Pentagon Pathways: LSU Students Reveal the Surprising Ways They're Helping Secure Our Future

April 18, 2024

Through the Scholarship First Agenda, LSU seeks to secure Louisiana’s future and create solutions essential to the future of agriculture, biomedicine, the coast, defense, and energy.

Students are a big part of the effort, finding pathways to meaningful roles and defining solutions that can make a huge difference, sometimes in unexpected ways.

Priority: Agriculture

Simone Koskie

Simone Koskie, a textiles, apparel and merchandising major (Ruston, La.)

“My last four years at LSU have provided me with essential knowledge of how agriculture is a key part of the fashion and textile industry.

"In an industry where synthetic fibers and the harmful microplastics that their production produces, natural fibers cultivated through agriculture provide an opportunity to minimize the massive amounts of waste produced in the textile industry. Natural, or cellulose-based, fibers include cotton, hemp and flax, and offer a biodegradable textile option that reduces water use and greenhouse gas emissions during the production process.

"Designing garments that are 100% biodegradable allows up-and-coming designers to play their part in reducing waste in the fashion industry!”

Priority: Biomedical

Hope HickersonHope Hickerson a PhD student in media & public affairs with a focus on health communication (Raeford, N.C.)

“A doctorate in communications with a focus on health communication will only enhance the work I’m doing with marginalized communities.

"Being able to understand 'the why' of how certain health campaigns and messaging efforts work as opposed to others is crucial in my field of health education. My degree also gave me the research skills that are crucial to advance the work in meaningful ways and present that work in ways that make sense to multiple publics.”

Priority: Coast

Ansel Wilder

Ansel Wilder, a theatre major with a performance concentration (Knoxville, Tenn.)

“The great thing about being in the theater program here at LSU is that as an actor I’ve gotten opportunities to play so many different characters.

"Some of my favorite roles are those that reflect real-world situations because you get to educate yourself on the issues these characters are tackling. Specifically, the background research I did for my character in To Stand in the Water (written and directed by the wonderful Alice Wilkinson) gave me a whole new perspective on waterway usage and how human interaction affects coasts, rivers, etc.

"I learned how important it is that we protect coastal areas and waterways, not just in Louisiana but everywhere.

"With rising sea levels worldwide, we’re experiencing devastating land loss and the face of the world is changing before our eyes, but there is work we can do to combat it.

"This is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of people’s minds, and the play was such a great opportunity for me to learn more about such issues and the work being done at LSU to aid in that fight. We’re doing great work at this school in the coastal field, and the more people we can recruit to research and figure out solutions, the more good we can do for the world.”

Priority: Defense

Calcea Johnson

Calcea Johnson, an environmental engineering major (New Orleans)

My environmental engineering studies at LSU will allow me to help defend Louisiana against coastal erosion. With our development of innovative and sustainable green infrastructure, Louisiana will be stronger than ever.”  

Priority: energy

Laurin Turner

Laurin Turner, an MBA student (Sterling, La.)

“LSU is well respected in the energy industry. I met a lot of Tiger alums last summer at my internship with Chevron. Energy companies are confident that they know what they are getting when they hire LSU graduates.

"The LSU MBA program helped give me the resources and knowledge to be successful in receiving a full-time job offer with the land department at Chevron.”

Next Step

LSU's Scholarship First Agenda is helping achieve health, prosperity, and security for Louisiana and the world.