Nicholls Partners with St. Mary Industrial Group to Create Endowed Scholarship

Nicholls State University has recently received a generous donation of $250,000, allowing them to establish the prestigious St.Mary Industrial Group Endowed Scholarship. According to this news release from Nicholls, this scholarship aims to provide financial assistance to deserving students who have graduated from high schools in East St. Mary Parish, namely Central Catholic, Morgan City, Berwick, and Patterson High Schools. By creating this scholarship, Nicholls is demonstrating its commitment to supporting local students in their pursuit of higher education.

The St. Mary Industrial Group Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to incoming full-time freshmen, regardless of their chosen major. These recipients will have the opportunity to receive a significant financial boost throughout their four years at Nicholls. However, it is important to note that recipients must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 to remain eligible for this scholarship.

Mr. R.E. “Bob” Miller is the president of Major Equipment & Remediation, and he commented on the scholarship by saying, “We are happy to donate to such a fine school in our area. The scholarship being established would not be possible if not for Mr. B.A. ‘Red’ Adams, Sr. Mr. Red has always supported our entire community, and he’s been a class act since he was young and working hard, and he’s still a class act now. Mr. Red was one of the founders of S.M.I.G., and initially, members were men in the oil industry or vendors that catered to the oil industry. Over the years, S.M.I.G witnessed a growth in membership, as well as the diversity of its members. Our hopes for the scholarship are to help students in the Morgan City, Berwick, and Patterson area to continue their education, to increase their knowledge, to excel, to get involved, and make our area a better place for families to grow and thrive.”

For students who are interested in applying for the St. Mary Industrial Group Endowed Scholarship for the fall 2023 semester, the application deadline is Wednesday, July 19, 2023. It is important to submit the scholarship application by the close of business on that day or by the deadline specified in the scholarship description. To initiate the application process, aspiring students should visit the official Nicholls scholarship webpage. Website.

Scholarships are an excellent opportunity for students to alleviate the financial burden associated with pursuing higher education. They provide financial support and encouragement to students who have demonstrated academic potential and a commitment to their studies. By offering the St. Mary Industrial Group Endowed Scholarship, Nicholls State University is enabling students from East St. Mary Parish to fulfill their educational aspirations and unlock their full potential.

Scholarships like the St. Mary Industrial Group Endowed Scholarship not only provide financial assistance but also serve as a recognition of a student’s achievements and potential. They can inspire and motivate students to excel academically and make the most of their college experience.

The St. Mary Industrial Group, the generous organization behind the establishment of this scholarship, is recognized for its dedication to promoting economic growth and development in the St. Mary Parish region. By investing in education, they are contributing to the long-term prosperity of the community and empowering young individuals to become leaders in their respective fields.

In conclusion, the St. Mary Industrial Group Endowed Scholarship at Nicholls State University presents an incredible opportunity for students graduating from East St. Mary Parish high schools. With a significant financial award and ongoing support, this scholarship can make a substantial difference in the lives of deserving students. By applying for this scholarship, students can take a step closer to achieving their educational goals and building a bright future for themselves.

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Nicholls Recognizes Recipients of Grants at Spring 2023 Convocation

Nicholls State University recently held its Spring 2023 Convocation in order to recognize grant winners, faculty, and staff for their hard work throughout the 2022 academic school year. At the  Spring 2023 Convocation, Nicholls recognized the top 10 grants award winners for the funding they had received in 2022, according to this news release from the school.

The Spring 2023 Convocation opened with opening remarks from Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune and Dr. Sue Westbrook, who is the Nicholls State University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. University President Dr. Jay Clune spoke about his outlook for the Spring 2023 semester by saying, “this semester, we look forward to not only changing the lives of the students we teach, mentor, and care for today but the lives of their children and the generations that will follow them.”

The ceremony awarded the ten faculty and staff members who received the most grant money for 2022. When collectively added together, these ten grant recipients represented over $8 million in grant awards for both programmatic support and research.

Nicholls State University awarded the following for being the top ten grant recipients for the funding they received in 2022: Dr. John Lajaunie (Bayou Region Incubator), Dr. John Doucet (Nicholls Coastal Center and College of Sciences and Technology), Zerica Washington (Nicholls Family Service Center), Dr. Jonathan Willis (Nicholls Department of Biological Sciences), Katie Lasserre (Little Colonels Academy), Dr. Balaji Ramachandran (Nicholls Department of Applied Sciences), Dr. Kimberly Reynolds (Department of Psychology and Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy), Dr. Allyse Ferrara (Department of Biological Sciences), Dr. Darcey Wayment (Department of Chemistry), and Gina Bergeron (Nicholls Family Service Center).

