Alumni return to inspire students at LSMSA during Connections Weekend

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On front row from left are Ben Marcel (‘00), Matthew Fults (‘14), Kimberly Adkins (‘87), Lori Lincoln (‘91), Courtney Richard (‘98) and Dana Seymour (‘86). On back row are William Saunders (‘10), Elizaveta Barrett Ristroph (‘96), Emily Hindrichs (‘97), Rev. Sarah Shoup (‘98), Christopher Perdue (‘95), Michael Thornton (‘87) and Kevin Kuperman (‘96).

LSMSA

Thirteen graduates returned to the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) to speak at the school’s annual Connections Weekend. The event took place on Oct. 12-13. The speakers met with current students to offer insight about their time at the school, as well as to offer college and career advice. Kimberly Adkins is originally from, and currently resides in, Shreveport. She is a national board certified teacher and librarian and has been appointed president of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians for the 2019-2020 year. She spoke on librarianship as a career path and the importance of using the library’s resources and facilities.

Motel 6

Matthew Fults is an electrical design engineer at Dow Chemical in Houston. Originally from Longville, Louisiana, he attended Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, where he received a Double Bachelor’s in Math and Electrical Engineering. He discussed the benefits of going to La. Tech and how it helped him excel later on in his professional career. Emily Hindrichs is a professional opera soloist, performer and instructor in music. Originally from Slidell, she now resides in Germany. She has performed internationally and has received many accolades for her performances, including top prize at the Les Azuriales Opera Competition in France and a Sullivan Foundation Award. Hindrichs spoke to students about how to make a living as Kevin Kuperman is a web systems engineer and technical lead at Wells Fargo. This requires keeping the bank’s online systems up and running and overseeing operations. t, Kuperman talked about the importance of being flexible with plans and how to properly deal with professional and personal setbacks.

Lori Lincoln, originally from Leesville, currently works as the client relationship executive at 3M Health Information Systems in South Carolina. She is a registered nurse, registered health information administrator, advanced practice nurse, certified midwife, and an ambassador for the National MS society. She spoke about the importance of personal branding and how to sell yourself in the job market. Ben Marcel from Houma received certification from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program before becoming the founder and CEO of Torapath Tehnologies, which offers IT and digital marketing services to other companies. He spoke on professional growth, leadership, team building, and entrepreneurship. Christopher Perdue, originally from Prairieville, attended Louisiana College in Pineville and was hired by Ameriprise Financial in Houston soon after he graduated. Since 1999, he has worked his way up the ranks and is now Ameriprise’s regional vice president. He spoke to students about the importance of developing skills outside of the classroom. Courtney Richard, who is also certified through Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, is the founder and president of Anchor36 LLC and Anchor36 Logistics. The companies have grown into a multi-million dollar trucking conglomerate, having developed partnerships with DHL, Shell and GE. Originally from Metairie, Richard spoke to students about focus, not putting too much pressure on themselves, and being open to all of life’s options. Elizaveta Barrett Ristroph is the principal at Ristroph, Planning, and Research, which works with tribes, communities, and agencies on issues related to natural resources and climate change. She is originally from Lafayette, but her legal work has taken her all across the globe from the Philippines to Russia. She spoke about the value of getting to meet people, understanding different cultures, and breaking out of comfort zones. William Saunders is a civil and structural engineer for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. He is originally from Pine Prairie, and he received both a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Louisiana State University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Francophone Studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Saunders touched on how languages can connect people and also spoke about various topics in civil and structural engineering. Dana Seymour is the lead program evaluator for the Mississippi Department of Education. From Kinder, she received a bachelor’s in Philosophy and English at Centenary College, a master’s in Gifted Education from the Mississippi University for Women, and a doctorate in Education Psychology from Mississippi State University. In her workshop, she discussed how to choose a major or career and the importance of being prepared for the future. Rev. Sarah Shoup, originally from DeRidder, is the director of operations and programs at Common Ground Community, Inc. in Shreveport, an outreach facility which serves the surrounding community by providing literacy programs, adult ministries, classes and youth programs. Rev. Shoup spoke on how careers and volunteerism can intersect and the importance of always seeking knowledge in a rapidly changing society. Michael Thornton serves as the clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M University and also serves as the assistant director of Texas A&M’s Coaching Academy. Originally from Tallulah, Thornton spoke on the importance of networking, effective communication and how to make an impact. Speakers participated in a panel discussion on Friday night before offering individual sessions for students Saturday morning. The panel discussion is archived and can be viewed at www.livestream.com/LSMSA.