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 freshman 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, theNicholls 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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Nicholls Ranks Top in Health Sciences

Thibodaux’s Nicholls State University’s health sciences degree program has been recognized as one of the best in the United States by a reputable healthcare degree program source. This source provides helpful information to those considering a degree in healthcare administration, including reviews on programs offered by various universities, interactive articles, and FAQ guides. On the website, they briefly share their mission:

“At Healthcare Administration Degree Programs, we provide resources to help you learn about both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in healthcare administration. We have information concerning online programs as well as traditional degree-granting institutions. Additionally, we have many articles and links that address important topics affecting healthcare administration today. Our FAQ section provides answers to common questions about healthcare administration and the degree programs that can prepare you for work in this field. We even have interactive articles to help you learn and understand the issues affecting work in healthcare today.”

Out of the twenty-five schools in the ranking, Nicholls State University ranked at Number 14. It was also the only school in Louisiana included on the list.

The website utilizes data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the federal program that gathers and analyzes education-related data in the United States and other nations. NCES is based in the United States Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences, and satisfies a Congressional mandate to collect and analyze the state of American education. The data collected from NCES is used to review factors such as post-graduation pay rates, student retention rates, and average SAT scores of students who were accepted. The website also relies on student reviews before issuing schools a score between zero and one hundred.

The website nodded to the comprehensive curriculum, intended for entry-level students and healthcare professionals, of Nicholls’ Allied health sciences. Combined with reviews from students and the program’s affordability, Nicholls was given a score of 81.8 out of 100. The lowest awarded score on the list was 77.23, issued to Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, while the highest awarded was 100, issued to Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

In response to the ranking, Jennifer Plaisance, the allied health sciences department head at Nicholls State University, remarks:

“It’s exciting when someone from outside of our campus can recognize the accomplishments of our program. Rankings such as this one validate the hard work of our faculty, who pour a lot of time and resources into ensuring our students are successful in the classroom and the real world. We pride ourselves on our graduates having the confidence and the foundation to learn whatever skills are required to be a professional in the workforce.”

The allied health sciences department is one of the most frequented departments at Nicholls. The department is also state-known for its effective and efficient training which yields productive graduates. Degree choices include either dietetics of health sciences, and the concentration options are pre-professional, pre-athletic training, communicative disorders, or nutrition and food services. The program states that its mission is “… to prepare students to contribute to a global society and a diverse workforce as productive, responsible, and engaged citizens, and as well-educated allied health professionals to meet the healthcare needs of the Bayou Region and beyond.”

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Nicholls In Top 25 Affordable Online Programs

Nicholls State University was recently listed as on of the top 25 affordable online programs.  Online education has radically changed the landscape of education. We’re learning in a new and more efficient environment, one with endless opportunities for students of every kind. The virtual learning environment (VLE) is innovation that is replacing an office-building’s worth of administrators, teaching assistants, file cabinets, and paperwork. VLE such as Blackboard, Canvas, and Renweb extend both the classroom and the administrator’s office. Automatically handling teaching and administrative duties such as gradebooks, auto-scoring, attendance sheets, enrollment, updating class lists, auto-sending emails for absent students, notifying people of unpaid bills, and tracking payroll and accounting information.

Along with the convenience and efficiency, online learning is moving more toward heavy use of mastery learning which requires students to master a concept or skill before moving ahead. Instead of treating a 60 or 70 as a “passing grade,” students have to demonstrate mastery in that topic by answering all or almost all of the questions correctly.

Our own Nicholls State University has been ranked one of the top 25 Most Affordable Online Business Bachelor’s Degrees by College Choice (CollegeChoice.net) which is an online resource that aims to help students and their families as they research and compare colleges to find one that fits their interests and needs based on its research and analysis.

Nicholls earned the 25th spot out of 30 and is one of four to make the list from Louisiana. College Choice analyzes several factors to come up with their list including the cost of the degree, the value of the degree and the convenience of the degree.  Nicholls charges no out-of-state fees to distance learners and  “there are no set login times for online classes; it’s important for students to be independent and self-motivated.”

Nicholls has been ranked among the nation’s Top Public Schools  and Best Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and Worlds Report.

Students say that Nicholls does a great job of incorporating Project Based Learning (PBL) despite the challenges that online education present.  Online PBL programs cover all the main learning outcomes while also training students to share and organize responsibilities.  Students would be responsible for tasks such as: giving peer review, working in teams, engaging in self-directed learning, breaking down projects into smaller parts, and solving complex problems. To be successful, online ed students must stay plugged in to the process and will need to learn how to communicate with peers and be a good team player. A great deal of your online education success in a PBL setting depends on your ability to work with other students.

PBL helps to avoid the isolation that many online ed students face in poorly-designed programs.  It’s easy for online ed students to drift through their studies as strangers who never truly engage one another. Fortunately, Nicholls has made great strides to implement collaborative online learning strategies to confront this challenge.

