Chemical engineering student lands internship that helps fuel her passion towards a greener future



Annabelle Broussard is a senior in chemical engineering and an intern at ExxonMobil as a blending and packaging intern. In this Q&A, the Beaumont native talks about her experience as a legacy LU student and her passion towards a better tomorrow. 

Q: Are you a first-generation college student/ the first in your family to attend college?
A: I am not a first-generation college student. Both of my parents graduated with four-year degrees. 

Q: What sparked your passion in your major?
A: I never really knew about engineering until I was in middle school. My dad is an accountant and my mom is a teacher, so the thought never occurred to me until my middle school science teacher, Mr. Miller, recommended attending Lamar’s Introduction to Engineering Camp. It was then that I decided that I wanted to be an engineer. I recently found out that the year I attended was the first year the camp was held. I originally applied to LU for electrical engineering, but quickly changed my mind after consulting with some of my high school teachers and family members. After one semester at LU, I knew I made the right choice. I chose chemical engineering because I truly believe that it’s the most versatile degree with a variety of career choices. I like problem solving, math and constantly being challenged. I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world and I think that chemical engineering is the way for me to do that, especially with the investment being made by companies towards carbon capture and renewable resources.

Q: Why Lamar University?
A: My mom attended Lamar University when I was younger, so it always seemed like an option for me growing up. I used to go to campus with her when she had summer/night classes. I chose LU for two reasons: the amazing engineering program and scholarships. Lamar University’s College of Engineering is one of the top universities in the country for return on investment. I am attending LU as a Presidential Scholarship Recipient (formerly known as Mirabeau Scholarship), so supporting student funding is something that I’m very passionate about.

Q: How has your experience been at Lamar University?
A: My experience at LU has been amazing. There are not many words I can think of to properly sum up the three years I have spent at Lamar University. I’ve been an orientation leader, organized events for the university and organizations, and even worked at the rock wall. LU has given me opportunity after opportunity and I could not be happier. I could write an essay on every single experience I’ve had at LU, but no one wants to hear that!

Q: What clubs and organizations are you a part of?
A: This is going to be a long sentence! I am a member of numerous organizations on campus: Lamar Ambassadors; American Institute of Chemical Engineers; Honors Student Association; Student Government Association; Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers; MedLife; Society of Women Engineers; Psychological Association of Lamar Students; Rotaract; LU Women in Stem; Vietnamese Student Association; and LU Hispanic Society. In fall of 2020, I co-founded an organization called Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations that offered free consulting services for nonprofit organizations. I even practice with LU Table Tennis Team on occasion! I have held officer positions in AIChE, HSA, SASE, MedLife and SWE.

Q: What company/organization are/will you be interning with?
A: I am currently interning with ExxonMobil. In the fall semester, I will be co-oping with Air Products & Chemicals as a Blending and Packaging Intern.

Q: Where is your internship taking place?
A: I am interning with ExxonMobil in Beaumont, Texas.

Q: What are/will be your job title/duties?
A: Like most internships, I was given a project to work on to improve the process that I work with! Learning the process is probably the most important responsibility of any engineering job.

Q: How did you go about earning this internship?
A: I actually obtained this internship at the Society of Women Engineers Career Fair back in October. As for being chosen for the job, I’ve had two engineering work experiences and before that I was an orientation leader at LU. Being able to highlight your accomplishments in any way (even non-engineering related jobs) is a skill that everyone needs to learn! 

Q: What are you most excited about with this internship?
A: Nearing the end of this internship term, I can say that what I enjoyed the most was learning new things. I like to say that I work in a very specialized field right now, so everyone I interact with is an expert. Additionally, connecting with people in the company has been a lot of fun! Everyone is happy to help and answer questions. They have social events too!

Q: Tell us about your future goals and aspirations and how this internship can help you along your journey.
A: My long-term goal is to work with carbon capture. I find the concept fascinating and believe that it’s the start of innovative solutions to further prepare for the future. It’s also a relatively new idea (emphasis on relatively), and one day I aspire to be an expert in the field. Working for a company like ExxonMobil, that is actively investing in these ventures, is a goal of mine. This internship has allowed me to branch off and learn so many new things. I’m incredibly thankful for every work experience I have had thus far.

Q: Would you like to shout out any professors or mentors at LU that helped you along your journey?
A: Dr. Ho, Paul Dawkins, Dr. Benson, and Dr. Helen Lou. I am so grateful to have been in Dr. Ho’s last process analysis class before his retirement. He is without a doubt one of the best professors I’ve ever had. He was very supportive and always willing to help. Paul Dawkins made me love calculus. I don’t even know how that’s possible, who ENJOYS Calculus 2? Well, I did. His famous math notes are widely used for a reason and he is an even better professor in person. I haven’t been in any of Dr. Benson’s classes since my first semester, but as an AIChE sponsor he’s done a lot for me. Additionally, he spent the last year as interim chair of the chemical engineering department, and I appreciate the work that he has done for the department since then. Lastly, I had Dr. Helen Lou for a professional seminar class, which may not seem important, but the class really helped me develop my communication and public speaking skills. Her positive attitude and passion instilled a confidence in me that I didn’t know was there. 

Q: What advice would you give to current students looking for internships at this time?
A: Join organizations and get involved. Find older students and ask them questions. Those are my two biggest pieces of advice that helped me get to where I am today. It doesn’t matter if you are a sophomore with no experience, companies are looking to hire students that show diligence and dedication. Don’t get discouraged by the rejections, keep your head up. I had 40 rejections before I got my first internship offer (it was actually 40, I kept an Excel spreadsheet). I would not have even considered a semester co-op if I hadn’t heard about it from other people. Most older students are willing to help and give advice. Joining organizations, asking for help, attending resume critiques and mock interviews. Do it all.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?
I’m always open to answering questions or referring you to someone who can! I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of great people, and I would love to assist others in the same way. Don’t be afraid to reach out to me or anyone else!