Official newsletter of the LSU College of Science  |   September 2016

Take a look!  
Physics & Astronomy,
Museum of Natural Science
Featured in Here to Win Campaign

During the first football game of the season, LSU launched "Here to Win," a five-week campaign showcasing LSU as a national powerhouse on the field and in research and academics. The campaign began with a :30 commercial aired at halftime as the Tigers took on the University of Wisconsin Badgers on September 3. The Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Museum of Natural Science were among the academic programs featured in the commercial. The Physics Department was highlighted for its work with the Laser Interferometor-Gravitational Wave Observatory, or LIGO, and its history-making detection of gravitational waves. The Museum was featured for discovering 41 different bird species and for having the largest collections of birds in the world. 

The week of September 19-24, the "Here to Win" campaign will focus on physics followed by the Museum of Natural Science September 26 - October 1. So, show your love for LSU and your department. We welcome you to use #HeretoWin
to share photos and videos that depict how LSU students, faculty, staff and alumni are winning in research and scholarship.

First-year students pose with Dean Cynthia Peterson after winning raffle prize.

GeauxScience 2016  
College Hosts Block Party
for First-year Students 

On September 8, all first-year students and sophomores in the College of Science received their first official directive from the College of Science-have fun, eat hotdogs and celebrate the start of the new academic year-during the 2016 GeauxScience Block Party.
More than 400 students and faculty attended the event. Party goers were treated to free t-shirts, sunglasses, a rock climbing wall provided by the University Recreational Center, and all the snowballs, jambalaya and hotdogs you can eat. The event also included information about the variety of student organizations and programs in the college. Some of the programs represented were the Communication across the Curriculum Distinguished Communicators Program, GeauxTeach Math and Science, the Society of Physics Students, and Predental Society.
The block party is the first in a series of events and activities scheduled throughout the year to expose our newest students to the academic programs and research activities available in the College of Science. For a complete list of events, go to

Helping Students Succeed    
Saundra Yancy McGuire Receives National ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students to Pursue Careers in the Chemical Sciences
For more than 46 years, Saundra Yancy McGuire has been helping students realize their academic potential. A nationally recognized chemical educator, author and lecturer, she has traveled the globe promoting sure-fire strategies to help students, including those underrepresented in science and math professions, to be successful in their coursework and careers. In recognition of her work, McGuire has been awarded the 2017 American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences, sponsored by the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

McGuire joined LSU in 1999 and has delivered her widely acclaimed faculty-development workshops on teaching students how to learn at more than 250 institutions in 43 states and eight countries. She is also the author of "Teach Students How to Learn: Strategies You Can Incorporate into Any Course to Improve Student Metacognition, Study Skills, and Motivation."

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The Pursuit    
College Launches Blog Site  

What do a ghost snake, Pluto and bacteria have in common? Well, they have all been the topic of posts for the new College of Science blog, The Pursuit. The blog showcases the broad spectrum of research and science communication underway in the College of Science and the people at the forefront of these innovative projects. Through the blog posts, you will have an opportunity to meet student researchers contributing to innovative investigations, explore breaking news and pop culture topics from a scientist's perspective and hear first-hand accounts of scientists traveling to remote locations to uncover new species. Visit to read the latest posts and to subscribe to the blog. 

Check out a few of the blog posts below.

Get a glimpse of the new math lab in Middleton.

Out with the Old,
In with the New
Math Department Opens New Lab
in Middleton Library
This past summer, the LSU Department of Mathematics opened a new 8,000-square-foot computer laboratory in Middleton Library for students enrolled in College Algebra (MATH 1021), Trigonometry (MATH 1022) and Algebra & Trigonometry (MATH 1023). The newly-opened space offers students a more centralized location for the lab portion of their course experience.
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Patricia Persaud
John Pojman
Sara Ruane
Jackie Stephens

Patricia Persaud, assistant professor in the Department of Geology & Geophysics, published "Fault Zone Characteristics and Basin Complexity in the Southern Salton Trough, California" in the September issue of Geology. Her work was part of the 2011 Salton Seismic Imaging Project, a collaborative work between U.S. and Mexican institutions. Persaud and her colleagues installed seismometers at over 4,000 locations in southeastern California and Mexico with the goal of measuring the speed and amplitude of seismic waves that traveled from a set of 126 shallow underground explosions to the seismometers. The data was used to create a detailed 3D velocity model for the Imperial Valley south of the Salton Sea, including the region of the Brawley Geothermal area. The project resulted in the identification of important unmapped faults or buried interfaces that will help refine the seismic hazard for parts of Imperial County, California, where the population is projected to almost double by 2060.
John Pojman, professor in the Department of Chemistry and founder of 3P QuickCure Clay, presented his clay during the 1 Million Cups event at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library at Goodwood. 1 Million Cups is a monthly event that brings together local entrepreneurs, innovators, funders and community members to meet and present startups in the Baton Rouge area.