In online education, collaborative learning is carried out by various programs and platforms to allow for video conferencing, texting, email, teleconferencing, and workflow programs. Chances are, you will use these programs and skills later on in your professional life as well.  Students claim feeling much more prepared for their careers after being trained in an online degree.

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Nicholls State Commencement Announcement

Nicholls State University will hold its 104th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18th in Stopher Gym. The ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences will be held at 9 a.m., followed by the ceremonies for the College of Business Administration and the College of Nursing at noon. The last ceremonies will be held at 3 p.m. for the College of Education and Behavioral Science and the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute.

The ceremony’s keynote speaker delivering the commencement address will be delivered by Dr. Craig Walker, an internationally-known cardiologist who is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, and interventional cardiology. Dr. Walker is a former resident of Bourg and graduated from South Terrebonne High School and earned an undergraduate degree from Nicholls State University in only two years. In reference to being the keynote speaker for the approaching ceremony, Dr. Walker said, “A college degree represents a true accomplishment, but it is just the beginning of a lifetime of learning. I’m proud to serve as the commencement speaker at my alma mater.”

From his impressive success at Nicholls State University, Dr. Walker advanced to the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans to earn his doctorate and to Lafayette Charity Hospital to complete his residency. Subsequently, New Orleans’ Ochsner Foundation Hospital and Harvard Medical School both awarded him fellowships.

In 1983, Dr. Walker returned to Terrebonne Parish to open the Houma Heart Clinic. When he first opened the doors to the clinic, he was the sole employee. However, as the years progressed, opportunities to open more facilities arose. Currently, the Cardiovascular Institute of the South has 19 locations that collectively employ 60 physicians.

Along with his extensive expansion of the Cardiovascular Institute of the South, Dr. Walker founded New Cardiovascular Horizons– a well-respected international conference that facilitates discussion on innovations and developments in cardiovascular medicine. Each year, the foundation holds 16 U.S. conferences, 4 international conferences, and consists of more than 5,000 global participants. New Cardiovascular Horizons will hold its 20thannual conference this year.

In 1997, Dr. Walker collaborated with Chef John Folse to construct a cookbook called Something Old & Something New: Louisiana Cooking with a Change of Heart. This cookbook features 200 traditional Cajun and Creole recipes alongside modified versions of the classics to make them healthier. The cookbook also features stories discussing the backgrounds of some of the classic recipes.

Dr. Walker maintains several ties in education. He currently works as Clinical Professor of Medicine at LSU and Tulane Medical Schools. He also holds the position of Clinical Editor of the news bulletin Vascular Disease Management, and holds other editorial positions on journals such as the Journal of Endovascular Therapy, Endovascular Today, and Global Vascular Digest. Additionally, Dr. Walker is a member of the Board of Directors of the Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society and has participated as an associate director at numerous medical conferences, both national and international. Nicholls State is honored to have him as this year’s keynote speaker.

Because of his numerous strides made in the medical field, Nicholls State University will award Dr. Walker with an honorary doctorate during the 104th commencement ceremony.

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Nicholls Students to Compete in 16th Annual Bayou Sales Challenge

Nicholls released that it will be among several universities to participate in the 16th Bayou Sales Challenge of 2019 which is an amazing opportunity for students in the southern U.S. to show and fine-tune their professional sales skills.  Among the participating schools are Florida State University, Louisiana State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, Southern University, University of Louisiana-Lafayette and Xavier University.  44 individual students will compete in high-pressure sales simulations in Nicholls’ state-of-the-art Sales and Interactive Training Lab built in 2003 with a generous donation from Northwestern Mutual.  That Fall, the very first Bayou Sales Challenge was held. ​

Once the top two students of the competition emerge, they will progress and face off head-to-head. There will also be a Team Selling challenge, a career expo and two discussion panels: one from professional salespeople and the other from judges and customers.  

Bayou Sales Challenge News at Nicholls

The Team Selling Challenge is a new addition to the event this year.  Two teammates will enter the room together to sell something to the customer. ​  This round of competition is only 15 minutes long but allows for a lot of creativity. ​​The team who scores the highest total combined points wins.

Some of the skills and attributes that will be evaluated are:

  1. Product Knowledge
  2. Strategic PRospecting Skills
  3. Rapport Building
  4. Buyer/Seller Agreement
  5. Active Listening
  6. Communication
  7. Qualification Questioning
  8. Time Management
  9. Objection Prevention
  10. Demo Skills

“The Bayou Sales Challenge provides students with an experience that instills in them the confidence that they can compete in the marketplace,” said Dr. Laura Valenti, director of the Bayou Sales Challenge and assistant professor of marketing. “The competition also gives students an opportunity to network with top businesses.”