Debi Benoit is the Director of Research and Sponsored Programs at Nicholls, and she spoke about the top ten grant award winners by saying, “rigorous academic research and creative scholarship is time-consuming, requires great attention to detail, strong adherence to the standards and principles of your discipline, and takes substantial persistence to complete. For that reason, Nicholls has initiated the annual Grantsmanship Award as a means to celebrate and recognize ten outstanding faculty or staff who obtained the largest funding in the past year. This year’s 10 recipients represent over $8 million in awards for both research and programmatic support.”

The grants awarded by Nicholls State University were made possible by direct support from alumni, private foundations, parents, corporations, and organizations; additionally, the grant funds are allocated by Nicholls’s Office of University Development. In order to provide financial support for Nicholls State University, The Office of University Development plans and executes annual fund campaigns, capital campaigns, endowments, planned giving initiatives, and other types of fund-raising activities.

Nicholls’s Spring 2023 Convocation also saw five professors and assistant professors awarded the Academic Affairs Award for Teaching Excellence. These five awardees were: Dr. John Lajaunie, Dr. Chantrelle Varnado-Johnson, Dr. Jason Ladd, Mrs. Jeanne Chaisson, and Dr. Himanshu Verma.

Additionally, the Student Affairs “Apple” Awards were given out to five staff members. These awards were for “Outstanding Faculty Advisor of a Student Organization,” “Outstanding Faculty Mentor,” “Outstanding Faculty Support for Student Activities,” and “Outstanding Faculty Merit Award.”

The ceremony also featured the introduction of a new program that is designed to help Nicholls State Universitysupport its students, communicate important information throughout the school year, and answer student questions. Renee Hicks, Assistant Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, Access, and Success, announced the implementation of Nicholls State University + EdSights. The program was described as being “available to students 24/7 to answer any questions about Nicholls. The program can help the university support students, answer their questions and communicate important information throughout the school year creating an avenue for student feedback and a virtual community.”

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Board of Certified Safety Professionals Recognizes Safety Management Program at Nicholls

It was recently announced via this news release from Nicholls State University that their Bachelor of Science in Safety Management has been recognized by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) as a Qualified Academic Program (QAP).

Because the Bachelor of Science in Safety Management has met the qualified credential requirement for the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification, Nicholls students who successfully complete the University’s Safety Management program will now be eligible to apply for the Graduate Safety Practitioner (GSP) designation with BCSP, thus engaging in an academic pathway that could lead to their becoming a Certified Safety Professional (CSP).

Nicholls’s Bachelor of Science in Safety Management is a program that is specifically designed to teach its students to be able to facilitate the delivery of effective safety education and training using analytical methods to determine and manage risk and also to evaluate and control hazards that exist in the workplace. The program prides itself on developing, evaluating, and implementing safety and health programs to all of its students; it accomplishes this by focusing on a curriculum that is centered around technical, people-oriented, and industrial application courses that will prepare students for middle-to-upper level management positions in safety.

Any student holding a Certified Safety Professional licensure that is accredited by the American National Standards Institute is considered to be in possession of the “gold standard” of safety certification. This is due to the fact that students who apply for the Graduate Safety Practitioner demonstrate a graduates’ level of commitment and preparation to the safety profession to any observing potential employers or established practitioners. The GSP distinguishes programs by satisfying a certain requirement for the CSP exam, with that requirement being that one must hold a BCSP-qualified credential to even sit for the exam.

Michael Gautreaux, the Nicholls Executive Director of Petroleum Engineering Technology & Safety Management, commented on the University’s Safety Management Program being recognized as a Qualified Academic Program by saying, “we are excited to offer the Graduate Safety Professional designation to Safety Management Bachelor of Science graduates. The GSP is an entry-level credential for educated graduates to move closer to the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) professional licensure.  The GSP designation will accelerate a career and open the door to many job opportunities.”

The BCSP’s website lists a variety of benefits to becoming a GSP, including but not limited to: by becoming a Graduate Safety Practitioner you’re automatically meeting the CSP eligibility requirement for holding a BSCP-qualified credential and waiving the need to sit for and pass the Associate Safety Professional (ASP) examination, which is the pre-requisite exam to CSP. Being a GSP is also in and of itself a recognition of your sheer level of preparedness for professional safety practice that allows you the opportunity to use the BCSP Career Center to post your resume and view potential career opportunities and gives you an advantage when being compared against another graduate in Safety from a non-QAP program. Overall, becoming a GSP does much more than give graduates a GSP digital certificate, it sets them up for success in their future field.

