Nicholls and Chevron Assist in Small Business Recovery

Nicholls State University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Chevron recently partnered to create a virtual competition to assist with COVID-19 small business recovery in several south Louisiana parishes.  These parishes included Lafourche, St. Mary, Assumption, and Terrebonne parishes. Part of the competition required each small business to submit a statement on how the pandemic has affected their operations and identify how funds would be used if they were to be selected as one of the winners.  SBDC has now awarded eight small businesses $5,000 each to go toward recovery efforts.

Among the winners are:  Big Mike’s BBQ, Conner’s Repair Service, Country Kids Learning Academy, The Cove, Dat Sauce, Root2Rise, White Car, and Workout360.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, it created a dark cloud of uncertainty over the Bayou Region and its future,” said Jimmy Nguyen, Assistant Director of SBDC. “Nicholls and SBDC established this contest to provide hope for these businesses to progress forward. With Chevron’s generous donation, it provided not only financial relief but a boost of human energy to help the region overcome these challenges and become stronger.”

“Chevron believes in contributing to the areas where we live and work and, especially during this challenging time, supporting Louisiana small businesses,” said Leah Brown, Public Affairs Manager for Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico Business Unit. “We’re proud to partner with Nicholls to help a diverse group of local companies. Through these funds and the incredible work of Nicholls’ Small Business Development Center, we hope to see these businesses recover and thrive.”

Big Mike’s BBQ is a restaurant with locations in Houma and Thibodaux. Due to COVID-19, they had to lay off more than 50 employees.  Plans to move the restaurant to an improved facility were thwarted for at least two years by the loss in sales.  Big Mike’s plans to use the small business recovery funding to optimize how it performs to-co and takeout services.

“Winning this grant will give us the opportunity to implement necessary changes to our business quicker than expected,” said Lewis. “It will help us to energize our efforts to recover from the disruption of COVID-19. We are honored to be chosen as a winner, it renews our vision and is confirmation that we are doing all the right things to improve our business and to serve our community.”

Dean and Michael Conner operate Conner’s Repair Service out of Morgan City. Their various services were affected by decreased crude oil prices, and many of their customers have had to make cuts, resulting in a loss of about 40 percent of sales. The Conners plans to hire a new employee to do sandblasting and painting.

“Being a winner in this competition gives us confidence that we are not alone in our mission to bring stronger green initiatives to the oil market and manufacturing back to our country,” said Michael Conner. “We are very grateful for this opportunity and appreciate the recognition for the valuable work we provide for South Louisiana.”

Bonnie Soulet and Casey Soulet are the owners of Country Kids Learning Academy in Bourg, Louisiana. This childcare center provides services to children from birth to age 10, and the pandemic has caused renovations to fall several weeks behind. The academy will use the funds awarded from the small business recovery program to purchase technology to support student learning.

Bonnie Soulet stated, “We look forward to providing these valuable opportunities for our students. This says a lot about our company and the fact that people believe in our business idea, our determination and our knowledge in the childcare and early childhood education industry.”

More details on the individual winners are available in the full article located here.

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Cross Enrollment Agreement Reached Between Nicholls and Fletcher

According to Nicholls State University, they have recently reached three agreements that will pave the way for cross-enrollment of their campus with Fletcher Technical Community College.  Although the agreements cover several areas, one main emphasis reached between the two institutions is to prepare students that are studying early childhood education to enter their chosen field.

Meeting earlier this month at Fletcher’s main campus in Schriever, were Dr. Jay Clune, Nicholls State’s President, and Dr. Kristine Strickland, Chancellor of Fletcher.  The collaboration of cross-enrollment between the institutions was designed with the goal of ensuring credits were mutually transferable for the betterment of students. These agreements pertain to various programs, of which early childhood education and petroleum engineering are noteworthy.