Sara Ruane, postdoctoral researcher in the LSU Museum of Natural Science, and researchers from the American Museum of Natural History and the Université de Mahajunga in Madagascar discovered a new snake species in the Ankarana National Park in northern Madagascar in February 2014. The species was named Madagascarophis lolo, pronounced "luu luu," which means ghost in Malagasy. Their discovery was featured in the scientific journal, Copeia, earlier this month. > Take a look at "All about Snakes with Sara Ruane"
After 25 years studying the links between Type 2 diabetes and obesity, Jackie Stephens , Claude B. Pennington Jr. Endowed Chair in Biomedical Research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center  and professor of biological sciences in the LSU College of Science, and a team of LSU researchers have identified a new player, the protein oncostatin, that could help us better understand how inflammation in fat tissue affects insulin resistance. The team's research results were published in the August 12 edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry .

The College of Science welcomed eight new faculty members this semester. Click the photo below to learn more about the  
newest additions to the college:

Tabetha Boyajian 
Emmanouil Chatzopoulos
Kristina Launey
Patricia Persaud
Fang-Ting Tu
David Vinyard
Weiwei Xie
Jiuyi Zhu


Also new to our team is Zakiya Wilson. Wilson is the first to hold the assistant dean of diversity position in the College of Science. In this role, she will lead college-wide efforts to increase diversity among College of Science students, faculty and staff. Wilson received her BS in chemistry from Jackson State University in 1998 and later earned a PhD in inorganic chemistry from LSU in 2004. Prior to joining the college, she was the associate dean for faculty and student success at the University of North Carolina A&T. She also served as assistant director of LSU's Chemistry Graduate Studies Program and was later appointed as the executive assistant to the vice chancellor of strategic initiatives in LSU's Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI). 


Paige Jarreau joined the College of Science staff in July as the science communications specialist. Jarreau, a bio/nanotechnology scientist and expert science communicator, is an accomplished science writer and blogger. She holds a MS in biological and agricultural engineering from LSU and a PhD in mass communication with an emphasis on science communications. Jarreau is a leading authority on using social media as a tool to broadly communicate scientific concepts and discoveries. She maintains a successful blog, , and is the lead writer for the newly-launched  College of Science blog, The Pursuit.


Building A Bridge
to the Baccalaureate

The Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program is an NIH-funded partnership between the Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) STEM Programs, the LSU College of Science and LSU Office of Strategic Initiatives that aims to increase the number of BRCC students transferring to LSU and completing bachelor's degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences. This summer, a group of Bridges research scholars conducted research at LSU and presented their work during the university's annual Summer Undergraduate Research Forum, or SURF
Photo: 2016 Bridges Research Scholars, left to right beginning with first row, Hawber Abdulqader, Joseph Gombeda, Cleveland Douglas III, Anthony Sagona, Allison Latour, Dwayne Hinton, Caitlin Cox, Tayla Kelly-Epps, and Francesca Hilderbrand, Ryan LeBlanc, Jonathan Whitley, Steven Grouchy, Ajay Prasad and Jeremy Baker.

BIOS student Morgan Davis (middle) and her parents. Photo credit: Paige Jarreau.

Ahead of the Game 
BIOS Program Helps Students Prepare
for College Life at LSU 
More than 300 first-year students attended this year's Biology Intensive Orientation for Students (BIOS). This one-week program specifically for incoming biological sciences majors and other first-year students whose majors require them to take Biology 1201, includes lectures and biology teaching labs geared toward giving the university's newest students a jump-start on Biology 1201. They also met faculty, toured research labs and worked in groups to create fun Instagram videos about scientific concepts they learned during BIOS.

"From my first visit to LSU, I just loved the campus. I felt like I would fit in here," said Morgan Davis, first-year student from Houston, Tx. "People were so friendly and welcoming."

Davis gave up the last week of her summer break to come to BIOS because she wanted to get a jump-start on her classes and learn what to expect during her first year of college. She hopes to become an obstetrician and thought majoring in biology was the right choice in building toward that goal.

"I'm looking forward to learning what to expect going into Biology 1201," Davis said. "I also look forward to telling other students about this experience."

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The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) was founded by the surviving Mercury 7 astronauts in 1984. Its mission is to help educate subsequent generations of STEM pioneers. Photo Credit: NASA

Recognizing Excellence  
LSU Physics Students Named
2016 Astronaut Foundation Scholars

For more than 30 years, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation has supported hundreds of top performing students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. This year, LSU physics majors Harvey Shows and Amy LeBleu are among the high achieving scholars to receive the 2016
Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, or ASF, award.

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Tigers on the Move  College of Science Alumni Named to LSU 100  
Each year, LSU 100: Fastest Growing Tiger Businesses identifies, recognizes and celebrates the 100 fastest growing Tiger-owned or Tiger-led businesses in the world. In addition to celebrating the success of the honorees, the LSU 100 provides a forum to pass lessons on to the next generation of LSU entrepreneurs. This year, five College of Science alumni will be recognized during the LSU 100 ceremony to be held Thursday, October 13. The 2016 honorees from the College of Science are:

Bin Yiu, 2010 C
ollege of Science graduate, is the founder and CEO of HitLights, one of the top vendors of LED lights on While pursuing a masters degree at LSU, Yu got his start in the LED business by selling a variety of LED lit items, from apprarel to shoes, in New Orleans' famed French Quarter. Yu's initial motiviation was to revolutionize the lighting industry and its ability to serve as an enrvironmentally-friendly and affordable energy solution.

