Alumni return to LSMSA campus for Connections Weekend

Natchitoches, LA – Fourteen alumni returned to the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts Oct 14-15 for Connections Weekend to discuss their experiences at the school and to provide insight on what students need to know to prepare for their future.

Speakers were Dr. Shane Anderson (1987); Jennifer Bernard (1991); Lea Boudreaux (2010); Dan Bougere (1996); Kristina Bradford (1994); Jane Chauvin (1994); Jeffrey Chen (1993); Dr. Rhonda Fair (1993); Jackie Fletcher (2008); Bonnie Lewis (2008); Chas Nichols (2009); Kimberly Taraba (2010); Amy Traylor (1994); and Dr. Nathaniel Wood (1990).

Dr. Shane Anderson is originally from Florien and now lives in Thibodaux. He earned a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music in piano performance from the University of Texas and a Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, he serves as associate professor and head of the music department at Nicholls State University, where he teaches and coordinates music theory. Prior to returning home to Louisiana, he taught for 17 years with the Texas A&M University system. He has performed with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, the Sewanee Symphony, Southeastern Music Center Orchestra, the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra.

Jennifer Bernard is from Baton Rouge. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and a Master of Public Health from Lund University in Sweden. Bernard is a registered nurse who has provided healthcare in the humanitarian aid settings of Gaza and Haiti. In Gaza, she worked alongside the United Nations to clear the local infrastructure of bombs. She was the lead nurse of a Red Cross clinic in post-earthquake Haiti. Her primary work interest is public health in international disaster areas. Most recently, she taught Ebola virus trainings at the CDC for healthcare providers serving in West Africa at Ebola Treatment Units.

Lea Boudreaux is from Lafayette. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Master of Science in industrial/organizational psychology from Angelo State University. Her graduate research and consulting projects focused on functional areas of performance appraisal, job analyses and employee safety. She currently serves as a human resources generalist, handling employee engagement benefits and strategy development. She is actively involved with the Children’s Advocacy Center, serving on the board and offering pro bono human resources consulting services.

Dan Bougere is originally from Covington and now resides in Herndon, Virginia. He earned a Bachelor of Science in software engineering technology from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Master of Science in information assurance from Capitol Technological University and a Master of Science in technology studies, offensive security focus, from Eastern Michigan University, earned in partnership with the NSA TAO training program. He has had jobs in Afghanistan and with the NSA and CIA. He gets paid to lie, cheat and steal information from companies and the government with their full knowledge. He is currently a senior security consultant for Securicon.

Kristina Bradford is originally from Jena and now resides in Baton Rouge. Bradford earned a Child Development Associate degree in child development from Mohave Community College and a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Louisiana State University. She is currently working on a Master of Education in special education degree from Northwestern State University. She currently serves as the director of policy and reporting for the Department of Education. She is a member of the LSMSA Board of Directors.

Jane Chauvin is originally from Houma and now resides in Destrehan. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Albion College and her Juris Doctorate from the LSU Law School. She was an attorney for the Terrebonne Parish District Attorney’s Office for 11 years, prosecuting misdemeanors, child in need of care cases and child sex abuse cases. In 2012, she accepted a position in the 29th Judicial District as a law clerk. In 2015, she became a full-time stay-at-home mother to her three boys, who have a primary immunodeficiency called XLA. She works with her husband at their law firm, manages three medically needy, but incredibly involved, boys and overcommits herself to three different PTO boards at three different schools.

Jeffrey Chen is originally from Ruston and now resides in Shreveport. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Rochester. Chen is a radiation oncologist practicing in Shreveport. He was one of 10 students in the nation admitted to medical school and college at the University of Rochester straight out of high school.

Dr. Rhonda Fair is from Mansfield and currently resides in Norman, Okla. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in humanities/anthropology from the Louisiana Scholars College, a Master of Arts in anthropology from the University of Oklahoma and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in anthropologists from the University of Oklahoma. She is an anthropologist who specializes in social networks and the preservation of traditional culture among Oklahoma’s Native nations. She currently serves as director of tribal coordination for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, working with Oklahoma’s 38 tribes to ensure that road projects do not negatively affect places of traditional religious or cultural importance.

Jackie Fletcher is from Berwick and currently resides in Houston. She earned a Bachelor of Science in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University. She has worked as a drilling engineer, commercial strategy lead and project manager at Occidental Oil and Gas.

Bonnie Lewis is originally from Thibodaux and now resides in Baton Rouge. She earned a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Auburn University. She is a chemical engineer and currently works at the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery. She stays involved in engineering outreach opportunities such as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, engineering summer camps and leadership academies.

Chas Nichols is from Baker and currently resides in Baton Rouge. He earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from LSU. As a student, Nichols ventured into the working world gaining real world experience at the state’s Division of Administration where he would eventually earn a full-time position. His understanding of budgetary procedure landed him in the state legislature as an analyst for the House Appropriations Committee. He currently works as a budget analyst for the House of Representatives.

Kimberly Taraba is from Monroe and currently resides in Lafayette. She earned a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology-sports management from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and will graduate in December with a Master of Business Administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. For the past four years, Taraba has been a part of the marketing and promotions department for Ragin’ Cajuns athletics. She currently serves as         marketing assistant, handling all marketing and promotions for women’s athletics. She also does a large majority of the design work for the department, from infographics to billboards.

Amy Traylor is from Watson and now resides in Albuquerque. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and photography from LSU and a Master of Education in art education from the University of New Mexico. She is an award-winning artist and technologist whose work has been exhibited numerous times at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History and the New Mexico Museum of Art. In the last few years, Traylor has turned her attention completely to the development of new media works, including experimental film, sound and creative coding.

Dr. Nathaniel Wood is from Natchitoches and currently resides in Lawrence, Kansas. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the Louisiana Scholars’ College and a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from Indiana University. He is an associate professor of history at the University of Kansas, where he teaches courses on modern European and East Central European history, urban history and the history of technology. In 2010, he was honored with a W.T. Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching.