The youngest FAU Geomatics Engineering student, Leah Ballou finished her Bachelor of Science in Geomatics Engineering (BSGE) in Fall 2023

Friday, Dec 22, 2023
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CEGE department provides a unique mixture of traditional and non-traditional students in all our undergraduate and graduate programs. The existing relationship with FAU’s very own High school enabled a good number of students to dual enroll in our undergraduate programs and complete their degrees within a year or two after high school graduation. In that line, Leah Ballou graduated from FAU High in 2022 and finished her Bachelor of Science in Geomatics Engineering (BSGE) in Fall 2023. Leah, our youngest BSGE graduate also successfully passed FS (Fundamentals of Surveying) Exam which is the first step towards becoming a licensed Professional Surveyor and Mapper (PSM) in the State of Florida. Leah was also the president of FAU’s Florida Surveying and Mapping Society (FSMS) Student chapter and successfully conducted multiple events during her tenure. We congratulate her on the exceptional success at FAU. We are sure she will continue to be an inspiration for young women to choose Geomatics Engineering as their profession. 

Below is the story shared by Leah Ballou:

My college experience was like a snowball effect. I started off as a highschooler at FAU High taking the undergraduate required courses and ended up being the Florida Surveying and Mapping Society (FSMS) FAU Chapter president, passing the FS exam, and having the highest GPA in my graduating class by the time I graduated at 19.  

Holding myself to such a high standard at a young age could be overwhelming, but it is also rewarding. I knew that I would be taking classes with no one my age or demographic, but in a way, this made me work harder. After a few successful semesters, my confidence was built up and I realized that I could take on more roles. In the spring 2022 semester, I started my internship at Avirom & Associates as a CADD technician. In the fall 2022 semester, I held the secretary role of the FSMS FAU Chapter. In the spring 2023 semester, I participated in undergraduate research under Dr. Madasamy Arockiasamy for the “Maa Experiential Learning Opportunities for South Florida Underserved High School Students” NASA funded project. By fall 2023, I was the president of the FSMS FAU chapter, inviting guest speakers and organizing networking events. 

This confidence continued through to my FS exam preparation. I watched review videos provided by Dr. Hongbo Su and Dr. Sudhagar Nagarajan and looked over notes I had taken from classes in previous semesters. In the end, passing the FS exam reassured me that hard work and discipline always pays off. 

Having to pick the degree I would pursue at 15 years old was definitely an intimidating decision. Looking back at it, I am proud of myself for choosing geomatics engineering here at FAU. Being the first and only FAU High student to complete this degree, I hope more young students decide to be a part of this program. I would like to thank Dr. Hongbo Su and Dr. Sudhagar Nagarajan for giving me several opportunities to better myself academically and to increase my participation within the university and the geomatics profession.  

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