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Summer 2009

In this issue


Message from the Dean

Honors Family,
Nancy Clark, Ph.D 
Given the current economic atmosphere, there has obviously been much discussion of the role and future of higher education in Louisiana. This discussion tends to focus on the allocation of the state’s operating budget for next year, which projects somewhat substantial cuts to public four- year institutions like Louisiana State University. Regardless of the budgetary situation, I can say with unyielding confidence that the Honors College community remains steadfast in its mission to produce the best students and community leaders and to offer one of the most cutting-edge programs and curricula of any Honors program in the country.
Our French House facilities remain the Louisiana Board of Regents’ top renovation project, and the Honors College will soon be unveiling its sleek new Web site, offering a more streamlined and interactive portal not only for our current students, but for interested prospects from across the country.
Our students will continue to represent the best of the best through their performance, exemplified by junior Micaela DeGruy, who brings the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship to LSU for the second consecutive year and for the third time in the last four years. And for the third consecutive year, an LSU Honors student – senior Brian Goh – has made the USA Today's All-USA College Academic First Team, accompanied by seniors John Casey and Michael Rhea, who made the Second Team.
They will continue serving as leaders in the academic community in Louisiana through their participation in events like the Louisiana Collegiate Honors Council – an annual gathering of the Honors programs from across the state. We were incredibly well-represented in February at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and will show the rest of the Honors community the best program the state has to offer when we host the next conference.
And our alumni will serve as a significant testament to the value of the collegiate Honors program and the enhancement such programs provide to an undergraduate degree. The relationships the LSU Honors College enjoys from its fantastic Board of Advisors and from its extensive and enthusiastic alumni base are overwhelming, and your continued support for our program ensures the continued production of academic excellence and community leaders.

Micaela DeGruy, Harry S. Truman Scholar


The academic community has come to anticipate the inclusion of LSU alongside institutions like Harvard and Yale annually in competing for prestigious national fellowships, coming off a year in which LSU saw all four of its Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship nominees receive the award, its second Harry S. Truman Scholarship winner in three years and yet another of its students named to the USA Today’s All-USA College Academic Team.

Add Micaela DeGruy to that list of success. DeGruy was recently announced as a recipient of the 2009 Truman Scholarship, the third student in the last four years to do so while representing LSU and the Honors College. “It was truly unexpected,” she said. “I still can’t believe it. To be included in a group of people like the previous winners is a true honor. They are incredible leaders and have true passion to make changes. I am humbled to be part of a group of scholars who are going to shake up the status quo.” A mass communication and political science junior, DeGruy has extensive involvement on campus, including Volunteer LSU and as the Director of Students on Target with Student Government, overseeing 2008 Groovin’ on the Grounds. Truman applicants are asked to outline a public service project they would like to implement as part of the application process. DeGruy’s policy proposal detailed a pilot program for a United Nations-funded counseling center for refugees.


“If you work hard every day for something you are passionate about, you will achieve greatness - not for yourself, but for the people you will impact.” - Micaela DeGruy

DeGruy will be traveling to South Africa this summer to do missionary work. She is still undecided on a graduate school, but after graduating in December, she will use the Truman stipend toward her Master’s degree and Ph.D. in social work. She hopes to continue research in special psychological effects of political violence and to ultimately design cultural therapy centers in third world communities operated by indigenous people.

“I can’t wait to tell future Honors College students about the wonderful opportunities that the college offers,” DeGruy said. “The Honors College facilitates true growth and development. If you work hard every day for something you are passionate about, you will achieve greatness. And the most wonderful part about it is, you will achieve greatness not for yourself, but for the people you will impact.”


Three Honors Students Make the 2009 USA Today All-USA College Academic Team

Graduating biochemistry senior Brian Goh  follows CC Dubois ('07) and Tommy Stryjewski ('08) in being named to the All-USA College Academic First Team. Goh was selected to LSU's prestigious Tiger Twelve group of elite students and received the 2008 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Goh is still deciding between enrolling at Johns Hopkins or Columbia University in the fall to begin his graduate studies.



John Casey

Being named to the All-USA College Academic Second Team is the latest in a series of accolades for John Casey. The graduating biological engineering senior received the 2007 Goldwater Scholarship and was also selected to the 2009 Tiger Twelve class. He was named the Most Outstanding Senior of both LSU and the Honors College, and he plans to pursue a doctorate in biological engineering from MIT.  



Michael Rhea

Michael Rhea joined Goh and Casey in being selected to LSU's 2009 Tiger Twelve class and also was named to the 2009 Leadership LSU class. A graduating international studies and  political science senior, he has received several scholarships and served as president of Volunteer LSU. Rhea will pursue a law degree at LSU's Paul M. Hebert Law Center after graduating.


"We have outstanding students who do outstanding things that are not only exceptional at LSU but have impact nationally. That makes me proud to be at LSU and proud to be a Tiger.” - Brian Goh


LSU at the 2009 Louisiana Collegiate Honors Council Conference


LSU Honors College at LCHCA small, diverse group of Honors College students stole the show at an annual gathering of Louisiana’s collegiate honors programs in February. A contingent of Honors College students, accompanied by Student Activities Coordinator Mark Dochterman and Academic Adviser Jeremy Joiner, traveled to Lafayette to attend the Louisiana College Honors Council (LCHC) Conference, hosted by the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Khya D’Aquilla, Elizabeth Lissy, Megan Miclette, Kathleen McMurray, Sarabeth Rivet and Parker Wishik represented LSU and the Honors College. The conference includes a slate of academic presentations by students to showcase the work being done at the state’s various honors programs. LSU representatives made presentations of various topics, often the subjects of their thesis projects. For instance, D’Aquilla gave a presentation on his studies of Japan’s democratic history, and McMurray detailed her work as director of an adaptation of the Catherine Butterfield play, The Sleeper.

“I attended the LCHC because I thought it would be a good opportunity, and a first experience for me, to present the research project I was working on,” said Lissy, who gave a presentation regarding environmentally-friendly fuels using molecularly imprinted polymers. “It was beneficial for me to see different people talk and give presentations. I was able to determine what works and what doesn't in giving the best presentation you can in only 10 minutes.” 

The Honors College program FOCUS (Focusing on College and Ultimate Success) was also the topic of a presentation, and it received great attention and interest from other schools’ contingents. Miclette and Rivet also shared feedback with one student whose presentation detailed a similar program and offered advice to representatives seeking to adapt the FOCUS program to their own campuses. 

LCHCLSU was a hit outside the classroom as well, interacting with students on a personal basis and providing an air of enthusiasm and energy. Miclette helped kick off the conference’s talent show with a dramatic reading of a poem written by a recent FOCUS participant, and D’Aquilla had all in attendance rolling on the floor with witty tales of his father and a family trip.

The LSU Honors College is excited to be charged with hosting the 2010 LCHC Conference and now has the experience and knowledge necessary to make it a memorable visit to Baton Rouge for Louisiana’s Honors community.


Tiger Tracks: Catching up with Honors Alumni

The Honors College loves hearing back from its former students. Please send us an email to with an update of what you've been doing and a recent photograph.
Class of 2007

Julie Gerdes
After graduating from the LSU Honors College,  Julie Gerdes worked as the Development Director for the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre (BRBT), where she oversaw fundraising and community outreach. After some prodding from Hurricane Gustav (two pine trees through her bedroom), Julie re-located to Washington, D.C., to begin an internship in the Kennedy Center’s Institutional Affairs Department. Highlights of her internship included working on the Kennedy Center’s Arabesque: Arts of the Arab World Festival, the Obamas’ visit to the Center for Alvin Ailey and Ted Kennedy’s Birthday Party. Julie will begin her graduate studies at American University in the fall.