Meet the May 2020 Distinguished Communicators
During the May 2020 graduation celebration, 44 graduates across six colleges will join the elite group of LSU Distinguished Communicators. These exceptional students have proven they are outstanding writers and speakers, with a strong command of visual literacy and technological communication. They have earned high GPAs in their communication-intensive courses throughout their baccalaureate years, sought 1-1 mentorships with faculty and have built websites that display their communication competencies and professional talents, both in and beyond the classroom.
These 44 individuals are more than just exceptional students. This year's class includes:
- Business owners
- Aerial silks performers
- World travelers
- Pub trivia experts
- Community volunteers
- Spotify playlist makers
- Pizza dough perfectionists
- Bluebell eaters
- Cooks and crafters
- Film enthusiasts
- Fans of sci-fi dystopian novels
- Political junkies
- Musicians (in fact, we’ve got enough to start a Distinguished Communicator band)
- Committed mentors
- Runners, rowers, and rollerbladers
- and so much more.
Join us in congratulating these students, and learn a little more about each of them below.
Click the links below to view by college
- College of Art & Design
- College of Engineering
- College of Humanities & Social Sciences
- College of Human Sciences & Education
- Manship School of Mass Communication
- College of Science
College of Art & Design
Sarah Alexander is graduating in Studio Art with a concentration in Graphic Design. While at LSU, Sarah fully immersed herself in learning through experience by interning as a graphic designer with the Graphic Design Student Organization, serving as a School of Art ambassador, and managing the social media accounts for the School of Art—all opportunities that helped her grow as a designer. “Becoming a Distinguished Communicator has really taught me the value of mentorship within your field,” she says. “I wouldn't be the designer I am today without the mentorship of my faculty advisor and would not be able to say I have secured employment before graduating.” In addition to a new job, Sarah has added multiple publications and awards to her resume, including one she is most proud of: a District Level ADDY awarded by the American Advertising Federation.
Louise Charbonnet, who goes by Rainey, is graduating in Interior Design with a minor in Art History. As a Distinguished Communicator, she gained the confidence to effectively lead, whether she was serving as an president for the Interior Design Student Organization or holding various positions in her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. “My leadership skills developed throughout the program as I became a better public speaker, writer, designer and engaged individual,” she says. Rainey is one of two interior design students to graduate with the Honors College this year, a first for the program.
Madison Harrison is receiving a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. She wants to use her passion for lighting and spatial design to inspire creativity and innovation through the field of hospitality design after graduation. While at LSU, Madison has gained confidence through the Distinguished Communicator program. She was inspired to run for a position on the executive board of the LSU chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, and ended up serving for two years, helping to expand the chapter and being recognized at the national student conference for having the most participants at the conference. “Being an LSU Distinguished Communicator has helped me to realize that when I'm truly passionate about something I can succeed in it,” she says.
Chunfeng Lu, who goes by Austin, is graduating in Landscape Architecture. He is interested in combining technology and design to create new efforts in sustainability. While at LSU, Austin utilized his visual communication skills through positions as photographer and videographer in LSU Student Media, and further advanced his skills while working with a team from diverse backgrounds. And though he has earned the distinction of Distinguished Communicator, he recognizes he still has a lot to learn. “Improving communication skills is an ongoing journey,” he says.
Kim Nguyen is receiving her bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. While Kim is a confident rower—she devoted all four years to the team and will graduate with cords for rowing—the Distinguished Communicator program gave her the opportunity to gain confidence in her abilities outside the water. “Something that I didn't learn until my last semester of college is to actually believe and know that I was good enough, and to hold my chin up with that kind of confidence,” she says. “Being a Distinguished Communicator means taking the time to develop those tools, find the confidence to send out messages, and share them with a world that wants to listen!“ In fact, developing that confidence and ability to analyze her audience won her a spot (and a car) on Let’s Make a Deal. “It really helps if you can communicate excitement to casting directors,” she says.
Olivia Ott is graduating in Studio Art with a concentration in Graphic Design. Her most prized honor at LSU was awarded to her twice: the Alfred J. Glassell Scholarship for the Arts. “I know that the administration had many applicants to choose from,” she says, “and the fact that they found my work and experience worthy of this award not once, but twice, means a great deal to me.” Of her time as a Distinguished Communicator candidate, Olivia says, “This program has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and be a leader in situations that I never thought I would find myself in.”
