Gulf Scholars Program

All majors welcome!

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academies Gulf Scholars Program (GSP) aims to prepare undergraduate students from any major to address challenges and issues facing the gulf south region. LSU Gulf Scholars will participate in immersive projects, courses, excursions and activities focused on supporting people, ecosystems and industries in and around the Gulf of Mexico. 

Learn More About the Program

As a Gulf Scholar, you are part of a cohort of LSU students across all majors working under a unified mission.

Gain confidence and learn new skills as you complete a 10-week, faculty-mentored Gulf Impact Project over the summer.

Participate in excursions and local activities to expand your knowledge of the gulf environment and communities.

Build a network of fellow students, faculty, and stakeholders to explore future opportunities in your field of interest.

We will host several Student Information Sessions throughout the semester at which students can learn about the program, how to apply, and ask questions. 

If you are interested in applying to the program, we strongly encourage you to attend an info session.

Check back for Fall 2024 info session schedule!

Each summer, up to 25 students will be funded for a 10-week faculty-mentored research project centered on topics related to the gulf.  Gulf Impact Project students will receive up to $6,000 in funding for wages, supplies, and travel related to their project. Students from any major are welcome to apply!

  • Scholars will first be accepted into the program in the fall, and match with a Gulf Impact Project the following spring.
  • The research department for the Gulf Impact Project you apply to does not have to be the same department that your major is in. 
  • While some travel may be required for your specific project, you will otherwise must be present in Baton Rouge for the summer.


  • Attend an info session
  • Submit your application
  • Applicant decisions made and notifications sent


  • Gulf Scholars programming begins
  • Gulf Impact Projects determined


  • Complete Gulf Impact Projects
  • Present your project at the Summer Showcase
  • Continue work on projects, volunteering, and other activities

Gulf Impact Projects will be proposed and led by a faculty mentor.

Interested Faculty:

We are recruiting faculty mentors for Gulf Impact Projects for Summer 2025. We are looking for gulf-centric projects that either already have funding or are in need of funding. 

Benefits of mentoring a Gulf Impact Project undergraduate student:

  • High retention rates due to engagement with the greater cohort. 
  • Students receive additional training and knowledge through cohort workshops and seminars. 
  • Students have a demonstrated interest in the topic from the application process.

Students will get paid a minimum of $15 per hour and work up to 40 hours a week during the 10-week project. 

If you are interested in mentoring a Gulf Impact Project, please submit a project proposal form.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

The Gulf Scholars Program at LSU is made possible through the National Academies' Gulf Research Program. The Gulf Scholars Program supports Gulf of Mexico region colleges and universities in preparing undergraduate students as the next generation to address critical challenges in the region related to the focus areas of the Gulf Research Program – community health and resilience, environmental protection and stewardship, and offshore energy safety. Participating schools will engage students from across the sciences, engineering, medicine, humanities, arts, and beyond to develop key competencies and mindsets necessary to address critical Gulf challenges.

Read more about the National Academies' Gulf Scholars Program.

Student Major Gulf Impact Project - Summer 2024 Faculty Mentor
Jay Bonilla Hernandez Psychology Callin’ Baton Rouge: 311 Class, Flooding, and Environmental Justice Dr. Kevin Smiley
Jack Bourgeois Coastal Environmental Science Louisiana Deltaic Estuaries: Sea Level Rise Sentinels Dr. Cassandra Glaspie
Frank Bussott Coastal Environmental Science Investigating Coastal Hydrology to Inform Restoration Dr. Matt Hiatt
Leslie Castaneda Environmental Engineering Establishing a Gulf Coast Restoration Germplasm Repository and Subsequent Nursery Propagation Area Dr. Ed Bush
Karrie Cheng Mass Communication Nuisance to Nutrients: Characterization of Aquaculture Processors' Wastewater Effluent for Utilization as Land-Applied Fertilizer Dr. M.P. Hayes
Emerson Eccles Coastal Environmental Science Integrating multiple threats to global sustainability Dr. Brian Snyder
Lauren Ejiaga Psychology Water quality and human health impacts of failing onsite sewer systems in coastal Louisiana Dr. Aaron Bivins
Jana Giles Biological Sciences Louisiana Deltaic Estuaries: Sea Level Rise Sentinels Dr. Cassandra Glaspie
Roan Guidry Political Science Characterizing 30 years of wetland restoration projects funded by Louisiana's CWPPRA Program Dr. Andy Nyman
Gavin Juge Sociology Callin’ Baton Rouge: 311 Class, Flooding, and Environmental Justice Dr. Kevin Smiley
Zachary Legier Mechanical Engineering Soft, tactile robotic gripper for marine sampling and monitoring Dr. Robert Herbert
Christopher Lowrey-Dufour Coastal Environmental Science Exploring Environmental Toxicity through EROD Activity Dr. Jon Doering
Mallory Miller Natural Resource Ecology & Management Linkages Among Limpkins, Apple Snails and Mussels Dr. Sammy King
William Morales Computer Science Documenting Spanish in Southern Louisiana: A Sociolinguistic Research Initiative Dr. Rafael Orozco
Victoria Nguyen Natural Resource Ecology & Management Genetic Diversity and Connectivity of Gulf Coast Birds Dr. Nicholas Mason
Jaylynn Powe Studio Art Callin’ Baton Rouge: 311 Class, Flooding, and Environmental Justice Dr. Kevin Smiley
Stephanie Procopio Coastal Environmental Science Carbon and nutrient biogeochemistry in coastal marshes Dr. Songjie He
Long Tran Civil Engineering Implementing Slow Street for Public Health and Destination Access Equity Dr. Rebecca Bian
Lauren Vogel Natural Resource Ecology & Management Using fatty acids and stable isotopes to identify trophic niche partitioning between crawfish and invasive apple sanils in crawfish ponds of Louisiana Dr. Sydney Moyo
Dan Vu Microbiology Phototaxis and Chemotaxis in Karenia brevis Dr. Naohiro Kato
Shalanda Warr Studio Art Freshwater Mussels of Louisiana Poster Dr. Garrett Hopper
Katherine Winchester Computer Science Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for Gulf South Region Ecosystem Monitoring Dr. Xiangyu Meng


