2012 Epting/Mathews Co-op Student of the Year

2012 Co-op Student of the YearThe Cooperative Education Program with the financial support of Huntington Ingalls (formerly Northrop Grumman) has instituted a new award and scholarship in honor of two former directors, Dr. Luther Epting and Mr. Mike Mathews. These two gentlemen have made significant contributions to Cooperative Education at Mississippi State as well as on the national level. It is a great privilege to honor them by naming this new award and $500 scholarship the Epting/Mathews Co-op Student of the Year award.

The Cooperative Education Program with the financial support of Huntington Ingalls, formerly Northrop Grumman, is in the third year of honoring an outstanding co-op student with the Epting/Mathews Co-op Student of the Year award and $500 scholarship. Kelsey LeSaicherre is the 2012 honoree to receive the award given at a ceremony during Co-op & Internship Interview Days in early October.

Kelsey, a Chemical Engineering student, from Ponchatoula, LA is currently finishing up her degree at MSU planning to graduate December 2013. She completed her third work semester this past summer with Marathon Petroleum Company in Catlettsburg, KY. Kelsey has been able to work for Marathon Petroleum not only in KY but also in Garyville, LA and Findlay, OH.

Kelsey is the current Vice President of External Affairs of American Institute of Chemical Engineers. She is also involved in the Society of Women Engineers and Service DAWGS. She continues to distinguish herself as a President’s Scholar, Hunter Henry Engineering Scholar, and MSU Distinguished Scholar.

In addition to excelling academically, Kelsey is also an outstanding co-op employee. Her supervisor, Johnny Highfield, had this to say about Kelsey, "Kelsey has worked diligently to complete a significant amount of work during her term. She was able to adjust to the changing demands of her weekly workload as a co-op for a unit engineer at the refinery. She was able to complete all of her assigned tasks while being able to accept unplanned work. I was comfortable giving her assignments because I was confident that she would produce quality work."

Faculty advisor, Dr. Bill Elmore, says that Kelsey has an enthusiasm about studying chemical engineering and using her abilities to positively affect others. Many students possess the drive to achieve high grades and pursue extracurricular activities enthusiastically, but balancing these while directing considerable energy toward the service of others is a rare commodity among, not only college students, but among the population in general. Kelsey has been able to achieve that balance which makes her a special addition to the Chemical Engineering Department.

Kelsey definitely recognizes the value of co-op in her life professionally, personally, and academically. She wrote this in her application. "My co-op experience has tremendously helped my classroom learning experience by giving me a frame of reference for equipment and processes used in the chemical processing industry. Co-oping has made a drastic impression on both my career goals and areas of educational interest. After just one co-op term, I decided I really enjoyed chemical engineering and would pursue a career in the oil refining industry."

Kelsey will represent Mississippi State and the Cooperative Education Program in the National Co-op Student of the Year competition hosted by the American Society for Engineering Education, Cooperative & Experiential Education Division.