Gus Murillo, 2014 biology graduate, is the cofounder, president and COO of Big Fish Productions, a Baton Rouge-based company that creates captivating presentations and packages, and works with executives and sales and marketing teams to hone their presentation skills. Murrillo also oversees finances and operations at ThreeSixtyEight. Murillo has led teams in partnership with major brands like NASA, Raising Cane's and CenturyLink to execute on large-scale digital and creative projects.

Julio E. R ios II, 1993 microbiology graduate and graduate of the LSU Law School, is president and CEO of Bridger Logistics and executive vice-pre sident of Ferrellgas.  Bridger Logistics is an integrated crude oil midstream company located in Dallas, Texas and was founded in 2010. The company provides crude oil transportation and logistics services on behalf of oil and gas producers, marketers, and end-users of crude oil. Its as sets include truck, pipeline terminal, storage, pipeline, rail, and maritime assets and cash flow is from fee- fee-based commercial agreements and take-or-pay contracts.
Marco Moran, 1993 College of Science graduate in prepharmacy, is the CEO, president, chief financial officer and chief accounting officer of DSD Network of America Inc. and has been CEO of  Dewmar International BMC, Inc. since September 2009. Dewmar International BMC Inc. is a leading provider of consumer brands to global markets. The company's flagship product,  LEAN SLOW MOTION POTION™  whose three flavors are Yella, Purp and Easta Pink, is rated as one of the top three national selling relaxation beverages currently available in the U.S. market, Trinidad & Tobago, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Moran is also a member of the College of Science Dean's Circle.

Thomas Lacombe
, 1982 geology graduate, is president and cofounder of Global Speak Translations, a company that h
elps technical service businesses, non-profits and organizations grow their operations via translation services and content localization. Lacombe is passionate about exploring emerging oil and gas markets, and developing a global marketing framework and strategic sales approach for an industry in constant flux. Lacombe is an experienced field geologist and a member of The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG).

TIffany Miles (right) with help from her fellow graduate students collect school supplies for McKinley Middle Magnet School students.

Making A Difference
Alumni and Friends Collect
School Supplies for Louisiana Children and Teachers Affected
by the Flood
In August the state sustained a devastating flood that  affected the central and southern regions of Louisiana destroying homes, schools and businesses. According to the Red Cross, the Flood of 2016 is the worst natural disaster to strike the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy four years ago.
In the midst of such devastating loss, LSU alumni and friends of the university have been working diligently to help those affected by the flood.
Tiffany Miles, LSU biochemistry graduate and alumnus of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development, or IMSD, program, has mobilized her community to help students at the McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School for Visual and Performing Arts in Baton Rouge. Miles, a former McKinley Middle teacher and current graduate student at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, along with her peers in the UAMS Graduate Student Association are collecting school supplies and toiletries for students at McKinley impacted by the flood. 
Ronda Brandon, vice president of teacher development for the National Math and Science Initiative, or NMSI, is helping to provide supplies and equipment to GeauxTeach teachers in Louisiana whose classrooms were damaged by the flood. Brandon also secured funding to provide each GeauxTeach alum with a $200 gift card to Office Deport or Staples.
A special thank you to Tiffany Miles and Ronda Brandon for their work to help our students and teachers affected by the flood.
Your support is greatly appreciated.

Where Has your LSU Degree Taken You?

For Mhel Lazo, his LSU degree took him from LSU to the "happiest place on Earth." Take a look at what Mhel is up to at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.

We want to know where your LSU degree has taken you.
Take a photo, shoot a video and share what you are doing with your LSU degree and use the #MyLSUDegree. Follow #MyLSUDegree to see what your fellow Tiger graduates are up to.


Teaming Up Against Cancer 
Cornerstone Magazine Explores the
Successful Partnership Between  
the LSU Medical Physics Program
and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center

The 13-year partnership between LSU's Medical Physics Program and Mary Bird Perkins- Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center has resulted in diagnosis techniques and treatments on the cutting edge of cancer care. The collaboration that grew out of conversations between Todd Stevens, CEO and president of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer, and Kenneth Hogstrom, professor emeritus in physics and astronomy, and former director of the medical physics program, has strengthened both institutions. Today, the partnership is led by Stevens and Wayne Newhauser, current director of the medical physics program, and Jonas Fontenot, chief of physics at Mary Bird Perkins. This feature explores the start of the partnership, the program's quality students, its impact on cancer diagnosis, treatment and patient care, and those committed to investing in the growth of the program.

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The College of Science would like to welcome the newest members of the Dean's Circle. Thank you for your contribution to the teaching and research activities in the college.
  • Mr. Eric P. and Mrs. Lindsay C. Guerin August 2016
  • Dr. James P. Murphy, July 2016
  • Dr. Donald P. and Mrs. M. Shannon Megison, July 2016



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