“My dad has worked in the petrochemical industry my whole life, which sprouted an interest in chemistry at an early age,” Simmons said, adding, “In high school, I took all available higher-level science and math classes to prepare myself for college. Once I began college classes, I knew that I was pursuing a degree in something I loved learning about, and was confident that I had chosen the correct career path for me.”
Simmons is the current recipient of the Cain Department of Chemical Engineering’s Floyd S. Edmiston, Jr. Scholarship. She shared that the scholarship has provided her with several significant advantages in pursuing her degree.
“This scholarship supplies me with funds needed to pay tuition, buy books, pay lab fees and other expenses without having to take out student loans,” she explained. “With these expenses covered, I am able to work less and devote more time toward my studies. I also have a feeling of accomplishment knowing that my hard work has been recognized, and this motivates me to work even harder to reach my goal.”
The scholarship is one of five funds created by Evelyn Edmiston Howell, a 1947 College of Agriculture graduate. Howell, who has funded two scholarships (named for her brother and late husband, respectively) and three professorships, said she and her husband have always believed strongly in education.
“It’s a joy and a privilege to be able to give to the LSU Foundation with these fellowships and scholarships,” she shared. “It makes it easier for others to achieve their life goals.”
Stefan Wojkowski, recipient of the Paul N. Howell Endowed Memorial Scholarship, is also working to build a foundation for his career in chemical engineering.
Wojkowski said, “Entering my final years of school, the benefits of this scholarship will be instrumental for books and other materials for my upper-level courses.” He added that the distinction of holding the scholarship encourages him to strive for academic excellence in his curriculum.
Howell said she is grateful for the letters she often receives from scholarship and professorship recipients. They detail not just how the awards were used, but also recipients’ achievements and hopes for the future. “That brings me joy and appreciation in return,” she said.
She created the Floyd S. Edmiston, Sr. Professorship in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management to honor her father. The award will benefit a field faculty member who is actively engaged in teaching or research.
Howell shared that she established the Grace Drews Lehmann Professorship Fund in Human Ecology “to honor a very special person.” Lehmann, Howell’s close childhood friend, was stricken with polio just before the vaccine was released. Though she lived largely in an iron lung and a rocking bed, Lehmann remained an inspirational, loving presence for Howell.
“Whenever we went to see that young lady, she was never without a smile,” Howell shared, adding, “She was truly remarkable.”
In honor of the former chairman of Howell Corporation, Howell also established the Donald W. Clayton Professorship to aid instructors in the Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering.
“Any time we give and any time we have given, we’ve found that we’ve been the recipients of so much more than we’ve been able to give,” she said.
Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2014.