LU College of Engineer alum credits Lamar University for success

Finding a college that is a right fit is usually something that takes time. Thierry Epassa did not hesitate to call Lamar University his new home.

Epassa was born in Cameroon, Africa, and knew he wanted to further his education internationally at a young age. At 15-years-old, he had the opportunity to move from his home country to attend and graduate from high school in Cleveland, Texas. Thierry Epassa

Following in the footsteps of many of his family members, Epassa knew that he wanted to be an engineer. And as soon as he learned about Lamar University, he also knew he wanted to be a Cardinal. After joining the Department of Electrical Engineering, Epassa quickly excelled both in academically, socially, and professionally. During his studies, he completed internships at four different chemical plants and refineries: TotalEngergies in Beaumont, BP in the greater Chicago area, LyondellBasell in Houston, and INVISTA in Orange.

“I had a great experience at LU, and I loved it,” Epassa said. “I loved the fact that I knew my teachers and they gave me a lot of understanding and flexibility. At one point, I was missing class or tests because I had internships, but they always worked with me because they knew how valuable those hands-on lessons are.”

Epassa did not hesitate to take advantage of the many opportunities available to LU engineering students as often as he could. He enjoyed that he had 24-hour access to labs early in his career as a student. “I love the fact that I could stay in the lab as much as I needed,” he said.  I had a key to the lab and could stay there all night. I felt safe and comfortable studying there.”

Epassa credits Lamar University with giving him many advantages that he might not have enjoyed at any other university.  During his time at LU, he was benefitted by the low faculty- to-student ratio, where students are recognized by name by their mentors and professors. He praises the strategic location as the “capital city of petrochemicals in the world,” which gives students the access to many local co-op and internship programs. At LU, he found a campus of cultural understanding, where faculty and staff are always willing to accommodate and help. Epassa also notes the quality instructors, from whom he received excellent instructions and hands-on experience.

Epassa applauses the diversity of the LU campus, where, as an undergraduate, he was able to see students from all races and all parts of the world. Moreover, opportunities existed for international students to receive scholarships and assistance with out of state tuition. Epassa is quick to point out that all these benefits come at a competitive cost, as LU tuition is typically more affordable than similarly ranked engineering programs. Overall, Epassa believes that his decision to attend LU to pursue his bachelors degree set the stage for his success in life. “Lamar University is the most outstanding electrical engineering school and one of the top engineering schools in America,” he insists.   

Epassa graduated in 2012 with a double major, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. He graduated with 10 very competitive job offers. Ultimately, he accepted a full-time position as an electrical engineer for ExxonMobil in Baytown, Texas.

“Many of my family members went to historically prestigious schools for engineering: Yale, Princeton, Stanford and MIT. Their tuition was 400% higher than mine, they had at the most one internship and their entry-level salary was lower than mine,” said Epassa.

Since his start with ExxonMobil, he moved around the country, joining Philip 66 in Los Angeles, CA, BP, working in Renewable Wind Farms in Houston, Texas, and is currently the Director of Electrical Engineering Consultants for EEEngineering, LLC, Epassa’s own startup business.

Presently, Epassa has amassed a following of over 6,000 people on LinkedIn. He authors a newsletter, American Grid and Protection School: SEL & ETAP, where he posts weekly news and videos related to the field of engineering.

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