Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

The five oldest LaBuz children have all chosen to major in chemical engineering at Lafayette.

They have always had an aptitude for science and mathematics, which led to their shared interest in chemical engineering. However, “We’re not the typical hard-core engineering family,” says James LaBuz ’04. “We’re more well-rounded, so Lafayette is a perfect fit.”

Family patriarch James LaBuz, an engineer with the Department of Environmental Protection, says he is not surprised that three of his daughters and two of his sons have all attended Lafayette, considering the College is highly ranked in chemical engineering. They were also influenced by the scholarship offers they received.

“Lafayette was by far the best fit for them academically and financially,” he says.

The younger James was a Marquis Scholar, like his older sisters Michelle LaBuz Kenning ’99 and Cheryl LuBuz Novak ’02, and his younger sister Mary LaBuz ’09. Eugene LaBuz ’07 was awarded a Trustee Scholarship.

“It’s not like they didn’t have interest in other colleges, but comparing [Lafayette] with other schools, it was far superior,” says mother Carmella LaBuz.

James and Carmella say that although their oldest children have all pursued chemical engineering degrees at the same college, they have each had a different Lafayette experience because of their extracurricular interests.

Michelle was the first to choose Lafayette, attracted to the school’s reputation as having a first-class engineering program as well as the small size of the student body.

She completed three internships with Merck in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia, which led to her current employment with the company. She and her husband, Brendan Kenning ’99, live in Lansdale, Pa. They return to campus to visit frequently.

“Having my brothers and sisters there gives us more reasons to go back,” she says. Adding to the family ties, Brendan Kenning is the brother of Erin Kenning ’04.

A few years later, “Cheryl was very drawn to Lafayette because of the good experience her sister had there,” mother Carmella says. Cheryl says she was also attracted by the travel opportunities offered by the Marquis Scholarship program. Internships at Merck and Proctor & Gamble while she was a student at Lafayette gave her valuable career experience. Today, she is a senior associate project manager for Amgen, a biotechnology company near Boulder, Col.

Michelle’s and Cheryl’s brother James is a sales representative for Johnson & Johnson in Union County, N.J. After college, he got a job in engineering for the company, but later discovered his niche in the sales department.

“My two older sisters went to Lafayette and loved it,” he says. When he was offered the Marquis Scholarship, it helped make his college decision easier. The scholarship “was a very enticing reason to come,” he says.

As a student at Lafayette, James played piano in the orchestra and was involved in intramural sports. He completed two internships with Proctor & Gamble in process engineering, and did an EXCEL Scholars research project on the effects of corrosion on steel alloys.

James maintains close ties to Lafayette through his brother Gene. The two talk on the phone weekly, catching up on news of their fraternity, Kappa Delta Rho, and other aspects of college life.

Gene applied to four other colleges before making the decision to attend Lafayette based on the small size of the school and the offer of a Trustee Scholarship. The scholarship “very much influenced my decision,” he says.

At first, he wasn’t sure he wanted to pursue chemical engineering, looking to take a different path than his older brother and sisters. However, when he thought about how easily his sisters found good jobs with their chemical engineering degrees, and when he discovered how much he enjoyed the chemistry classes he was taking, he decided to follow in their footsteps.

Because he had visited his older siblings at Lafayette, he was already familiar with the campus.

“To come for a campus tour is one thing, but to know someone is a real advantage,” he says.

Gene often turns to his older brother for assistance with classes or advice on his resume.

“It’s great to have someone there who’s been through what I’m going through,” he says.

In turn, younger sister Mary often looks to Gene to help her understand material in chemistry classes.

“I really like having my brother Gene here,” she says. “We were always very close growing up.”

Gene has completed two internships with Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. and is interested in working with the company after graduating in the spring. He was the captain of the wrestling team last year, is a peer mentor for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers chapter at Lafayette, and is involved with the Newman Association. Like his brother James, he is a member of Kappa Delta Rho.

When it came time for Mary to choose a college, she knew that she would consider Lafayette, based on her older siblings’ positive experiences.

“They had only good things to say about the faculty,” she says.

Following her first year, Mary secured an internship with Amgen. In addition to her academic work, she is involved with the Newman Association and plays club volleyball.

James and Carmella LaBuz say they have been very pleased with their children’s experiences at Lafayette and have been impressed by the internships and research opportunities.

“The school has been very good to the children,” Carmella says.

There are three younger LaBuz children who haven’t finished high school yet, so the list of legacies may well grow longer.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles