Computer Science Senior Encourages Students to ‘Stay With It’

Jackie RobinsonRising computer science senior Jacqueline Robinson recently wrapped up her first full semester as a squad member for Intel’s Stay With It Engineering program.

As a squad member, Robinson said she spent the past eight months “promoting any initiatives the program hosted.”

“We also try to maintain an active social media presence to showcase our journeys of becoming engineers to inspire those who follow us,” she added.

The program, an online community in which engineering students can engage with each other and share engineering related content and support, was first introduced to Robinson through her participation with LSU’s student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Robinson, who is from Slidell, Louisiana, said she was attracted to the program because of its potential for international impact.

“Many on-campus programs and initiatives are much more local to the organization members or the LSU community,” she said. “This program has a much larger focus. The organization’s purpose is to encourage students from all over the world.”

The Stay With It Program is free for anyone to join. The program has a strong social media presence, which is mostly active on Facebook, according to Robinson. She encourages fellow students to check out the program’s Facebook page.

“Some people use it when they need help with homework. You can also use it to reach out and see if there is another student or professional who is currently doing something you want to do,” Robinson said. “If you are concerned about something or struggling to get past an obstacle, you can reach out on Facebook to see if anyone else has advice on a similar problem.”

The program’s main website also hosts a blog that offers advice on topics like how to land an internship, resume templates for first time job seekers, informative videos about the diversity of the field and other engineering resources—all free of charge for its members.

Robinson said her role is centered on being the liaison between college students and the industry.

“While I don’t plan events, the insight I submit about our concerns of being engineering students and what we would like to see in the industry is important,” she said. “During my time with the program, I worked with others to launch a Stay With It Women group because we felt that addressing the gender gap was important.”

In addition to being a member of NSBE and attending Association in Computing Machinery (ACM) events, Robinson is a founding member of Women in Computer Science (WICS) at LSU. Through her involvement with these various organizations, she said, she’s gained better perspective on her chosen field and received the necessary tools to sharpen existing skills and cultivate new ones.

Robinson said the Stay With It program “impacted her socially,” and allowed for some relief from the anxiety that often accompanies entering the engineering field for the first time.

“A lot of the fear of graduating and entering the industry is attributed to low confidence and feeling unprepared,” she said. “Students seeing videos of other students and professionals make you feel inspired and more prepared.”

Robinson also said the program features a mentorship component that allowed her to grow closer with professionals and industry representatives in her field.

“I have received a lot of advice from the coordinator of the program, Rhonda Peters James,” she said. “I learned how to analyze my skills in engineering and how to properly market my talent.”

With eight months as a Stay With It squad member behind her, Robinson plans to begin her senior year this fall as an active member of the online support community of engineering students.

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For more information on the Stay With It program, visit http://staywithit.org/, or check out their Facebook page. For questions, contact communications assistant M.B. Humphrey at marissah@lsu.edu.

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5 Things Student Leaders Learned at the College’s Annual Leadership Training Workshop

In April, more than 80 current and rising student leaders filled the Frank Walk Room for a comprehensive, interactive one-day workshop aimed at preparing the organization leaders for the upcoming academic year.

Communications assistant M.B. Humphrey sat down with associate director of diversity initiatives Sarah Jones to discuss the variety of topics covered by representatives from the STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP), the Chevron Leadership Academy, Student Services and the Office of Diversity Initiatives. Read more about the valuable insight students gained below:

Leadership Training

1. What Leadership Is
Joseph Odenwald, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, gave students a thorough breakdown of what leadership is, as well as the several different theories of leadership that may be encountered within group settings. He highlighted the differences between leadership styles of the past, often role-specific and results driven, to more current leadership styles that are change-oriented.

2. What it takes to become a Transformational Leader
Transformational leadership is characterized by the ability to bring about change in an organization by developing a shared vision, values and ideas. Director Emerita of LSU’s Center for Academic Success Saundra McGuire said, “transformational leadership is a requirement for leaders of today.” She added that it is the duty of the leader to trust their team to handle their respective roles, while the leader focuses on the “bigger picture.” She explained the necessity for students to be well rounded not only in leadership, but also academically, and highlighted the resources available in the Center for Academic Success.

3. DISC
STEP manager Adrienne Steele outlined the leadership styles featured in the DISC Assessment, which stands for dominant, influential, steady and conscientious. These four main leadership styles illustrate the practices that are most common within group settings. Steele walked through the characteristics of each group, focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of each. Students were then split into groups by their leadership style and discussed areas of improvement among them.

4. Leadership Cultivation Opportunities
Director of the Chevron Center Warren Hull spoke about a new program to the College, the Chevron Leadership Academy. The semester-long program, with a large mentorship component, gives select students the opportunity to cultivate and hone their leadership skills. The program supports it participants in a variety of ways including: an introductory kick-off workshop, monthly leadership seminars and the assignment of an industry mentor. Hull also debunked several leadership myths like, “only extroverts can be leaders.”

5. How to make SMART goals
Sarah Jones and Jada Lewis ended the workshop by teaching students how to perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and how to make “SMART” goals for their organizations, as the students planned for the upcoming year. The SMART acronym—which represents specific, measurable, attainable/actionable, relevant and time-bound— acted as an outline by which the student organization leaders could plan collaborative events and activities with other organizations that shared similar goals and missions

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Spring Break is for Learning

This blog post comes from two students who are members of The American Association of Drilling Engineers – Student Section. They shared their learning and growing experiences they had over Spring Break with us!

Most college students are dying for the mid-semester break from class and schoolwork that is dragging them down. The minute students are released for spring break; they are in a hurry to make their way to the beach or head home to catch up with family and friends. This year was drastically different for me. Being over the Gulf Shores scene and consuming one too many adult beverages in the previous years, I decided it was time for me to do something new. Hearing about this great opportunity through the American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE) to attend a five-day drilling and production camp at the Shell Robert Training and Conference Center, I quickly made plans for my junior year spring break.

Yes, I know it does not sound as much of a great time as spending the week with your friends having fun at the beach; however, I left with no regrets. Making sure I had one of my best friends come along definitely helped, yet I made a lot of new friends. I saw a lot of familiar faces from my classes that I probably would have never gotten to know otherwise. I really enjoyed this year’s spring break at the Shell facility. Although it was never a “break” from schoolwork, the twenty-seven petroleum engineers and I took advantage of an opportunity of a lifetime. From enjoying the amazing food there to utilizing their wonderful facilities, I was in shock at the amount of information I learned over just five days. Moreover, I was surprised by the amount of fun I was having.

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Just to give you a taste of how the Shell camp worked, here is an overview of our daily schedule. Each day consisted of waking up around seven in the morning to catch breakfast before the day started at eight (this was probably my least favorite part). We would then attend an overview of the subject we were learning that day with presentations for the next couple hours from the excellent Shell facilitators. The next part of the day would include splitting up in three groups to work on the different simulators to receive hands on training of the subject we talked about. This part was by far my favorite. We got ourselves into working the high class drilling simulator, subsea simulator, and separation/production trains. And I am talking about a warehouse filled of equipment just like you would see on a floating production platform offshore. Taking a break for lunch we would rotate roles through the different activities ending our day around four thirty.

I cannot express the amount of fun I had with my peers over this great learning experience. It was awesome to learn so much in such a small amount of time from the top industry trainers. I cannot thank AADE enough for giving me this wonderful opportunity! This definitely beat going to the beach for another year.

Written by John Dwyer
Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Houston, Texas


About three months ago the American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE) at LSU was approached with the idea of creating an event to bring students out to Shell’s training Facility in Robert, La.

AADE has been involved with annual events in the past like our Wild Well Control course where we send 30 students to Houston for a three day well control certification. But, this new opportunity with Shell was huge for us. Not only were we sending nearly 30 students for a full week of training, but we got an all-inclusive stay plus hands on training at Shell’s state of the art training facility.

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Now, the process to get the camp planned and funded certainly didn’t just happen overnight. Our officers have never taken on a funding project of quite this scale, and there were times that we thought that the training camp just wasn’t going to happen. But, with dedication and hard work from our team, we were able to plan out the course and secure the funding we needed to send all 28 students.

With a game plan in place and the funding accounted for it was time to get ourselves to Robert, La. The five-day course took place over spring break from March 21-25, but we arrived the evening before in order to get a smooth start the following day.

Throughout the five days we went through lectures and hands on training in well control, drilling, sub-sea processing, and surface processing operations. After learning the different simulation software, we were able to work on live troubleshooting scenarios. This is where our members really started to shine – solving real engineering problems. We were also able to get our hands on Shell’s process training equipment which mimics a surface separation facility where oil is separated from water and gas. Students were able to take control of the processing equipment functions to direct various valves and set pressure limits in order to run a smooth separation process.

All in all this was an incredible learning opportunity for our AADE members. With the success of this first trip, we plan to make this an annual event so more students will have access to these world-class facilities that are sitting in our own back yard.

Written by Brendan Marlborough
Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Westminster, MA
Vice President, AADE at LSU

AADE4

 

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How to Make the Most of LSU Orientation

One of our student organization leaders answered some questions about what to expect at LSU Orientations and how to get the most out of them. Thanks Dustin!

1. What should new LSU students expect at orientation?
I came to orientation with two friends who were pursuing majors completely different from engineering. When you get here, you are placed in a group of students with either the same major or one similar to yours. So the first day I was in a group of complete strangers that I had never met because I’m from Small Town, Louisiana. This group will quickly transform from complete strangers to your first family here at LSU. You will quickly bond and become friends with these people as you schedule classes together, eat lunch together, and experience all that LSU has to offer.

2. What was your experience like at orientation? Was is about how you expected it to be or did some things surprise you?
I was invited to Spring Invitational (SPIN) as a Senior in high school, so my orientation experience was slightly different than the normal summer sessions. I was able to see the campus in all of its hustle and bustle. I expected things to be crazy, hectic, and to be honest I expected to get lost once or twice (full disclosure: I did get lost once…but I found my way back with the LSU app!). What I didn’t expect was to make friends that lasted me for years after, meeting the person who would become my future roommate and friend, and finding organizations and groups that would help me to acclimate and grow as a student and a leader at LSU.

3. What was the most valuable thing you learned at orientation?
I would have to say the most valuable thing that I learned at orientation was to not be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t know the answer to something and you never ask, you may miss out on some incredible opportunities. If I hadn’t asked a stranger how to get to the free jambalaya lunch, I probably never would have met the guy who became my freshman year roommate.

4. Do you have any tips for students about how to get the most out of orientation?
If I could give advice to incoming students for orientation:

  • Don’t be afraid to make new friends
  • Step out of your comfort zone – LSU is full of people to meet and places to see
  • Join an organization that interests you
  • Have fun!

5. Is there any “insider info” you would give to incoming students?
Look into your major’s professional academic organization. For instance, for industrial engineering, that’s the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. By getting involved with this chapter, I was able to make a ton of friends in all of my classes, secure an internship with Procter and Gamble this summer, and work closely with my professors and peers to help improve the industrial engineering program for future students.

Bonus: Insomnia cookies and pita pit are great for late night snacks, especially if you live on campus!

DustinCampbell

Dustin Campbell
Major: Industrial Engineering
Hometown: Erath, LA
Student Org: IISE President

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5 Perks of Joining the LBTC’s Student Incubator

The college’s communications assistant, M.B. Humphrey, sat down with Kenny Anderson, the Louisiana Business and Technology Center’s Student Incubator manager to talk about what the program has to offer to students at LSU.

