Assistant professor Tabetha Boyajian gave a TED Talk regarding the irregular behavior of a star named in her honor. Photo courtesy TED.

Live gold: LSU alums and faculty making their mark

LSU’s excellence goes beyond the football field. The students and professors that fill the oak-laden campus are dedicated to both exploration and advancement. From uncovering ancient artifacts to granting greater visibility to under-represented communities, the passions that drive these individuals is shown in the success they have garnered.

Over the years, inRegister has had the privilege of covering some of the stories that come to life behind classroom and office doors. Read on for just a few of our favorites:

Photo by Eddy Perez, LSU.


Astronomer, astrophysicist and assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy Tabetha Boyajian and her mysterious star discovery caught our eye two years ago when we released this story. Working to uncover the mysteries of star KIC 8462852, better known throughout the astronomy world as “Tabby’s Star,” Boyajian and her colleges have enlisted the help of “citizen scientists” to monitor the star’s light patterns, in addition to sifting through other data to find similar situations elsewhere in the universe. Read the full story here.

Photo by Lauren Boone.


LSU alums Sofia Hurtado and Weston Twardowski are combining their love for theater with a passion for under-represented cultures with the company they created with the help of two other actors. In this story released last year, the pair detailed their plans to not just bring productions to the stage, but to create a culture of inclusivity, both through the scripts they choose and the price of admission to the company’s shows.

“Too often, theater is expensive and not very accessible, so by allowing more people in who’ve never had their story told or who’ve never seen themselves reflected in a character on stage is very transformative for a community,” Hurtado explains. “Representation is a tool that is extremely effective and powerful to inspire and engage people. That for me is the most rewarding part of the company.”

Read the full story here.

Photo by Collin Richie.


Another LSU professor uncovering the unknown is anthropologist Heather McKillop. The Thomas and Lillian Landrum Alumni Professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology unearthed some artifacts from ancient Mayan society on a recent exploratory trip to Belize. The wood posts and a tool made of rosewood and jadeite point to the practices of the long-lost society. Notably, McKillop works to scan artifacts so they can be examined safely and worldwide through 3D printing.

Read the full story here.