Louisiana Tech doctoral student earns LEF fellowship

May 6, 2024 | Engineering and Science, Students

Ashton WardLouisiana Tech doctoral student Ashton Ward received the 2024 Louisiana Engineering Foundation (LEF) Vincent A. Forte Graduate School Fellowship Award for her dedication to engineering education.

The LEF awards the fellowship – named for its first president and founding member, Vincent A. Forte – to an engineering graduate student who plans to teach at the university level.

Ward earned her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana Tech and her master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Arkansas. She spent five years as an electrical design engineer at ENERCON before returning to Tech for her doctoral studies.

Ward is currently teaching first- and second-year Living with the Lab courses and researching project-based education under the guidance of mentor and advisor Dr. Krystal Cruse. She has also joined Louisiana Tech’s Office of Women in Science and Engineering and assisted with the “Introducing New Skills and Proficiencies through Immersive Reassuring Experiences” (INSPIRE) workshop, where she provided feedback and support for incoming female engineering and science students.

Dr. Cruse stated, “Working with Ashton and witnessing her unwavering dedication to engineering education has been a privilege. Her passion for bridging academia and industry and her commitment to mentorship and community engagement truly set her apart. Ashton’s drive and enthusiasm make her an exceptional student and a beacon for the future of engineering education.”

“Receiving the Vincent A. Forte Graduate School Fellowship this year was an honor,” Ward says. “It is not only financial support for my doctoral journey but also a recognition of my dedication to engineering education. Mr. Forte’s daughter reached out and told me how proud her dad would be of me.

“Engineering holds a special place in my heart,” she continued. “When I was in college, it showed me that I could achieve things I never considered possible, and, after college, it has provided me with a stable and rewarding career that supports my family.”

She officially received the award in Baton Rouge at the LES Honors and Awards Presentation.


This story was written by MBA student Daniel Young.