The LBTC Incubator Ecosystem is split into six programs, all with the goal to “assist the growth of businesses by assisting entrepreneurs with company operations and supplying resources that are fundamental for success.” One of the newest, the Student Incubator, is “open to any LSU student, from undergraduate to doctoral degrees,” at the discounted rate of $25 per month. Anderson shared that students from the College of Engineering are the incubator’s most “ideal client, because they often have the most innovative ideas,” that the incubator can easily help commercialize for consumers.

Each year, they host a Student Incubator Venture Challenge to showcase LSU’s brightest student entrepreneurs and give them a chance to win capital toward their respective businesses. Any start-up, including non-profit organizations, can enter. The start up venture must be a part of the Student Incubator by March 25, 2016 to be eligible to participate in this year’s “Shark Tank”-styled challenge. Read more about the services you can receive just by being a member of the LBTC’s Student Incubator below!

Venture Challenge

1. PERSONALIZED IDEA DEVELOPMENT
Anderson explained that no idea is too “early stage” for the incubator to help assist with your plans for you business. There is a short application process for the program where interested business meet with an LBTC staff member. During the meeting, you will get a tour of the facilities of the LBTC, followed by a one-on-one meeting to hash out the details of your plan and a path for your ideas.

“It’s not a cookie-cutter process with everyone, which is purposeful on our end,” Anderson said. “We sit down and we hear what you’ve done so far with your idea, where you’ve been, and it’s all confidential. Then we determine a timeline, growth plan and how our team here can fit in and help you.”

2. UNLIMITED ACCESS TO CONSULTING SERVICES
After the initial meeting with Anderson and his colleagues, students are offered a host of consulting services including: market research, strategic planning, intellectual property strategy and cash flow management.

“We actually have a software program, called LivePlan, which is a cloud-based business planning software that offers templates for creating business plans and help with financial planning. It’s usually $20 per month, but Student Incubator members have access to it for free,” Anderson said. “Because its cloud-based, the student client can work from home, section by section, and then they can add us as a contributor to allow us to review their plan and offer tips and feedback, as well. All without having to physically meet each time.”

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3. RELEVANT NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
Every entrepreneur or person in the any industry will say that networking with the right people was pertinent to his or her career at some point. Being a member of the student incubator will connect you with the people you need to get your business or idea on the right path. These connections include fellow people in your respective industry to lawyers that help you protect your intellectual property.

“Our network is great for our clients. Our director, Charlie [D’Agostino], knows everybody and really makes things happen,” Anderson said. “Since I’ve started working here, over three years ago, I’ve definitely seen how students are impacted by our network. There are industry connections made and even some students who have had the opportunity to reach media outlets.”

4. COWORKING SPACE AND 3D PRINTING
Included in your membership is workspace for you and your colleagues, so that you all don’t have to work in a noisy coffee shop or in someone’s home. The coworking space includes WiFi, a lounge and kitchen area, conference rooms for meetings and four cubicles for a semi private work environment.

There’s also been a new program added, ProtoStripes, that was designed to help small businesses with “fabricating, designing, prototyping and programming” items for their companies. It gives businesses the opportunity to create rapid prototypes and computer renderings with help from people who specialize in that area.

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5. THEY WON’T LEAVE YOU HANGING
In addition to networking opportunities and consulting services, volunteers from the business community and the LBTC Advisory Board act as mentors to further provide guidance to members of the program. Also, students are allowed to stay in the program for one full year after they graduate from LSU.

“We still won’t drop students after that full year after graduation,” Anderson said with a chuckle. “From there we usually just switch them from student member to affiliate client and they still receive the same services. We’ve even had people that we worked with in the past, reach out to us years later for some help for a new business that they’ve started and we’re always willing to help them, too. If we’ve worked with you in the past, we aren’t going to hang you out to dry.”

If you’re ready to take your idea to the Student Incubator, be sure to visit their website or contact Kenny Anderson at kande55@lsu.edu.

– written by communications assistant M.B. Humphrey

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