The event is very Shark Tank-esque and is great practice and exposure for future business men and women.  As on the award-winning reality show Shark Tank, the sharks often find weaknesses and faults in an entrepreneur’s concept, product, or business model, yet some of the investors try to soften the impact of rejection.  Unlike the show though, this is a safe place to learn and grow as young business people without the fear of loss of investment or risking business assets.

The Director of the event, Laura Lott Valenti, released the following letter regarding the event:

Dear Students, Coaches, Sponsors, and Volunteers,

Over the last eleven years, I have had the honor of meeting most of the program’s supporters and participants, and I am excited to bring another great coopetition to you in February 2019.

The Bayou Sales Challenge is known for its strong connection to the region because of its ties to supportive, well-regarded sponsors and volunteers.  While preparing students for success in sales or related careers, top-notch coaches bring their star students to compete in our two-day role-play competition.  Celebrating the talent we see each year is something I have always looked forward to because when these major pillars convene the students benefit greatly. I am honored to carry the torch for a wonderful program that enables such a unique opportunity of impact.

The 2019 competition marks the sixteenth annual Bayou Sales Challenge, and once again you will see some subtle changes that should enhance the overall competition.  Whether your role is a sponsor or coach, you can expect to experience a well-run competition with the same great southern charm and comradery.

Students, coaches, and volunteers are the most valuable component to the Bayou Sales Challenge’s success.  I thank each of you for the inherent commitment of making a career in sales one that it worthy of recognition.

Reach out to me should you have any questions, and cheers to this amazing opportunity to make an impact with our students.

Sincerely,

Laura Lott Valenti

Both students and event creators are looking forward to seeing the new young talent and their inspiring methodology and ideas.  


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Nicholls to Screen Documentary on Female Chefs

Nicholls State University recently announced that on March 26th it will screen a new award-winning documentary regarding Female Chefs by Joanna James, “A Fine Line: A Woman’s Place is in the Kitchen.”  Part of a national tour, and screening during National Women’s History Month, the acclaimed documentary highlights female chefs who make up only 7 percent of head chefs and restaurant owners. The film takes a deeper look at why this statistic exists, despite the high number of female culinary students.  “The ironic part about this discussion is that most culinary programs, like the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, have predominantly women enrollees, yet professionally those numbers don’t match,” said the Nicholls Culinary Department head, chef John Kozar. “That’s what the film is all about. What can we do, all of us together, to create a level playing field?”  Nicholls’ female to male ratio at the John Folse Culinary Institute is more than 65 percent female,” Kozar said.

Chef John Folse Culinary Institute: Female Chefs - Nicholls State University Logo

Hosted by The John Folse Culinary Institute housed at Nicholls University and emceed by Marcelle Bienvenu, culinary instructor and longtime New Orleans journalist, the event will include the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to New Orleans Chef, Author and television host Leah Chase, the Queen of Creole Cuisine and owner of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant.  

After the screening, there will be a discussion amongst a series of expert panelists, including some notable Nicholls alumnae and local chefs.  Among the panelists are: Kristen Essig, chef and owner of Coquette in New Orleans; Katie O’Hara, pastry chef at Mopho and Maypop in New Orleans; Anne Milneck, owner of Red Stick Spice Co. in Baton Rouge; and Samantha Love, assistant executive property chef at Caesars Entertainment Corp. in Baltimore, Maryland.

Kozar stated when interviewed, “We’re excited to be able to host this documentary.  Our enrollment at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute is more than 65 percent female, so we have made it a priority to showcase the success of our alumni and other women in the workforce. That’s why we started and continue the Empowered Women Chefs Series, which brings in successful female chefs to connect with our students.”

Founded in 1993 in response to the disparity outlined in Joanna James’s documentary, was the nonprofit organization The International Association of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR).  WCR includes membership of thousands of women, from culinary students, line cooks, pastry chefs, and executive chefs to educators, food writers, farmers, media professionals, and more. Their mission is to advance women across the culinary industry through education and connection.  They offer opportunities for professional development and mentorship. Their annual National Conference is held every spring, with the 2019 National Conference scheduled for Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota on April 27-29.

The conference will cover all aspects of the food and hospitality by offering class, speakers, and camaraderie. It celebrates the strength and success of women in the profession and hopes that women leave feeling inspired and revitalized.  If you’d like more information on WCR and/or the April conference, click here.

The Nicholls documentary screening will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Mary and Al Danos Theater. Tickets are $40 for the cocktail reception, the screening and the panel, or $20 for the screening and the panel. To purchase tickets, click here.

The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute is named after famous Louisiana chef John Folse, acclaimed and award-winning Louisiana chef.  It was recently announced that it would be offering a series of Saturday cooking classes to the local community called Cooking With the Colonels.  Each class will include an orientation, cooking lessons, a family meal, and a tour of the Lanny D. Ledet Culinary Arts Building which is the facility that houses the Nicholl’s State on-campus Chef John Folse Culinary Institute.

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