Kelsey Ralph is receiving her bachelor’s degree in Interior Design, and is one of two interior design students to graduate with the Honors College this year, a first for the program. She counts being named a Distinguished Communicator as one of the most valuable awards she’s earned. “This distinction recognizes my ability to bridge the gap between design industry professionals and clients, allowing for a more collaborative experience for both parties,” she says. Kelsey is a legislative chairwoman for the LSU chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers and has flexed her leadership skills through various roles in her sorority Delta Delta Delta.
Pei Yu, who goes by Fanny, is graduating in Architecture with a minor in Construction Management. As a first-generation college student, Fanny’s biggest personal victory is receiving her degree. “Not only am I the first to graduate from college, but we were also immigrants from China,” she says. “I know my parents worked extra to make sure I'd be able to attend college and I couldn't be more grateful for them.” Taking the time to pursue the Distinguished Communicator program has given her the opportunity to view ideas and suggestions from other perspectives. Being open to other viewpoints has served her well as she pursued leadership roles as a member and then president of the American Institute of Architecture Students and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, which emphasizes leading women in the world to better communities and the world.
College of Engineering
Mallory Bartow is graduating in Mechanical Engineering and hopes to work in the renewable energy industry. Mallory gained insight into the world of renewable energy as an intern at Renewable Energy Group, where she was not only able to gain experience in a plant setting, but was also able to learn about communicating engineering concepts to peers and supervisors. While she was able to learn first-hand how to communicate difficult concepts, it came from a foundation she built in the Distinguished Communicator program. As she continues to develop her communication skills, Mallory is already prepared to inspire and lead future female engineers. She started a series of Youtube videos geared towards young women intended to pique their interest and show them that the engineering field is a real option for them.
Lydia Beebe, a CxC Studio Mentor in the Chevron Center for Engineering Education, is graduating in Industrial Engineering. Becoming a Distinguished Communicator has given Lydia the confidence to communicate effectively with peers and industry professionals, and has greatly improved her public speaking skills. “This has given me confidence in presenting for a project, speaking in front of an audience, and even in job interviews,” she says. It looks like that confidence has paid off. After graduation, Lydia will begin her career in California, but not before embarking on a week-long road trip with friends.
Adrianna Copeland is graduating in Biological Engineering with a minor in Aerospace Engineering, and hopes to work in the biotechnology industry. Following in the footsteps of her Faculty Advisor Marybeth Lima, Adrianna developed her passion for community service, participating in everything from building a home for a local family in need to teaching Kindergarten students how to read—an experience she most enjoyed while at LSU. “Having an elementary aged brother, I assumed that communicating with my assigned first grader wouldn’t be a struggle,” she says. “I quickly realized that I overestimated myself. My student kept me on my toes and by the end of it I was grateful for the experience.” As a Distinguished Communicator, she had the opportunity to discover the value of successful nonverbal communication, both while studying abroad in Italy and not being able to fluently speak the language, and expressing herself using aerial silks.
Timothy Craig is graduating in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Political Science. Tim has made the most of his time in the Distinguished Communicator program, from developing his leadership skills as Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee in the LSU Student Senate to giving presentations and writing reports at his internship with BASF. “To me the Distinguished Communicator program has allowed me to be a well-rounded person,” he says. “Being in engineering often limits the incentives to take liberal arts or other classes that help enable communication. Through CxC I have been able to take targeted classes with engineering to improve on communication skills.”
Christopher Diaz is graduating in Petroleum Engineering and hopes to put his creativity, leadership skills, and problem solving skills to work in the field after graduation. Chris was very active and involved while at LSU. He served as the president of the LSU chapter of the International Association of Drilling Contractors and as Chevron Mentorship Director for the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Becoming a Distinguished Communicator has made him a more well-rounded communicator, exploring new ways to express his point of view, and serve “as a tangible symbol of my willingness to go above and beyond my curriculum to accomplish something singular in my major.”
Sarah Dunn is graduating with the Ogden Honors College in Industrial Engineering. As a junior, she was selected as an Astronaut Scholar by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, and had the opportunity to connect with individuals who have visited space and explore new research in her field. Through the Distinguished Communicator program, Sarah gained the confidence to speak up in a crowd and celebrate her accomplishments, giving her the boost she needed to pursue a leadership role. “I don't think I would have run for an officer position in the Society of Peer Mentors without this experience,” she says.