Nicholls Dr. Clune stated, “Chancellor Dr. Strickland and I decided early on that we were not going to compete.  We decided we were going to benefit one another, complement one another, be completely transparent with one another and share everything. There are so many things we can work on together to better the Bayou Region.”

Fletcher Technical’s applied science program in care and development of young children is anticipated to complement the birth-to-five/early interventionist program available through Nicholls State.  Another set of complementary programs will be that of Fletcher’s integrated production technology program and Nicholls’ petroleum engineering technology and safety management program.

“Across the board in the state of Louisiana, birth to five education as a major is a top priority,” said Dr. Scot Rademaker, who is the Dean of the Nicholls College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. “I think this agreement between Nicholls and Fletcher will help bolster that and help us prepare students ready to go into the early childhood education field a better understanding.”

Fletcher Technical’s Dr. Strickland commented, “This program is perfectly timed to align with that new emphasis and the importance of educating our youth. Investing in and focusing on early childhood is where we create opportunities for our children and their futures.”

“We know people want a pathway to achieve not only an associate’s degree but a baccalaureate degree and beyond,” Dr. Strickland said. “And it is through the strong foundation that has occurred over the years and continues in our partnership with President Dr. Clune and his entire staff that we can say to our community, that all the options you need for education are right here in your backyard.”

Details and instructions on the cross-enrollment program are available on Fletcher’s website at:  Instructions are provided for students with Fletcher as their home institution, as well as for students with Nicholls as their home institution.  Home school is identified as where the student is enrolled for the majority of credit hours.

Of importance is that students in the program are eligible to take one credit hour at the host institution for each hour at the home institution.  No more than six credit hours may be taken at the host institution per semester/session. Consideration for exceptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and both institutions must approve.

For more information or questions, interested students can visit Fletcher’s website above or contact the Fletcher’s Registrar’s office via phone or email:

Alexis Knight, Registrar

(985) 448-7939

Trey Clark, Assistant Registrar

(985) 448-7970

The deadline to submit a cross-enrollment application for Spring 2020 was January 13, 2020.  The Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 application will be available April 6, 2020.

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Nicholls Financial Analysis Team Heads to Regional Finals

The Chartered Financial Analysis competitive team at Nicholls State University competed in the Southwest U.S. Research Challenge at Rice University on February 22.

The competitive team for Nicholls included:

  • Breanne Cazenave, a senior accounting and finance double major from Luling
  • Megan White, a senior accounting and finance double major from Pierre Part
  • Preston Thibodeaux, a senior accounting and finance double major from Baton Rouge
  • Carlos Calderone, a senior finance major from Morgan City
  • Terry Dupre, an MBA graduate student from Houma

The other teams in the finals were Baylor University, Rice University, St. Mary’s University, Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University, the University of Dallas and West Texas A&M University. Among the teams that made it into the finals, Nicholls is the only school from Louisiana, as well as the only team that wasn’t located in Texas.

This year’s Chartered Financial Analyst competitive team was advised and sponsored by Dr. John Lajuanie and Dr. Shari Lawrence, who are both professors of finance.

“Our students are consistently able to compete against major universities. To be this successful, really speaks highly of our students and their abilities,” Dr. Lawrence said. “As a small teaching university, we have dedicated faculty who give our students a lot of 1-on-1 attention. This is not just myself and Dr. Lajaunie. It’s all of the teachers they have had at Nicholls to bring them to this point.”

The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute Research Challenge is an yearly international competition that provides students at various universities with hands on mentoring and training in financial analysis. Students are expected to work in teams to research and analyze a company, even going so far as to meet with company management.

Each team is then responsible for writing a research report on their company with buy, sell, or hold recommendations. Then, the teams are asked to present and defend their analysis to a panel of professionals.

In the first round, teams are judged based on their written work. In the finals, teams are further tested on their analysis and ability to effectively communicate their research.

Teams are given twenty minutes to discuss their results, then ten minutes to present, followed by a ten minute question session. The team who comes in first place will advance to the nationals in New York City and April 20-21 for the opportunity to compete globally.

