You can train for exciting and lucrative careers in Louisiana

The McNeese State University Department of Health and Human Performance is prepared for changes as construction is underway for the new Health and Human Performance Education Complex. 

Dr. Michael Soileau, the head of the department, is thrilled to see the addition of this new complex on the Lake Charles campus, which will contain six classrooms, 12 faculty offices and a lab, as well as a sports training center. It is currently scheduled for completion in June 2018.

Although Soileau’s department falls under the Burton College of Education, many of its programs prepare students for careers beyond those of coaching or teaching. He says this new facility will help the department reach its goals in preparing students for growing careers in exercise science, sport and wellness management, and sports medicine.

The sport and wellness program is designed for those students interested in the business side of athletics and the wellness industry, while the sports medicine program is designed for those students interested in seeking a career as an athletic trainer, which now requires a master’s degree in athletic training.

“A bachelor’s degree used to be the only requirement of our sports medicine graduates to get a job. But by 2020, all certifications will require a master’s degree,” Soileau explained. “In addition to athletic trainers, students earning this degree will go on to find careers as nutritionists and as injury evaluators in athletic programs across the country.”

Exercise science, the most rigorous degree program offered by the department, prepares students for additional education in the field of physical therapy. “While in recent years physical therapists usually held a master’s degree, the certification now requires a full doctorate. This makes entry into PT graduate programs extremely competitive,” Soileau said.


Loyola University New Orleans’ College of Arts and Sciences announced a new, interdisciplinary food studies program that began this semester. Loyola students can now pursue a major in food studies designed around food policy, commerce and culture. Food studies programs have been on the rise for the last two decades at American colleges and universities. Loyola’s program, located in one of the world’s premier food capitals, is the first undergraduate food studies major in Louisiana.

The major combines interdisciplinary food studies courses with classes from history, sociology, the natural sciences, environmental studies and other fields. The program aims to teach students about the complex web of relationships that bring food to the plate.

“So many different aspects of the world around us come together in a single dish: taste, culture, friendship, the global economy, the labor that brings ingredients from the field to the table,” said Dr. Daniel Mintz, director of the new program. “Food is an incredible teaching tool, and there is no better place to study it than New Orleans.”

Students in Loyola’s new program will examine the systems that govern food production, distribution and consumption. They will also explore the culture of food through a variety of cultural approaches to food studies. Through coursework in food policy, students will question how society should make decisions about the food system and will learn about how such decisions are made in practice. Food studies at Loyola will prepare students for careers in fields such as policymaking, food policy advocacy, food supply chain and distribution, food marketing and food research, food journalism, food criticism, food entrepreneurship, and consulting.

“Students in the program will delve into the rich culinary heritage of New Orleans and will engage critically with the challenges faced by the city’s food system,” the school said in a statement. “Through coursework and experiential learning, the new Food Studies program at Loyola will produce graduates attentive to the practical realities of food production, consumption and policy-making, and committed to producing a more just and equitable food system.”


Freshman computer science and cyber engineering students at Louisiana Tech in Ruston are “Living with Cyber.” Modeled after the school’s “Living with the Lab” engineering courses, the freshman computing curriculum utilizes a unique hardware platform the size of a credit card to provide students hand-on projects in learning the intricacies of computing that results in an immersive learning environment.

At its core, Living with Cyber is about cultivating problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Students look at problems (typically in the cyberspace domain), design algorithms and propose them as solutions, and analyze them.

The solutions are then implemented using the unique hardware platform. Ultimately, the curriculum provides students with an overview of computing, forms the foundation of their academic degree, and helps prepare them for career opportunities in a variety of computing fields.

La Tech also recently launched the nation’s first four-year bachelor’s degree program in cyber engineering, a program developed in partnership with the Cyber Innovation Center in Shreveport-Bossier City and Air Force Research Labs. In an interview with Business Facilities magazine, CIC Executive Director Craig Spohn said the cyber engineering discipline is part of an “integrated approach” between the national security apparatus and higher education to train cyber engineers.

“It’s computer science and electrical engineering with a national security underpinning,” Spohn said. “The CIC partners with Louisiana Tech University in advancing research by connecting federal agencies with investigators who are conducting a variety of relevant cyber research [projects]. Louisiana Tech University is a Center of Academic Excellence for the National Security Agency.”

Skills critical to cybersecurity range from an understanding of software and hardware to networking and programming, and an understanding of the problem in the context of policy, law and ethics.

With this degree, you could become a technical leader in cyber security, one of the hottest job fields in the country!


In August Gov. John Bel Edwards and Dr. Monty Sullivan, president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, announced the construction of a new Workforce Training Center in Tallulah and substantial expansion of the Advanced Technology Center in Monroe for the Louisiana Delta Community College. The new facility in Tallulah and expansion in Monroe represent a public-private investment of $10 million.

The new Workforce Training Center in Tallulah will upgrade and increase technical program offerings in demand by local business and industry. Programs you can now find there include accounting, nursing, welding, diesel powered equipment technology and general education.

Turn to page 35 in our digital edition of Louisiana NEXT for a listing of more cool degrees at Louisiana colleges and universities.

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