Dr. John P. Doucet, the Nicholls College of Sciences and Technology Dean, spoke highly of his Nicholls colleagues by saying, “due to the hard work of Nicholls faculty in designing and teaching the safety curriculum, our graduates are now designated Graduate Safety Professionals, and they earn automatic opportunities to test for higher industry certifications.”

The news is of course beneficial for students currently working toward earning their Bachelor of Science in Safety Management at Nicholls, but those graduates who have graduated within the program’s applicable dates will be able to apply for the GSP for one year, just as all other graduates will have to apply for the GSP within a year of graduating going forward. The start date for the program’s QAP will begin once the program is officially published on the BCSP’s website, and as of the writing of this post, the next website post is scheduled to be published in October 2022.

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Political Science Online Program Named Best in South at Nicholls

It was recently announced via a press release from the school that the Best Online Political Science Degree in the American South is Nicholls State University’s Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, as determined by, a highly-valued online educational resource that assesses collegiate programs across the country.

The reputable online educational resource assessed over 325 programs from approximately 200 colleges and universities across the United States. assessors sought out programs at these institutions of higher learning that taught strong analytical and decision-making skills and evaluated each program on several factors. Programs were evaluated on their flexibility in the delivery of their courses, their return on investment, the cost of attendance, their national rankings, overall student engagement, and the quantity and quality of resources available to students. Ultimately, each collegiate program was scored on a 100-point scale.

The Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Nicholls State University received an impressive score of 86.73, and thus it was named as being the “Best in the South.” This program was also the 28th best political science program out of all post-secondary institutions assessed by

Dr. David Whitney, associate professor and Department Head of Political Science at Nicholls reflected on this honor by saying, “we use our full-time faculty to teach all of the core classes, which is fairly upcoming for online programs. Another thing that sets us apart is the approach we take toward students in the online program. We do not distinguish between online and traditional students in terms of the investment and time we make towards their success.  Nicholls Online isn’t a side job or an afterthought but is an integral part of our degree program.”

In order to better justify their classification of the “Best Online Degrees of 2022,”  the editors of accompanied their award listing by saying the following: “Online learning has become quite popular — 37.2% of college students have taken at least one online course, and 17.6% take online courses exclusively. The flexibility of distance learning has made it an especially attractive option for students who have other responsibilities in addition to their education, such as children or a full-time job. To help you find the best option for your specific situation, we’ve reviewed the top colleges for dozens of different online degree programs.”

As defined by Intelligent for their assessment purposes, political science is the study of the history of political systems, the analysis of how these political systems operate, and how political scientists can provide suggestions on how to shape public policy. In addition to this, political scientists develop strong analytical decision-making skills that can be applied to an array of occupations, including careers in public administration, market analysis, and many more.

Research that was conducted by Intelligent through the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the median salary for political scientists is $122,220 per year, making it three times as high as the median salary for all other United Stated occupations, which stands at $39,810. Additionally, they determined an estimated increase of 6%for this field in terms of job outlook, specifically indicating an increase in demand for market research analysts which was cited at a growth rate of 18%. The data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the economy is expected to need 400 more political scientists by 2029 in order to manage regulatory issues, research political theory, and analyze public policy.

As per Nicholls State University, their Bachelor of Arts in Political Science Program is designed in such a way that it prepares students and gives them a complete, “comprehensive understanding of the essential aspects of politics” and “the analytical and critical tools necessary to evaluate political events and more importantly, to become actively engaged citizens.”

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Nicholls Farm has New Bridge Allowing Access for More Research

Thanks to a partnership with ConocoPhillips and the Lafourche Parish Government, Nicholls State University recently celebrated the rebuilding of the Nicholls Farm Bridge, a project that will have massive implications for the research conducted on Nicholls Farm. According to this statement from the school, the newly rebuilt bridge will be used to grant Nicholls Biology faculty members access to the land on the opposite side of Bayou Folse for research, ecological, and educational purposes.

The rebuilding of Nichols Farm bridge was a $300,000 project that was deemed “critical” by the University for its impact. Funding for the project was gathered over the past two years with the Lafourche Parish Government donating $200,000 towards the project and ConocoPhillips donating an additional $100,000 to see the project come to fruition.

It was in 1969 that Nicholls first purchased from Harvey Peltier the land that would eventually become Nicholls Farm, an integral part of the school’s plans to become the center for total restoration research in Louisiana. In just the past decade alone, Nicholls Biology has produced over 30,000 black mangroves at Nicholls Farm. These mangroves were eventually planted along coastal areas for the purpose of maintaining our coastal wetlands. A complete master plan for Nicholls Farm outlines plans for a classroom space, additional land, and areas to test coastal restoration projects, so the completion of this bridge is only one component of a much larger vision for the University.

