New Industry Scholarship Helps Support Students

Southeastern’s Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology has received a $25,000 contribution from Turner Industries to establish The Turner Industries Endowed Scholarship to benefit students in disciplines offered by the department. Beginning in 2022, a $1,000 scholarship will be available to a student selected by the faculty annually.

Recently, President and CEO of Turner Industries Stephen Toups visited Southeastern’s Science and Technology Building to meet faculty and students and learn firsthand the offerings available to students in the department. Pictured from left are Southeastern President John L. Crain and Toups.


Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Turner Industries provides turnkey services and solutions to the companies that produce fuel, energy, and products essential to modern life. With four main division lines – Construction, Maintenance and Turnarounds, Fabrication, and Equipment and Specialty Services – Turner Industries employees work across the United States for clients around the world.

Southeastern Lab School Continues to Excel

The Southeastern Laboratory School recently celebrated an improved report card. Their school performance grade increased by 2.2 points, and the Lab School remains the only ‘A’ rated school in Tangipahoa Parish.

Lab School Director Stephen Labbe said the school’s score improved from 94.3 to 96.5, which means their students grew academically even through the pandemic.

“Since the pandemic began, our teachers have worked to make sure we still provide our students with the highest education opportunities possible,” Labbe said. “Whether they were teaching their students in the classroom or virtually through zoom, the Lab School teachers continued to find ways for our students to be successful.”

The Lab School is also a Top Gains honoree, as well as an Equity honoree.

Named an Approved Center of Play Therapy Education

Southeastern has been designated as a new Approved Center of Play Therapy Education. In earning the designation, one of only three in the state, Southeastern demonstrates an offering of extensive play therapy curriculum to mental health faculty, students, and practitioners, said Associate Professor of Counseling and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor Laura Fazio-Griffith.

“The Counseling Program became an approved provider for play therapy education by the Association for Play Therapy in 2018, which means that we can provide play therapy workshops for masters-level clinicians and students who are pursuing the registered play therapist credential,” she said. “The Counseling Center offers at least one workshop per year in Hammond, Baton Rouge or virtually that is specific to play therapy education. The approved center is the next step in recognizing the Counseling Program’s commitment to play therapy education and research.”

Named the Southeastern Louisiana University Play Therapy Education and Training Site, the center, through the Counseling Program, will develop more play therapy instruction, conduct research, and contribute to the advancement of play therapy in the community. Centers are approved for a three-year period.

For more information, contact Fazio-Griffith at

Empowering Youth Through the Young Hispanics Leadership Program

Southeastern’s College of Business and the Latin American Business and Leadership Initiative recently received a $60,000 donation from local businessman and restaurant owner and operator Saul Rubio of Rubio Enterprise. The donation will fund the first stage of the Young Hispanics Leadership Program, which is designed to identify, develop, and empower the Hispanic youth community in the Southeast region through a multifaceted program that enhances and advances leadership capacities and professional growth.

“The Young Hispanic Leadership Program will go beyond the traditional instruction of leadership courses by providing Latino youth with the tools and resources to develop educational opportunities and become influential community leaders given Hispanic youth real-world learning experiences and interactions,” said Director of the Latin American Business Initiative Aristides Baraya. “The program promotes collaborative efforts within the university, generating a significant appreciation of cultural diversity and creating a lasting relationship among the Hispanic and non-Hispanic communities in the region.”

The program offers a series of symposia and workshops, to be held on Southeastern’s main campus in Hammond, as well as the Livingston Center in Walker, that examine the role of Hispanic youth in national and global transformations and the conceptualization of leadership and community service practices, Baraya explained. Presented by prominent Hispanic and non-Hispanic leaders discussing issues related to the Hispanic community, cultural diversity, and possible solutions, the workshops will help youth in grades 10 through 12 adopt critical thinking positions, analyze their roles in society, and seek improvement in their academic and professional lives.

“This program is an outstanding opportunity for Hispanic students to discover new faces in their lives and to put their leadership skills to work in practical and real-world applications,” Baraya said. “With a comprehensive portfolio of activities and working side-by-side with top community leaders, the program participants will develop a new and rejuvenated spirit of interdependence through a broad array of experiences that offer Hispanic youth complete and applicable educational opportunities.”

Southeastern began an effort in 1998 to expand the global perspectives of its students and increase its service vision to include the area of Southeast Louisiana and Latin America, as well as the Hispanic community in the United States. The university has been working with the Latin American community through the Hispanic Business and Leadership Institute, Baraya explained, offering programs designed to strengthen and invigorate the entrepreneurial, participative, and educative leadership capacities, as well as the international relations through a set of multifaceted actions that has allowed it to position itself at the forefront of various governments, companies, and institutions in Latin America.

“The Hispanic community has made significant contributions to the development of our great nation and has an essential role to play in today’s US economic and social success. Empowering social development and leadership to the Hispanic community will bring enormous opportunities to the entire region of Louisiana,” Baraya said.

For more information, contact Baraya at or 985-549-2171 or Director of the Livingston Center Krystal Hardison at or 225-665-3303.

Top Image: Southeastern Louisiana University’s College of Business and the Latin American Business and Leadership Initiative recently received a $60,000 donation from local businessman and restaurant owner and operator Saul Rubio, center, of Rubio Enterprise. The donation will fund the first stage of the Young Hispanics Leadership Program. Pictured, from left, are Director of the Latin American Business Initiative Aristides Baraya, Southeastern President John L. Crain, Rubio, College of Business Interim Dean Tara’ Lopez, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tena Golding.

Ranked One of the Best Schools  for Online Programs in Advanced Practice Nursing

Southeastern has been recognized nationally for online learning in advanced practice nursing by, an organization that produces free resource material and expert-driven guidebooks to help students find scholarships, financial aid, and top degree programs in nursing, healthcare administration, public health, and dozens of other key medical and health disciplines.

Southeastern was named one of 2021’s best schools for online programs and courses in advanced practice nursing. Only eight percent of colleges and universities across the country earned a position in one of’s higher education rankings.

Southeastern was ranked for online program excellence in psychiatric mental health, doctor of nurse practitioner, and most affordable psychiatric nurse practitioner.

“We set out to find the advanced practice nursing programs that are making online education a priority,” said founder of Wes Ricketts. “Each program in our rankings has a winning combination of flexibility, affordability, academic rigor, and student support.”
Southeastern’s recognition comes at a time when students across the country are taking more of their courses either fully or partially online. According to data from the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment in online courses increased by 93 percent between fall 2019 and fall 2020. Nearly two-thirds of college students took at least one online course in 2020.

“COVID-19 forced many schools to rapidly expand their online programs to meet increased student demand,” said Ricketts. “The advanced practice nursing programs that offer the best and most convenient online learning options stand to benefit the most from the mass transition to higher education online.” researched and analyzed more than 7,700 accredited schools using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS) and from the schools themselves. The website’s data science team then applied a proprietary algorithm to rank all qualifying advanced practice nursing programs.

Primary data points included the following: number of online programs in advanced practice nursing; online program tuition and fees; access to academic counseling; access to career placement services; number of online students; and percentage of students with institutional aid.

To be eligible, a school must hold active regional accreditation and have at least one partially or fully online program in the ranking subject.

The report can be found online here

Southeastern Educator Appointed to Governor’s Advisory Council on Disability Affairs

Southeastern Associate Professor of Education Gerlinde Beckers has been appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to serve on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Disability Affairs. Beckers will serve on the education, legislation and accessibility sub-committees.

The council was established by the Governor’s Office to educate, address and resolve issues relative to the disability community. The mission is to promote, encourage and support citizens with disabilities so they may have an equal opportunity to actively participate in all aspects of life.

A resident of Loranger, Beckers has been recognized for her work with Southeastern’s Lions Connected Program, a program that provides personalized, post-secondary educational experiences for individuals with intellectual disabilities and recently received national recognition as the Exemplary Program for Vocational Training and Transition from the American Council on Rural Special Education.

“Dr. Beckers’ knowledge, experience, and passion for improving the lives of individuals with disabilities makes her the perfect fit for this gubernatorial appointment.,” said Dean of the College of Education Paula Summers Calderon. “As principal investigator of the Louisiana Alliance of Postsecondary Inclusive Education (LAPIE), Dr. Beckers exemplifies Southeastern’s core values of excellence and caring as she provides guidance to other universities in creating inclusive post-secondary education programs. This gubernatorial appointment will continue to highlight and advance the work she does at Southeastern.”

UPD Awarded Safety Campaign Grant

The University Police Department has been awarded a grant from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission (LHSC) to participate in the LHSC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns. The primary goal of the grant is to reduce crash-related fatalities and injuries on Louisiana roadways.

“Our students and employees travel the city and state roadways every day including commutes from surrounding parishes,” said Patrick Gipson, police lieutenant at Southeastern. “We want everyone to arrive at their destination safely. That’s why we conduct traffic safety enforcement.”

The grant provides funding for officers to work overtime conducting day and night occupant protection and impaired driving enforcement.

“Enforcement is only part of the effort,” explained Gipson. “We will also be collaborating with local partners to educate about safe driving habits.”

Gipson listed partners including Tangipahoa – Reshaping Attitudes for Community Change (TRACC), Hammond City Police Department, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Louisiana State Police.

“Our activities are part of a community-wide effort to save lives,” added Gipson. “If everyone works together and encourages their friends to drive safely, we can make our parish roadways some of the safest in Louisiana.”

Industry Connect Distinguished Lecture

Southeastern’s Department of Computer Science has scheduled the next installment of the Industry Connect Distinguished Lecture Series on Nov. 18, at 5 p.m. Featuring industry experts, the series introduces students, faculty, and interested guests to current industry technologies that can be utilized immediately in Southeastern’s industry connect classes or in personal projects.

Scheduled in the Envoc Innovation Lab, room 2026, in the Computer Science and Technology Building, the lecture is available both in person and online.

The featured guest speaker Elias Khalaf will present “DevOps: The pitfalls of implementing a continuous deployment pipeline. Bridging the gap between academia and industry.” Although maximum capacity for the event is 36, all are invited to join in via Google Meet at

Khalaf started his career in IT operations at the Computer Science Department at LSU in Baton Rouge, where he spent over 13 years as computer manager and part time lecturer. During that time, he earned a master of science degree in systems science, and then a doctoral degree in computer science. In 2002, Khalaf joined the faculty of mathematics and computer science at Loyola University New Orleans as assistant professor of computer science and remained there until 2007. He then switched careers from academia to the industry and started working for General Dynamics Information Technology on an IT development and infrastructure contract with the US Department of Interior. In 2020, the contract was awarded to NTT Data Services, where he is currently employed as a senior advisor and IT infrastructure team leader.

For more information, contact the Department of Computer Science at 985.549.5740.

Helping Fight Hunger With Tailgate Concert and Food Drive

Several Southeastern student organizations will host a food drive for the Southeastern Food Pantry with a tailgate and live music. Scheduled in the Student Union Park from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, the event will take place prior to the Lions’ football game against Northwestern State University at 6 p.m. Sponsors include the History and Political Science Society, the Kinesiology Student Association, the Southeastern Employee Wellness Committee, and groups from the College of Business.

Attendees are asked to donate a nonperishable food item. Items needed include rice, chili, jelly, cereal, soups, crackers, pasta sauce, boxed meals, canned fruits, peanut butter, cereal or granola bars, microwaveable meals, refrigerated/frozen items, canned and uncooked pasta and beans, and canned meats like tuna, chicken or salmon.

The Hammond-based rock band, Mary’s Wish, will play in support of the benefit, and the show will be family-friendly, said History and Political Science Department Head Bill Robison.

“Grab the kids, an ice chest, and some lawn chairs, and come out to help these students support the Food Pantry with your donations while enjoying some rocking pre-game fun,” he said.

Southeastern Channel Named Best in the Nation

The Southeastern Channel has once again been recognized as best in the nation by College Broadcasters, Inc (CBI).

The channel was honored at CBI’s National Student Production Awards with first place in the nation for Best Video Hard News Reporting, Best Video Sportscast, and Best Video Public Service Announcement.

The Southeastern Channel won its three first-place awards out of over 1,000 entries submitted by the top broadcasting schools from throughout the nation. The channel’s three first-place selections were the most in television and video of any school in the country. It marks the 11th time that the Southeastern Channel has won first place in the nation honors in college television.

The channel also won third place national honors for Best Video News Feature Reporting and fourth place for Best Video Documentary.

“We’re thrilled that the Southeastern Channel continues to be recognized as the very best in the nation,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “Once again, the competition represents the best in college broadcasting throughout the country.”

“Credit goes to our students for making the most of their God-given talents to achieve the Southeastern Channel’s high standards of quality and excellence,” Settoon explained. “Credit must also be given to channel staff members and communication department television instructors for developing the skills and talents of these students.”

Southeastern Channel student news reporter Chris Rosato of Mandeville won the nation’s top honor for Best Video Hard News Reporting, while the channel also won for Best Video Sportscast with its Nov. 21, 2019 live, weekly sportscast The Big Game. Cameron Pittman of Bogalusa won first in the country for Best Video Public Service Announcement with Gunny McShoot, a PSA for family gun safety. The Southeastern Channel’s John Williams of Denham Springs won third in the nation for Best Video News Feature for his story Fourth of July in Baton Rouge, while Dylan Domangue of Houma won fourth place for Best Video Documentary for his personal documentary “12 Seconds at Birth.” 