Chace Edwards is graduating in Mechanical Engineering. As a Distinguished Communicator, Chace recognized how important a role self-reflection plays in your ability to successfully articulate ideas. “In order to become a better communicator, you must first learn how to communicate with yourself,” he says. “If you can reflect and understand your goals and actions, you will become a better communicator every day.” Chace maximized his time at LSU by getting involved around campus. He became a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers his sophomore year and joined the Golf Tournament committee. Over the years, he connected with his fellow members, built relationships, and worked his way up from member, to secretary, and finally to functioning President of the ASME.
David Field, who goes by Estin, is graduating in Mechanical Engineering. Estin has consistently been an effective leader on campus, including receiving an award for being the most enthusiastic team leader at E2 camp. “The next year they gave the award to someone else, but had named the award after me,” he says. “It touched me that I had such an impact that they named the award after me, so even if it is silly, it’s my favorite award.” He has continued this enthusiasm, pursuing positions with the Society of Peer Mentors and volunteering at his high school to help encourage students to consider a STEM education. And when he’s not leading in the engineering field, he’s dominating trivia nights as the self-proclaimed “world’s biggest fan” of NBC’s The Office.
Lucy Guo is graduating with the Ogden Honors College in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Digital Media AVATAR Arts. Like many students in the program, becoming a Distinguished Communicator helped Lucy gain the confidence needed to pursue leadership roles, ranging from Society of Peer Mentors Administrative Secretary to Vice-President (and Co-Founder) of the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers. “I saw myself visibly improving from the CxC program,” she says, “seeing all my work from the past four years come together for my portfolio was extremely rewarding.” All of her hard work is also mixed with a little fun; Lucy is currently part of a team of six developing a video game about bunnies trying to get buff.
Andrew Hopkinson is graduating in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Nuclear Power Engineering. He credits the Distinguished Communicator program for giving him the push to get involved through leadership around campus. Throughout his time at LSU, he served multiple roles for his fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon, including Chaplain, Scholarship Chair, and ultimately President, and has gained valuable experience with communicating with different personality types and changing approaches for different settings as a result. He believes that family always comes first, and enjoys spending as much time outdoors as he can.
Due in part to Disney's Big Hero 6, Tiffany Le is graduating in Biological Engineering with a minor in Robotics. She counts being named a Distinguished Communicator has the honor she is most proud of. “The skills I have learned through the program has transcended every aspect of my professional and personal life,” she says. While at LSU, she has seized the opportunity to practice her communication skills outside of engineering through campus-wide events like Geaux Big. These experiences helped show her that communication isn’t one-way delivery. “Communication is a two-way exchange so it is important to remember that having the other party receive your thoughts efficiently is just as crucial as saying what you want to say,” she says.
Robert McPherson is graduating in Mechanical Engineering with minors in Robotics and Business Administration. During his junior year, Robert studied abroad in Sheffield, England. Robert also interned for the Renewable Energy Group, which for him was an opportunity to feel, even as a student, like “a fully fledged engineer.” There, he worked both in corporate and plant settings. Robert cites his communication skills training via the DC Program as a significant contributor to his growth as a leader. For Robert, “Communication works two ways, in that information is both given and received. Being a Distinguished Communicator means that you actively listen to what others say in order to receive more from every interaction.”
Sonja Nguyen is graduating in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Business Administration, and will be working in construction automation with Bechtel Corporation. Sonja served as a member of the Society of Peer Mentors and as a Team Leader for LSU’s Encountering Engineering Camp, mentoring youth and facilitating outreach activities to promote STEM education. Sonja interned with Baker Hughes, a GE Company, in summer 2019, where her work stretched her technical and communication skills, and where she pushed herself “out of my comfort zone by initiating conversation and creating bonds with coworkers.” About communication, Sonja shares “Being an LSU Distinguished Communicator means being able to effectively express yourself. I found that to be able to express myself, I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone and take initiative.”
Amaury Regnard is graduating in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Business Administration, and he intends to pursue a Master's in Management. Amaury served as a regional coordinator for Geaux Big LSU in 2018, which is one of his favorite experiences because it enabled him to apply skills from his major into planning a large event. Amaury cites his communication skills development with the DC program as important for his growth as a leader: “Being able to speak in public and convince an audience or team has made me grow as a leader. I was inexperienced in leadership roles and DC has provided me with opportunities to grow.” Amaury was reflective as he prepared for commencement, acknowledging that life has hit hard in 2020 for him as for others. Still, he notes, “I am proud of what I accomplished in my four years. Having this medal really helped boost my morale and I am excited for where it will take me.”
