Chemistry and Physics programs name scholarship winners/outstanding students

May 18, 2023 | Engineering and Science, General News, Students

Louisiana Tech University’s Chemistry and Physics programs announced outstanding student awards at the College of Engineering and Science Design and Research Conference. The awards recognize outstanding performance in coursework and/or laboratory work.

Graduating senior Spencer Stelly of Boyce was named Outstanding Chemistry Student of the Year. Stelly, who is minoring in Spanish and Biology, plans to pursue a veterinary degree after graduation. He is a member of the Union Board and a COES Ambassador. Stelly also earned the Physical Chemistry Award and was named a COES Outstanding Senior.

Other Chemistry program awardees are Laura Ajlani of Alexandria (General Chemistry), Benjamin Haley of Denham Springs (Analytical Chemistry), William Humphreys of Shreveport (Service to Chemistry), Jacquelin Laberteaux of Carencro (Lab Assistant), Mackenzie Gray of Ruston (UTEACH Tech Award for Chemistry), Daniel Morris of New Orleans (Lab Assistant), Akeena Obaze of Dallas, Texas (Nanomaterials and Senior Organic Chemistry), Christy Soileau of Oakdale (General Chemistry), Sallie Snellings of Monroe (Sophomore Inorganic), Natalie Stewart of Denham Springs (Inorganic Chemistry and Lab Assistant), and Samantha Townsend of Bossier (Biochemistry).

Elizabeth McDowell of Indian Trail, North Carolina, was named Outstanding Senior for the Physics program. She was also recognized for her Outstanding Research in the study of 2-D materials and was named a College of Engineering and Science Outstanding Senior.

McDowell – a double major in Professional Aviation and Physics – has a commercial pilot license and is a flight instructor with Louisiana Tech. She spent her undergraduate career immersed in College of Engineering and Science and Louisiana Tech University culture. Her resume includes serving as an officer in the Society of Physics Students, a Blue Fire mentor for the 2021 first-year class, a teaching assistant for the general physics labs, a supreme court justice for the Student Government Association, an ambassador for Louisiana Tech’s Career Center, a member of the Women in Aviation organization, and president of the aviation honor society Eta Mu Sigma.

She plans to pursue a career with Textron Aviation in Wichita, Kansas, where she will work as an Avionics and Electrical Systems Engineer beginning this summer.

“My favorite part of being a student at Tech is the ability to be involved in so many things while still being challenged academically,” she said. “I’m thankful for the support and encouragement of other students and faculty throughout my time at Tech.”

The Physics program also named Yusuff Afeez Oluwatobi of Ogbomoso, Nigeria (Outstanding Graduate Student), Tyler Dunn of Hahnville (Outstanding Service), Seth Quigley of Ruston (Outstanding Outreach), and David Yu of Shreveport (Outstanding Freshman).

Yu also earned an H.E. Ruff Scholarship – named for Dr. H.E. Ruff, Jr., a former head of Physics at Louisiana Tech. The Ruff Scholarship is awarded to a full-time Physics student who has at least a 2.5-grade point average.

The program has also awarded Ethan Jamerson of Hallsville, Texas, and Christian Mauricio of Ruston with the Claude and Joyce Cooke Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded to full-time Physics students, and has awarded Zachary Thomas of Duson with the Roberts Endowed Scholarship for students majoring in Physics or Electrical Engineering.