Because of the bridge’s placement, Nicholls Biology faculty will now have access to the other end of Bayou Folse, allowing them to plant and grow several species of trees and coastal plants. These plants and trees will then be transferred to the Louisiana coastline to help defend coastal erosion.

Nicholls Biology department head Dr. Quenton Fontenot commented on his vision for the bridge at Nicholls Farm by saying, “our dream for the Farm is a place that brings people together for coastal restoration initiatives, and so to have the support of partners such as ConocoPhillips and the Lafourche Parish Government means we are going to be able to do that. Without that help the project is likely not finished today.”

As of the time of the university celebrating the completion of the bridge, the Biology Department already had several Louisiana irises ready to plant in the ponds on the other side of the bridge through a collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. One of the objectives for planting the irises is for seed harvest production. This is due to the versatility and essentialness of the plant, as it is native to the Bayou Region and sustainable in coastal habitats. These features make plants such as these native Louisiana irises absolutely vital to maintaining coastal wetlands and barrier islands.

John Harrington, the Coastal Wetlands director for ConocoPhillips, said of the essential need to protect the Louisiana coastlands, “the vast wetlands in southeast Louisiana are ideal for coastal restoration research. We are proud to support key partners like Nicholls State University to drive habitat-enhancement research and promote coastal resiliency and sustainability.”

A vital partner in this project coming to fruition is ConocoPhillips, which is one of the world’s leasing exploration and production companies when concerning production and reserves. They also have a globally diversified asset portfolio, and through their subsidiary The Louisiana Land and Exploration Company, they are the largest private wetlands owner in Louisiana. ConocoPhillips has long been a supporter of Nicholls State University and helps to steward their support of the coastal wetlands through their Houma office.

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Nicholls State University Announces Louisiana Supreme Court Justice as 110th Commencement Keynote Speaker

Nicholls State University has announced that Louisiana Supreme Court Justice John Weimer will be the keynote speaker at the 110th Commencement Ceremony, according to this news release from the school.

Born and raised in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice John Weimer returns to Nicholls State University to be the keynote speaker at the 110th Commencement Ceremony after having previously attended the school as a student and later having taught as a professor. Chief Justice Weimer was both an academic honors graduate and Hall of Fame graduate of Nicholls, where he also twice served as student body President.

Prior to his time on the bench, Chief Justice Weimer was also a full-time faculty member at Nicholls, teaching law and ethics classes for 16 years. During his time at the University, he received the Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence, was given the honor of being named to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and served as director of the Free Enterprise Week Program at Nicholls.

Chief Justice Weimer left the classroom in 1993 when he was appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court as Judge pro tempore for Division D of the 17th Judicial District Court. In 1995, he was then elected to serve as Judge for Division A of the 17th Judicial District Court, and he was re-elected in 1996 without opposition.

In 1998, Justice Weimer was elected to serve on Louisiana’s First Circuit Court of Appeals, and later Judge Weimer was then honored with the Outstanding Judicial Award from Victims and Citizens Against Crime as well as with the Outstanding Jurist Award from Crimefighters, Inc; both of these statewide organizations are dedicated to victims of crime. Later, in 2006, Justice Weimer was named as one of the leading judges in America by a national publication,The Law Dragon.

Keynote speaker, Justice Weimer, was initially elected to the Louisiana Supreme Court in 2001 when he was elected to serve as Associate Justice for District 6, which is comprised of the following parishes: Assumption, Iberia Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, Terrebonne, and a portion of the west bank of Jefferson, which includes Grand Isle. Twice, first in 2002 and again in 2012, Justice Weimer was re-elected to a 10-year term without opposition before becoming the 26th Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court on January 1, 2021.

Nicholls’ 110th Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 14, consisting of four total ceremonies. Each ceremony will be held at David R. Stopher Gymnasium beginning first with the ceremony for The College of Science and Technology at 9 a.m, followed by The College of Liberal Arts at noon. At 3 p.m. The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences and the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute will hold its ceremony, and The College of Business Administration and the College of Nursing will be the last ceremonies of the day, commencing at 6 p.m.

It will be during the Commencement Ceremony for the College of Liberal Arts when the University will award an Associate’s Degree of General Studies posthumously to the family of Kennedi Foret, an honors student studying marine biology who was the victim of a fatal car crash on December 19, 2021.

Additionally, during the ceremony, the University is set to award an Honorary Doctorate of Science to Dr. John Heaton (BS ‘81), the President and Chief Medical Officer of LCMC Health. Dr. Heaton is being honored for being one of the most respectful and well-respected clinicians in the state of Louisiana and for being a passionate advocate for patient safety and quality above all else.

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