Rosato’s winning news story Toxic Algae in Lake Pontchartrain was for the national award-winning student newscast Northshore News.  The story covered the environmental hazard caused by toxins associated with the lake’s blue-green algal bloom, causing the death of Northshore fish and plant life, as well as gastrointestinal, skin, and breathing problems for residents.

Rosato researched, wrote, produced, reported, shot, and edited the story. It was the third time in the last four years that the Southeastern Channel has won first in the nation for the best television hard news story.

“As a reporter, I feel that my strengths play a lot into how I can take a story with a lot of information or different angles and simplify it for the viewer so they can process it easier,” Rosato said. “When putting together a story, I always try to think about who I can get as a strong interview subject and what kind of shots I could try and catch to really hold the viewer’s attention.”

At the Southeastern Channel Rosato was also named Louisiana’s Student Broadcaster of the Year by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters and won multiple top awards from the Associated Press College Broadcasters, Society of Professional Journalists, and Southeast Journalism Conference. He now works as a news reporter for WAFB-TV Channel 9 in Baton Rouge. Rosato recently led the station’s coverage of Hurricane Ida with live reports from Houma, La. as the hurricane hit the city.

“The Southeastern Channel offered me exceptional one-on-one instruction and met all of my work with constructive criticism that I could apply to my next story or show,” Rosato said.  “Regarding the job market, working at the channel separated me from the competition by giving me the opportunity to cover real-world current event stories and not just restrict me to on-campus assignments. The Southeastern Channel prepared me to go out into the community and work with public officials and everyday people.” 

The winning episode of The Big Game was produced and directed by Dylan Domangue of Houma and co-anchored by John Sartori of Mandeville and Gabrielle Cox of Hammond with Richie Solares of New Orleans as guest anchor. The show featured contributions from students Logan Graffia of Slidell, Ross Chauvin of Houma, Lauryn Jackson of Baton Rouge, Josh Hodgeson of New Orleans, and Taylor Tabb and Angela Imbraguglio of Destrehan.

“When it was announced that we had won first in the nation, my level of excitement was more than anyone else that had won an award that night,” Domangue said. “I know the hard work and preparation that we put into each of our broadcasts, and to have that come full circle and pay off with us winning first place is truly special.”

The Big Game is just like ESPN’s SportsCenter, where you’re hitting the most important news that’s happening in sports in our local area that given week, whether that’s the Saints games or college athletics,” Domangue explained. “After a game ends, you’re able to go on-camera, do your postgame analysis, report with interviews, with sound bites of players and coaches, and do your recap just like you see on the professional level, on ESPN SportsCenter. When you talk to other professionals that are in this profession, when you come from Southeastern they can see that experience already built into you. Because of the training at the Southeastern Channel, you have those experiences already.”

Domangue produced, anchored, and reported for another Big Game episode which was honored by College Broadcasters, Inc. as best in the nation in 2017.  His Big Game productions were named National Finalists as one of the top four in the nation for three straight years at the College Sports Media Awards sponsored by the Sports Video Group in Atlanta. He is now sports director for KALB-TV NBC Ch. 5 in Alexandria. Sartori is now a sports reporter for KTAL-TV ABC Ch. 6 in Shreveport.

“The Southeastern Channel gave me everything I could’ve asked for,” Sartori said. “I had the opportunity to do things people dream of doing as they grow up and when they aspire to be sports broadcasters. I feel the Southeastern Channel rounded me into a sports broadcaster who could do it all. It gave me real-world experience in a collegiate setting. We had deadlines, we had to make sure the stories and segments we produced were broadcast quality. I was able to do live shots, live anchoring, reporting, and live play-by-play.”

In addition to his CBI award, Sartori was honored by the Broadcast Education Association with third place in the nation for TV Sports Play-By-Play. He was honored twice by the Suncoast Emmys in the On-Camera Talent category and also won awards as a sports reporter from the Associated Press College Broadcasters and the Society of Professional Journalists. 

“The opportunities the Southeastern Channel gave me were amazing,” Sartori continued. “If you are a student interested in broadcast journalism, there is no better place for you in this country than in Hammond, La., at the Southeastern Channel.”

The Southeastern Channel has won over 400 national, international, and regional awards, including 22 awards from the Emmys, in the past 18 years. The channel can be seen on Spectrum 199 cable throughout the North Shore, and its 24/7 livestream can be seen on Roku, AppleTV, and at  The Southeastern Channel is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.