This year makes the fifth time since 2011 that Nicholls State University Financial Analysis has made the regional finals, including making it into nationals in 2015.

“This is yet another great group of students. This is a very, very intense, comprehensive exercise and our students have done an amazing job,” Dr. LaJaunie said. “We’re one of the smallest public schools that compete. We’re one of those schools that’s not supposed to make it. But I tell my team that they can beat any school we’re matched up against because we have a history of doing just that.”

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Nicholls State University Named a Top Regional University

In September 2019, Nicholls State University was named as one of the top regional universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report. This is the third year in a row the college has been named in the Best Colleges rankings.

According to the report, Nicholls ranks thirty-eighth among public regional universities in the South and the best in the state of Louisiana, and ranks eighty-fourth among southern regional universities including private schools – the third best in Louisiana State, the two preceding being Xavier University of Louisiana and the University of Holy Cross. In 2019, Nicholls ranked as No. 41 and No. 100.

“This is a direct reflection of the commitment our faculty and staff make every day to recruit, educate and graduate a better student for the Bayou Region,” said Dr. Jay Clune, Nicholls president.

U.S. News and World Report state they define a regional university as a school that offers several undergraduate degrees, a handful of master’s degrees, but a select few doctoral programs. A public university is defined as a school that functions under state government supervision and is partially funded by tax dollars.

In order to calculate each school’s ranking, U.S. News and World Report took into consideration graduation rates, retention rates, social mobility, academic reputation, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, and alumni contribution rate.

Once the data for each school is analyzed and studied, the schools were then broken into the categories of national university and regional university, then the top seventy-five percent of each category is published.

Nicholls ranked 103rd in social mobility among regional universities in the South and fourth among public universities in Louisiana. Social mobility is determined by comparing the school’s Pell Grant recipient graduation rate to the graduation rates of those who did not receive the grant.

Nicholls State University is a student-centered regional institution located in Thibodaux, Louisiana. They offer accredited degree programs and unique learning experiences with a goal to prepare their students for life beyond the classroom and to have a successful career. They are dedicated to the education of their diverse student body while also providing a rich cultural and educational environment.

“Nicholls supports the educational, cultural, and economic needs of its service region and cultivated productive, responsible, and engaged citizens.”

U.S. News and World Report is an online news and information organization that aims to empower their readers to make better, well informed choices that affect their day-to-day lives. They focus on education, health, personal finance, travel, cars, and news & opinion and aim to bring honest, fact-based information to their audience. U.S. News provides hospital and school rankings, consumer advice, and analysis in an effort to provide valuable information to people seeking to make complex decisions, regardless of their phase of life. U.S News is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and was founded in 1933, with an average of over 30 millions site visitors.

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NSU Nursing Program Recognized

The nursing program at Nicholls State University has been recognized for the quality and affordability of the program by several online resources. Registered Nursing, a nursing advocacy organization of registered nurses that bridges the gap between resources and future nurses, ranked the Nicholls online bachelors in nursing number seven in the country and best in Louisiana.

Best Health Degrees, a website dedicated to spreading awareness of healthcare education, named Nicholls nursing program the number four most affordable accredited program in the country.

Dr. Sue Westbrook, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs, is delighted about the program recognition. The former dean of the College of Nursing says “It’s satisfying to know that our program offers high quality at an affordable price.”

The Nicholls nursing program is the most popular on campus, and also remains one of the most successful program in the South with their graduates regularly passing the RN licensure exam at rates that are higher than both state and national averages.

Nicholls nursing program offers a traditional BSN, LPN to BSN Articulation Program, RN to BSN Articulation Program, and a Master of Science in Nursing. The MSN program is offered in affiliation with the Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in Nursing (ICMSN) and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). In the MSN program, you can choose from three specialty concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Nursing Education.

With a mission to prepare students to contribute to a global society and a diverse workforce as productive, responsible, and engaged citizens and as well-educated nurses to meet the healthcare needs of the Bayou region and beyond, it’s estimated that eighty percent of the Bayou’s Region’s nurses are Nicholls alumni. Students will receive hands-on education from experienced and award-winning faculty, and 100 percent of Nicholls recent nursing grads are either employed or in nursing school.

Anna Busalacchi, a graduate from Nicholls with her Bachelors of Science in nursing, states “It’s cool to be prideful of my alma mater. I had so much on my resume because I attended Nicholls and it helped me get a job so much easier.”

Nicholls’ College of Nursing aims to send off their graduates embracing these core values:

  • Civic responsibility
  • Diversity
  • Excellence
  • Integrity
  • Leadership
  • Respectfulness
  • Responsibility
  • Caring
  • Professionalism
  • Safety

Registered Nursing determines its school rankings using a variety of higher education statistics, while also factoring in school accreditation, graduation rates, cost of tuition, the ratio of instructional faculty to tenured faculty, and student acceptance rate.

Best Health Degrees determines its school rankings based on accreditation from either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and by the cost of tuition.

Best Health Degrees helps prospective students learn what skills and training they need for their ideal career field, the salary they can expect to earn, and advice on how to land their dream job, as well as information they may need about the college or university of their choice.

For more information about Nicholls nursing program visit

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Nicholls Alumni Scholarships are Growing

Nicholls State University, founded in 1948, has always looked out for its students. However, their Alumni Federation has gone even further by supporting Nicholls students with multiple scholarships. The newest scholarship, which was awarded for the first time in the Fall of 2017 is, The J. Nannie Endowed Alumni Scholarship. The student receiving this scholarship has to be at the sophomore level, have at least a 3.2 GPA, and must be involved in a minimum of one university organization. Of course, they must be a full time student as well. The scholarship is only awarded for one year but the student will receive $250 for one fall and one spring semester.

Each year two upperclassmen are awarded the Alumni Federation Upperclassman Scholarships. The recipients must have a 3.0 GPA and at least 60 hours of credit, semester credit. $800 is given to each student for the fall and spring semesters. In addition so Upperclassman scholarships, Nicholls Alumni Federation also offers two freshmen the Alumni Federation Freshman Leader Scholarship. This scholarship is for incoming freshman and they must have at least a 3.25 GPA. They also have to score a minimum of a 20 on the ACT.

Established in 2015, the Nicholls Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a scholarship that helps encourage those to follow in their parent’s educational footsteps. In order to receive this award, the recipient must have one parent that finished a program of study at Nicholls State University. It has to be verified. The recipient must be in good academic standing and they have to be a full-time undergraduate student. $500 will be given during the fall and spring semester of the year the student received the scholarship.

In addition to the Nicholls Alumni Legacy Scholarship, the Federation also offers the Peltier Foundation Nicholls Alumni Legacy Scholarship. The Peltier Foundation has supported Nicholls for the past two decades with monetary donations and by supporting programs and projects within the school. A Peltier Foundation Board Member, Stepehn Peltier, explains how the purpose of the scholarship is to help “increase the value of being a Nicholls alum”. $75,000 has been given to the scholarship fund from the Peltier Foundation since it was founded in 2016.

In order to receive the award, the student must be in good academic standing and they must also be full-time undergraduate. One parent must be an alumni of Nicholls State University; the student must also type a 250 word essay explaining, in detail, why they deserve the scholarship.

The 2017 Corporate Mark of Honor was awarded to the Peltier Foundation by the Nicholls Alumni Federation because of how generous the Peltier Foundation has been. Jeremy Becker, the executive director of the Nicholls Foundation stated, “The Peltier Foundation has made a tremendous impact across the Nicholls Campus, and we’re proud to continue working with them. Scholarships like this one help open the door for more students to experience what Nicholls State University has to offer and to shape the future of Louisiana”.

For more information about the Alumni Foundation, click here.

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