Changing Lives Through Mentorship and Connections
As the park manager of Tuten Park for the city of Lake Charles, Irvin Louque loves his job. He enjoys teaching the community about the various plants and animals that inhabit in the park.
Louque, a natural resource conservation management graduate of McNeese State University, says area schools also bring children to the park to learn more about their environment outside of the classroom.
Over the years, Tuten Park has established a partnership with McNeese that allows faculty members to conduct research and students to receive hands-on training in their fields of study.
“I developed strong connections with many faculty members in the McNeese College of Science and Agriculture as a student and I’m happy to continue these relationships with the faculty now as park manager,” he says.
For example, the wildlife management plans used by Tuten Park were developed by students studying rangeland ecology with associate professor of wildlife management Dr. Eddie Lyons.
Biology department head and professor of biological science Dr. William Dees has conducted mosquito research at the park for many years. “He uses traps here to capture these insects so students can identify and study different mosquito species,” explains Louque.
As a student, Louque worked with Dr. Dees on his mosquito research and attributes this type of experiential learning to what prepared him for his career at the park.
“Dr. Dees and other McNeese professors took the time to mentor me in and out of the classroom on assignments and projects and I’m proud to say they continue to serve as mentors today,” he says.
“McNeese prepared me not only with the knowledge and technical skills but also with the communication skills and the ability to think critically that have allowed me to succeed in my career,” adds Louque.