Name Major / Degree Gulf Impact Project - Summer 2023 Faculty Mentor
Joseph Brooks Landscape Architecture  No Place Like LaPlace: A Green Infrastructure Network for Stormwater Management Dr. Nicholas Serrano
Jennifer Cagnolatti Biological Sciences Evaluation of Altered Nutrient Conditions on Algal Growth During Dynamic Co-Culture Dr. Sibel Bartu-Ates
Emma Carlo B.A. Sociology - Fall 2023 Callin’ Baton Rouge: 311 Calls, Flooding and Environmental Justice Dr. Kevin Smiley
Brooke Chouest B.F.A. Studio Art - Spring 2024 Blood in the Water, Water in the Lungs Dr. Johanna Warwick 
Nonnie “Betsy” Cook Coastal Environmental Science Enabling Predictive Toxicology Assessments to Determine Whether
Pollution is Contributing to the Decline of Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico and Beyon 
Dr. Jon Doering 
Alcina Costa Computer Engineering Callin’ Baton Rouge: 311 Calls, Flooding and Environmental Justice Dr. Kevin Smiley
Carlie Dutile Biological Engineering Synthesis and Characterization of Cobalt Complexes for the
Electrochemical Reduction of Nitrite in Water 
Dr. Noemie Elgrishi
Victor Gischler Music Louisiana: Sounds of the Coast Dr. Brian Nabors 
Jamarion Johnson Coastal Environmental Science Vulnerability of Spartina patens Marshes to Sea-Level Rise Dr. Tracy Quirk
Jonathan Russell  Coastal Environmental Science Are Increasing Global Sea Temperatures Linked to Changing
Tropical Cyclone Induced Tornadic Distribution along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Coast? 
Dr. Robert Rohli 
Dakota Sievers Coastal Environmental Science Regenerating or Ghost Forest? A.E. LeBlanc Woods Natural Area Dr. Linda Hooper-Bui 
Neil Tepper B.A. Political Science - Spring 2024 Callin’ Baton Rouge: 311 Calls, Flooding and Environmental Justice Dr. Kevin Smiley
Patricia Thibodeaux Animal Sciences  Comparing Arthropod and Plant Communities Across
Natural and Man-Made Brackish Marshes in Coastal Louisiana 
Dr. Michael Polito
Landry Tucker Chemistry  Sediment Core Analysis of a Well-Preserved Underwater
Baldcypress Forest in the Northern Gulf of Mexico 
Dr. Kristine DeLong 
Treasure Wells Psychology The Louisiana Early Childhood Teachers Oral History Project Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner
Jameson Woodall Coastal Environmental Science Sedimentary History of the Mississippi River Pass-a-Loutre Outlet Dr. Sam Bentley 


Apply to the Gulf Scholars Program

Applicant Requirements: 

  • Must have at least 3 semesters remaining as a full-time undergraduate (includes summer semester).
  • For summer Gulf Impact Projects: Must be enrolled as a full-time student the following fall semester.
  • Must have a minimum 2.5 college GPA.
  • Must be in good standing with the University.

The Gulf Scholars Program is not accepting new student applicants at this time.

Applications were due November 1st, 2023. Check back next fall for the next round of undergraduate student applications!


Check out some of the engaging activities and trips the Gulf Scholars participate in!

Group photo of the Gulf Scholars on a trip to Buras, Louisiana.Gulf Scholars with a gar caught during a trip to Buras, Louisiana.Gulf Scholars observing a black drum caught during a trip to Buras, Louisiana.Gulf Scholars learning about species of plants along the gulf coast.

Gulf Scholar observing plant species while on a trip to Buras, Louisiana.Practicing throwing cast nets at Milford Wampold Memorial Park in Baton Rouge.Gulf Scholars on a trip to Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge to see the largest bald cypress tree in the United States.Scholars standing on new land in the gulf while on a trip to Buras, Louisiana.

Scholars observing fish caught from a cast net during an activity at Milford Wampold Memorial Park in Baton Rouge.Group photo of the Gulf Scholars on a trip to Buras, Louisiana.Scholar standing on new land in the gulf while on a trip to Buras, Louisiana.Scholars identifying fish caught from a cast net during an activity at Milford Wampold Memorial Park in Baton Rouge.

LSU GSP Leadership Team

  • Dr. Linda Hooper-Bui: Professor, Environmental Sciences
  • Dr. Jacqueline Bach: Vice Provost of Academic Programs & Support Services; Interim Director, LSU Discover; Elena and Albert LeBlanc Professor, English Education & Curriculum Theory
  • Dr. Clint Willson: Director, Center for River Studies; Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; The Water Institute of the Gulf
  • Dr. Debbie Goldgaber: Director, LSU Ethics Institute; Associate Professor and Section Head, Philosophy
  • Dr. Margaret Reams: Associate Director for Community Engagement, LSU Institute for Energy Innovation; Joseph D. Martinez Professor of Environmental Sciences
  • Sarah Ferstel: Associate Director, LSU Discover
  • Ella Magerl: Program Coordinator
  • Jamarion Johnson: Undergraduate Program Assistant