Graduating student finds bright future at L’Oréal

Lottie Richardson. Photo by Lonnie Timmons III.

Lottie Richardson had a plan to graduate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, go to medical school, and become a doctor. 

“I grew up with this university being in my backyard all of my life,” she said. “I witnessed campus life and how you do outreach in the community. I was convinced by mom, Letha Walker Richardson, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree here, that you can be the face of the city and encourage other young people to make a difference in the city. The college is the city, and we are afforded the opportunity to have the city and the college, so that was a win win for me.”

While she will proudly graduate Dec. 16 from UA Little Rock with a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering and minor in mathematics, an unexpected opportunity at L’Oréal in North Little Rock has changed her career plans.

Richardson developed an interest in the manufacturing industry while taking an operations course. She spoke with Jeff Jones, a fellow systems engineering graduate who works at L’Oréal who invited her to learn more about the company.

“They called me for an interview, and the rest is history,” Richardson said. “I immediately fell in love with L’Oréal and said I needed to be here. They are the No. 1 cosmetics company. It’s one of the greatest companies to work for. They provide you with the tools to be successful. With me having zero experience walking in the door, they saw something in me and provided me with all the tools I need to be successful.”

Richardson works 20 hours a week as a project manager in the Flows Department, which supports the production of L’Oréal products. She is also working on integrating the company’s labeling and management systems into one automated system that would lay the groundwork for automated guided vehicles (AVGs), portable robots that follow markers or wires in the floor or uses vision, magnets, or lasers for navigation. The AVGs could be used to easier make materials easier to move in the facility.

Richardson’s supervisor, Tyler Kent, flows project engineer, described Richardson as a good employee who knows how to get projects done.

“Lottie has a very good work ethic,” Kent said. “She has taken the projects assigned to her and pushed through roadblocks to make sure they get done. She asks the right questions and has been very good at reaching out to other departments when she needs help. I am glad to have had her in our department as she has done an excellent job and made a good impression on our staff here.”

Richardson has been an active member of the UA Little Rock community, serving as president of the Society of Women Engineers and treasurer of the National Society of Black Engineers.

A member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps, she has gained valuable experience as a student ambassador for the College of Engineering and Information Technology, a data verification intern at First Orion in Little Rock, and a student researcher for the Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences.

Another great accomplishment at UA Little Rock has been a trip to the Clinton Global Initiative University Oct. 13-15 at Northeastern University in Boston. Her team was selected to attend the conference for their senior design project. They worked with Water Wishes, Inc., a nonprofit organization that introduces clean water solutions, to redesign and build a water pump that will provide access to clean drinking water in a rural village in Haiti.

“Students our age are going above and beyond for people in this country and others,” Richardson said. “It’s humbling. It makes you feel like there are still good people on this earth.”

Dr. Andrew Wright, professor of systems engineering, and Dr. Lakeshia Jones, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, have served as her mentors at UA Little Rock.

“They were some of the first faces I saw my freshman year, and they made an impression on me,” Richardson said. “They helped me transition from high school to an adult. I want to be just as successful as they are.”

In July, Richardson got engaged to fellow UA Little Rock student Corwin Briton, a criminal justice major, whom she met during her cousin’s graduation from eStem High School.

To Richardson, the future is clear. She will begin the new year with a full-time position at L’Oréal and marry her fiancé in 2019. She is also looking forward to attending a mission trip with her church, Saint Mark Baptist Church. After a year, she plans to begin the Master of Business Administration program at UA Little Rock.

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