary Curriculum Dr. Susan Moore was in attendance at the second Engineering U, and she toured the Tiger Racing Garage along with the high school students.

The last stop of the day was the Cain Department of Chemical Engineering’s Unit Operations Lab, where LSU students work with industry professionals and tenure-track faculty on research projects. The lab is equipped for projects ranging from the study of cell growth to sugar crystallization. 

After a delicious jambalaya lunch, Jamison surprised the students with a tour of LSU’s Tiger Stadium. Students got to visit the Tiger’s locker room and take pictures with their favorite players’ lockers. Everyone touched the famous “win bar” before walking into the heart of Death Valley and rushing the field. But it wasn’t just students who enjoyed their time at Tiger Stadium; one parent was so overwhelmed when she walked onto the field that she burst into tears.

“I’ve loved LSU football my whole life and never had the opportunity to see Tiger Stadium this way,” she said. “Thank you!”

The need for more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workers is palpable, especially in Louisiana, which has one of the most robust energy and manufacturing sectors in the country. The state’s economic future depends on its ability to supply companies the highly specialized workforce they need to conduct business. LSU’s College of Engineering is working hard to educate that workforce and get the next generation of college students excited about STEM fields through events like Engineering U.

“We’re very excited to engage with students with an interest in these areas,” said Jamison. “This demonstrates our commitment to building and establishing partnerships with high schools across our state. You will see more events like this from the LSU College of Engineering,” she promised.

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Article by Liz Lebron, Communications Graduate Assistant. For more information contact Mimi LaValle, mlavall@lsu.edu, 225-578-5706.



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