Elizabeth Reiner, who goes by Libby, is graduating in Electrical Engineering and served as a Senior Team Leader in the Chevron Center for Engineering Education. Libby participated in LSU's Center for Computation & Technology's National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates. She shares, “This exposed me to academic research for the first time, and I fell in love with researching and with the field of physical electronics.” She also presented research at the 2019 Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society. Through her collective experiences at LSU Libby cites the importance of taking time to expand skills beyond a single discipline. For Libby, “Being a Distinguished Communicator is so important to me because it has helped me hone vital, non-technical skills that will make me a better employee and a better engineer.” Libby is known to apply her technical and non-technical skills to vital aspects of downtime, and is “also very proud of learning to make pizza dough from scratch!”
Jordan Remont is graduating in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Robotics Engineering, and served as Team Leader for the LSU Encountering Engineering camp. Jordan will be entering the field of prosthetics and orthotics, and cites her experiences with the DC program, alongside her decision to be a part of LSU’s College of Engineering, as invaluable factors in her professional development. “Effective communication is at the heart of healthcare, and I believe I will have an advantage due to the preparation I have already received by being an LSU Distinguished Communicator.” Further, she notes “Although the end of my time at LSU was not what I or anyone else might have expected, I can honestly say that the last four years as an LSU student have been so memorable to me. Through the many opportunities I had to get involved in my community and the growth I felt as a student and professional, I will always be proud to say that I am an LSU Tiger!”
Krista Scafidel is graduating in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Robotics Engineering. She served as President of the Society of Peer Mentors and received the Love Purple Live Gold Commitment to Community Award. One of Krista’s favorite experiences at LSU was planning and working the first Lego League competition at LSU, sharing, “it excites me and motivates me to become a better engineer so that I can make more people excited about STEM.” Krista cites her commitment to communication skills development as a significant factor in enabling her to successfully speak in public and write about the positive impacts of STEM outreach and mentoring. She notes, “Being an effective communicator has directly impacted my leadership skills by challenging me to step out of my comfort zone and take on positions I did not think I was capable of succeeding in.” And her legacy continues, as one of her most highly respected professors advised Krista he would be sending his niece Krista’s portfolio to inspire her to come to LSU.
Jessica Sims is graduating in Chemical Engineering with a Biomolecular Concentration, and is the last person in the first generation of her family to graduate from college. After graduation, she wants to use her knowledge of engineering to improve society as a Chemical Engineer. Working on her controls project for her Unit Operations Lab is one of Jessica’s favorite projects while at LSU, because, as she says, the project “took the concepts in my Process Dynamics class and blew them up.” Jessica cites the DC Program with helping her take initiative in conflict resolution, identifying approaches to communication that allow for mutual respect across disagreements.
Michael Smith is graduating in Mechanical Engineering, and will be working for Chevron focusing on gas turbines. He credits his internship with Cheniere Energy as one of his most valuable experiences in fostering his professional growth. Michael also worked with K12 students via the Society for Peer Mentors, inspiring them to pursue STEM fields. Among his many accomplishments, including his work in the military, Michael is proudest of being an LSU Mechanical Engineering Distinguished Communicator. He shares, “Ever since I was a young boy from Reno, NV I dreamed of coming to and succeeding at LSU. Long story short, through all the trials and tribulations, I made it happen.”
Allison Swetledge is graduating with a degree in industrial engineering. Allison is passionate about community service and has dedicated herself to numerous service organizations. During the Baton Rouge floods of 2016, she supported her community and exercised her construction skills by cleaning, deconstructing, and rebuilding homes. Allison loves decorating, creating art, drawing house plans, and more. Her creativity and precise attention to detail carries over into her professional acumen, giving her a keen eye for technical drawings and design.
Amelie Thomas is graduating from LSU’s Mechanical Engineering program exactly 19 years after her father finished the same degree. One of my Amelie’s favorite experiences while at LSU involved researching soft robotics with her advisor, an “exercise in curiosity,” as she calls it. Amelie is proud of completing the DC program because it required every step of the way that she made her choices to commit and complete the work. As a result, she’s cultivated communication skills to manage conflicts and motivate others.
