FAU Student Honored by Florida Association of Colleges and Employers
Lebaron Agostini is the kind of student for whom the phrase “carpe diem” (“seize the day”) was coined. The soft-spoken senior, majoring in molecular and cell biology, is making the most of his time at FAU, motoring toward an August 2015 graduation while also engaged in important biomedical research, graduate-level course work and challenging real-world internships. His drive, focus and dedication are an inspiration to all who work with him, whether faculty, graduate students or his fellow undergraduates.
It is because of his outstanding achievements and his passion for his field of study that Lebaron was chosen as the 2015 Florida Association of Colleges and Employers (FLACE) Student of the Year. Nominated by the FAU Career Center, Lebaron was unanimously selected from among 11 other candidates for his demonstrated accomplishment in experiential learning.
Jennifer Blythe, the FAU Career Center’s director for internships and co-ops, explains why she nominated Lebaron for the award. “From the moment I met Lebaron in our first advising appointment, I was awed by his maturity, his passion for biomedical research … and his ability to garner the interest in scientific inquiry in others.”
The Career Center was instrumental in getting Lebaron matched up with internship opportunities, particularly with the Bioengineering Lab at the University of Miami’s Diabetes Research Institute. He was able to earn academic credits while simultaneously tackling real research problems and applications in a lab setting — experience that he will put to good use as he goes on to pursue a PhD inimmunology or genetics.
Lebaron is grateful and humbled by the FLACE recognition, which he says serves as a kind of validation for his work and an indication that he’s on the right path. He also is grateful for the opportunity it gives him to highlight the importance of undergraduate research.
“It not only provides an experience for something new in a professional sense, but it also provides the opportunity for direct application and reinforcement of what is learned in lectures,” he notes. “Undergraduate research not only fosters a passion for discovery and innovative ideas, it jump starts the skill sets required to succeed.”
As for the $300 cash prize that accompanies the FLACE award, Lebaron has no hesitation about what he’s going to do with it. “The first thing that comes to mind is to take my academic mentors and Jennifer Blythe out to dinner. Without their involvement and guidance, this recognition would not have been possible.”