Endowed Scholarships Spotlight
Austin Bennett and Mark Coleman have different career plans and fields of study, but they share the distinction of being the first recipients of the Sid and Peggy Bonner and Joe and Kim Reid Scholarships, respectively. The endowed awards are made possible through the generosity of College of Engineering alumnus Joe Reid and his wife, Kim.
“It’s a relief to have one less thing to worry about,” Coleman says, adding, “It shows a lot of people still care about the students and LSU in general.”
With the extra help, Coleman can focus on graduating from the Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering and supporting his college as a teaching assistant and STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP) peer mentor.
Bennett, a geology and geophysics major in the College of Science, is also active outside of the classroom, having turned his passion for photography into a part-time job with The Daily Reveille. Bennett’s appreciation for nature has him on track to pursue a graduate education in Colorado or Washington, with plans to study geochemistry and petrology of hard rocks.
“When I go out into the field, I see mountains and think, ‘Wow,’” Bennett explains of his desire to apply his education to natural landscapes.
Coleman intends to build a career along the Gulf Coast. As a high school student, he was drawn by the College of Engineering’s advanced technology and opportunities for travel and saw petroleum engineering as a fit for his interests. Choosing LSU was easy—in part because of the LSU posters hanging in his childhood bedroom in Houma, La.
“When you’re a kid growing up in Louisiana, you dream of going to LSU,” Coleman offers.
Bennett also knew early on he wanted to attend LSU, but as one of four children, the University Laboratory School alumnus says the final decision came down to dollars and cents.
“Where I ended up was 100 percent where I had the money to go,” he says. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for scholarship support.”