John Wallace is graduating in Mechanical Engineering, with a minor in Business Administration. HIs favorite internship while studying was with ADG Engineering in Baton Rouge, and John will transition to full time work there upon graduation. One of the things John values most about his work via the DC Program is that focusing on audience analysis and using that to inform his communication led to tangible results in his projects. About his graduation, John says “I am graduating from a school that I have wanted to attend all my life in the year that the LSU Football team recorded the greatest season in college football history!”
Gabrielle Welty is graduating in Mechanical Engineering. In addition to her leadership roles and service Phi Beta Pi fraternity, Gabrielle also studied abroad with the College of Engineering’s Encountering Europe program and served as a Study Abroad Ambassador for LSU’s Academic Programs Abroad. Gabrielle considers her accomplishments as a Distinguished Communicator to be a strong cornerstone for her career as an engineer, and is proudest of her internship with Halliburton’s Supply Chain Management Program. As part of her legacy, she wants to remind students and fellow graduates to keep on persevering. She shares, “I actually had to take thermodynamics three times. I dropped the first time, failed the second time, and after being super discouraged, I worked really hard and passed! I am proud of myself for that accomplishment because most people would have switched their major, but I was determined.” Congrats, Distinguished Communicator!
College of Humanities & Social Sciences
Amanda Husein, French and Biological Sciences
College of Human Sciences & Education
Katie Fairchild is graduating in Early Childhood Education. Upon graduation, she will be using her passion for whole child education to instruct children academically and spiritually as a 1st grade teacher in the Catholic school system. Katie is excited to put the skills she’s developed as a Distinguished Communicator to use in the classroom to make a difference in a young child’s life. “Being a Distinguished Communicator has helped me understand how to communicate in a versatile way,” she says.
Fallon Nixon is graduating in Elementary Grades Education. As a freshman at LSU, Fallon discovered her passion for teaching by participating in the Geaux Teach Program, where she was able to teach a lesson at an elementary school. While most students recognize the importance of feedback to effective communication, Fallon was able to immediately put things she was learning into practice as an Executive Member-At-Large for LSU Ambassadors. Being a Distinguished Communicator was never something she saw for her future, but pursuing the distinction has proven to be a huge asset. “As I close this chapter of my life and move to a professional career I know that I have many takeaways from this program. I have learned how to effectively communicate with students of different backgrounds, learning styles, and ages, and I feel equipped to be a teacher,” she says.
Hana O'Neill is graduating in Early Childhood Education. “Being an LSU Distinguished Communicator means that I have gone above and beyond to better myself as a teacher and professional, she says. “I know the hard work and effort I applied to my assignments and internships during my time in CxC and the PK-3 program will benefit not only myself, but the members of my classroom and school in the future.“ Hana has applied her exceptional work ethic to exploring a variety of educational service opportunities, from leading a 1st grade class in the Cardboard Challenge at Knock Knock Children’s Museum to serving as secretary for the Association for the Education of Young Children.
Erin Ricken is graduating in Early Childhood Education. She has put in countless hours in the classroom enriching the lives of children with hands-on learning, and hopes to put her passion for service, learning, and diversity to work to become an elementary school teacher after graduation. Through the Distinguished Communicator program, she was able to develop one of the many critical skills a teacher needs—successful spoken communication. “I overcame my fears of public speaking and have become confident in myself and my abilities,” she says.
Manship School of Mass Communication
Pryce Bahnsen is graduating in Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Business Administration. Throughout her college career, Pryce has been immersed in learning and practicing PR through her own firm, founded in her sophomore year at LSU, and by interning with the late Holly Clegg. Her internship with Clegg challenged her professionally, and gave her the opportunity to be inspired first-hand by a female entrepreneur successfully running her own business—something Pryce is well on her way to achieving. She credits becoming a Distinguished Communicator as the honor she’s most valued at LSU. “This recognition challenged me and aided in my development as a professional and will stay with me far after graduation,” she says. “To me, it is not just a recognition to temporarily celebrate, but a recognition to take pride in forever.
Christopher DeFelice is graduating in Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and minors in Business Administration, Screen Arts, and History. “The Distinguished Communicator award holds the most value to me because working with the program has helped me strengthen many skills while also instilling a newfound confidence that I never knew I had,” he says. That confidence has extended beyond just the classroom as Chris became a more skilled leader, and explored new career possibilities, such as interning at WAFB, where he used his creativity and passions to produce content on a large platform. Expect Chris’ success as a Tiger to continue as he returns to campus in the fall to pursue a master’s degree.
