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LAPELS Board feeds, educates Tech student engineers on licensing

Today’s professionals helping tomorrow’s professionals. It happens all the time at Louisiana Tech.

This week it was the Louisiana Professional Engineering and Land Surveying (LAPELS) Board that met on campus to discuss with senior engineering students the importance of engineering licensure.

Nearly 200 senior engineering students attended a presentation by representatives from LAPELS to learn the purpose of the organization and the importance of licensure as a professional engineer or land surveyor.

“Louisiana law requires licensure of engineers and surveyors as a means of protecting the public; the governor uses the LAPELS Board to carry out these laws,” said Jeff Pike, senior lecturer in Tech’s civil engineering and construction engineering technology programs. “The expectation is that all engineers and surveyors in Louisiana must meet the 4 ‘E’s’ — ethics, education, exams, and experience — before they are allowed to practice either engineering or surveying within the state.”

Prior to the presentation, the organization served a jambalaya lunch and met with Tech students, faculty and staff. Roughly 500 Tech students, primarily engineering seniors, dined with the board members, discussing opportunities and offering to help with the event.

Richard L. Savoie and Billy Moore pouring the rice into the jambalaya

Richard L. Savoie and Billy Moore pouring the rice into the jambalaya

“I’m just glad to get to be a part of two great organizations coming together to talk to our engineering students and faculty about the importance of professional licensure in our state,” said Pike, who was instrumental in helping organize the event. “I’d say Donna Sentell, the executive director of LAPELS, and Desirée Brodeen from our dean’s office (in the College of Engineering and Science) actually organized the event, and Desirée had her hand in everything that was a success.”

Sentell said she enjoyed visiting the Louisiana Tech campus and discussing licensure opportunities with the students.

“I find your city, community, and campus so welcoming, inviting and nurturing,” Sentell said. “Your programs and students are an inspiration. You, your faculty and staff should be very proud of the influence and guidance you are having on the next generation of engineers.”

“This campus visit was one of my favorites,” said Richard L. Savoie, professional engineer, deputy executive director of LAPELS, and emeritus member of the board. “The staff involvement all the way up to Dean (Hisham) Hegab was great and indicates to both us and the students that licensure and protecting the public is paramount.”

Tech alumni and current LAPELS Board members Charlie Coyle and Scott Phillips and Tech alumni and board members emeriti Kevin Crosby, Richard Durrett, Billy Moore, and Ali Mustapha were also present at the lunch and presentation, along with LAPELS staff members Cheron Seaman and Janet Lindsey.

Janet Lindsey and Cheron Seaman manning the information table

Janet Lindsey and Cheron Seaman manning the information table

In addition to Pike, Tech is also represented on the LAPELS Board by Paul Hale, professor emeritus for the biomedical engineering program.

The LAPELS Board was established in 1908 and is the second oldest licensing board in the U.S. The board’s founding mission was to “safeguard life, health and property and to promote the public welfare” throughout Louisiana, and it continues to do so today.

Jeff Pike answering a student's question about licensure

Jeff Pike answering a student’s question about licensure

Curricula within engineering programs throughout the College of Engineering and Science help students earn their professional engineering licenses during their senior year. Some programs require students to take a course that prepares them for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, while others require students to take the exam. The path to professional licensure requires an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) engineering degree, the FE exam and the PE (Principles and Practice of Engineering) exam, and four years of progressive engineering experience.

Brandy McKnight, mcknight@LATech.edu, (318) 257-2072