Tech graduates anticipate new challenges in workforce

Aug 19, 2010 | General News

 Two hundred seventy-five students received diplomas today at Louisiana Tech’s summer commencement ceremonies, some of them already gainfully employed and other searching for the perfect opportunity.
Mark Carter, of Haughton, received his bachelor’s in political science and has already found his niche with the Air Force, as he was in the Air Force ROTC while at Tech.
“I leave Oct. 12 for active duty,” Carter said. “No one in my family was military, but I’ve wanted to join the ROTC since I was a kid. I’ve gained a lot of experience with the ROTC.”
Heather Jordan, of Jonesboro, received her associate’s degree in health information management, a field she chose after deciding that physical therapy wasn’t the right option for her.
“I really got into health information management,” Jordan said. “I’m hoping to get into medical coding. It’s really interesting, and I like the medical field.”
Kacey Broadway, of Shreveport, gained a bachelor’s degree in marketing, which she plans to use as she works for her hometown’s baseball team, the Captains. However, while she anticipates the future, she said she will miss her alma mater.
“Tech’s far enough away from home but was close enough,” Broadway said. “I loved it. I’m excited about graduating, but I’m sure when I get out, I’ll be sad.”
Dr. Jim Nelson, associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Engineering and Science, served as keynote speaker and urged the new graduates to work to solve problems in whatever career field they chose.
“What’s the next step?  Well, to me, the next step is your job,” Nelson said. “You can’t solve all the world’s problems next year, but you can be successful at your job this next year, whatever that job is.  And that’s the first step toward making a better life for yourself and your family and building a better world.”
Three ways to accomplish this, he added, were to be creative, communicate effectively and respect others.
“Your first day on the job, pay attention to everyone with whom you will be working, not just your immediate supervisor,” Nelson said. “Say ‘thank you’ to the janitor who empties your trash can. Take a box of donuts to the machinist who told you that the part you just designed on your computer won’t work. In general, show everyone the respect that you expect them to show you.”
Nelson’s second suggestion involved the process of grammatically-correct writing in any form, including e-mail, which, he said, would assist new employees in any field.
“You will, in a very professional and unpretentious way, set yourself apart from all the other new hires,” Nelson said. “If you are writing to individuals whom you have not met, they will probably think you are several years older and more experienced than you really are.”
Lastly, Nelson urged the graduates to be creative in their occupations.
“Grand challenges require creative solutions,” Nelson said. “This spark of creativity that’s inside each of us is an essential part of what makes life better for you and your family. We all need to continually cultivate it.”
Nelson said two of the reasons students attend college is to make a better life for themselves and their families, and the other to make a better world.
 “One of the things I hope you all have learned here at Tech is the value of multidisciplinary collaboration,” he said. “It is a hallmark of this university. You can’t know all the answers yourself, but working together across disciplines, you can generate creative solutions that would otherwise be well beyond your grasp.”