Amaya Lynch is graduating in Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Business Administration. She hopes to contribute her passion for storytelling to a full-time public relations position in the entertainment or consumer industry. A high achiever since arriving at LSU, Amaya has completed her bachelor’s degree after only three years. As a freshman she became a published writer with The Daily Reveille, and will be leaving a legacy as a founding member of the student affiliate for the National Association of Black Journalists at LSU. And Amaya’s not only driven in her academic life. After never traveling outside the US, she managed to visit nine countries in 2019.
College of Science
Ryan Agsunod is graduating in Biological Sciences with a minor in Business Administration. His time spent volunteering through extracurricular activities has only strengthened his resolve to enter the medical field. The skills developed through the Distinguished Communicator program enabled Ryan to become a better leader for activities like Geaux Big Baton Rouge, which he participated in for all four years at LSU, becoming Executive Director his senior year. His proudest achievement at LSU is graduating with the Honors College. “I value this recognition the most because I have set my sights on achieving this goal ever since I first came to LSU,” he says.” The pursuit of this recognition allowed me to grow and develop as a person and in the future I can proudly look back on all the hard work that I have done to achieve College Honors.”
Justin Champagne is graduating with a degree in Physics. Throughout his time in the Distinguished Communicator program, he was able to build his confidence to showcase his abilities. “CxC, along with my other activities at LSU,” he says, ”have helped me to become a more assertive individual who can respectively and fluently express my needs, desires, and wishes to others.” He credits his time working as a tutor at the LSU Center for Academic Success Shell Tutorial Center as the opportunity he most enjoyed at LSU. “Working with the students was a once in a lifetime joy,” he says.
Jordan Cross is graduating in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Secondary Education. She credits the Distinguished Communicator program as the catalyst to turn one of her weaknesses into a strength. “Coming into college, I knew I needed to work on my communication skills if I wanted to be able to effectively interact with patients and colleagues,” she says. “By pursuing a path that allowed me to improve my communication skills, I am not only able to say confidently that I have grown academically and personally, but I will be able to apply all the skills I have gained in all aspects of my life.” While her time as an undergraduate has completed, she will continue to be a Tiger in the fall when she attends LSU Health Shreveport School of Medicine. “It has been a childhood dream of mine to become a doctor, and it is finally coming true,” she says.
Ogden Honors College graduate Amanda Husein has earned dual degrees in Biological Sciences and French—an accomplishment of which she is particularly proud. “I am very grateful that I was introspective during gym time at LSU to realize that the balance in all my interests was most important above all,” Amanda says. Balancing an interest in medicine with a desire to broaden her cultural experiences, she hopes to become a physician and eventually work with Francophone public health organizations. While at LSU, Amanda had the opportunity to fully immerse herself into French culture by studying in Paris for a semester. This experience allowed her to not only become a more well-rounded global citizen, it also made her confident that medicine is the right path for her. Fun fact: Distinguished Communicators run in the Husein family. Her sister Amani earned the distinction in 2018.
Michael Simons, who goes by Peyton, is graduating in Biological Sciences with a minor in Spanish. His time in the Distinguished Communicator program allowed him to develop a passion for new strengths, and ultimately reflect and celebrate his own successes. “Being a Distinguished Communicator has opened my eyes to the various ways that people communicate and connect with each other,” he says. “Through this program and various communication intensive courses, I was able to develop skills for engaging with a variety of individuals as well as skills necessary for communicating personal stories and academic concepts effectively.” And Peyton will soon have the perfect opportunity to put these skills into practice. Prior to starting medical school in Fall 2021, he will be working as an EMT.
Hailey Simpson is graduating in Biological Sciences with a minor in psychology, and plans to bridge the two fields as a physician assisting her patients both mentally and physically. In fact, she credits becoming a Distinguished Communicator as one of the programs that has best prepared her to succeed in her field. “Being an LSU Distinguished Communicator has truly prepared me to become a physician who can effectively communicate complex physiology to her patients in a way they can understand,” she says. As one of the May 2020 Tiger Twelve and a founding leader of the Ogden Honors College Council, Hailey has had the opportunity to flex her leadership skills on campus, growing as a leader and a communicator. This future doctor is passionate about literacy, sharing her love for reading through Volunteers for Public Schools, and is an avid traveler, visiting fifteen countries on four continents.