Look who’s coming to Nicholls

The number of highly recruited, overachieving high school seniors who make Nicholls their university of choice might surprise you. Each fall, the admissions office brings in a diverse group of talented freshmen with high aspirations. Here’s a glimpse at six of our 2013 Colonel freshmen and what attracted them to Nicholls:

kaylee.coleKaylee Cole
Biology/pre-med major from Raceland

“I wanted a place I could call home, a university where people would care about me as a person, not just a student. As a pre-med major, I know I’ll be taking difficult classes, and at Nicholls, the professors are so willing to help. When it came down to making my college decision, I felt I could have more success at Nicholls.”

Look Who's Coming to Nicholls for Voila 2013 Keating McFarlandKeating McFarland
Culinary arts major from Mount Desert, Maine

“I looked at big culinary schools in the Northeast, but I wanted a change of scenery. Plus, I’ve been a trumpet player for 10 years, so I asked my guidance counselor to look for schools where I could pursue culinary and music. I love the atmosphere down here — great food, great music, diverse people.”

Camille Comeaux 2013 Look Who's Coming to Nicholls for Voila!Camille Comeaux
Biology/predentistry major from
Baton Rouge

“I narrowed my college list down to small schools, and when I toured Nicholls, I fell in love with how friendly the people were. It’s also neat because Gouaux Hall is named after my great-grandfather and its auditorium is named after my grandfather. I think they would be tickled to know that I’m now a Nicholls student.”

marina.lillyMarina Lilly
Business administration major
from Dallas

“It came down to three schools, and Nicholls had everything I was looking for — a friendly environment, small class sizes and a successful women’s basketball program that wasn’t too far away from home but not too close either.”

James LeBlanc 2013 Look Who's Coming to Nicholls for Voila!James LeBlanc
Finance major from Bourg

“I applied to two other larger universities, but I decided on Nicholls because of its affordability and its business school accreditation, which is a really big thing. I also own my own business, Elite Home and Lawn Care, so I’ll be able to continue doing that while earning my degree.”

Tyler Chiasson for Voila 2013 Look Who's Coming to NichollsTyler Chiasson
Athletic training major from
Morgan City

“After serving in the U.S. Air Force for six years, I worked offshore for a few months and then realized that I wanted to take advantage of my military benefits to attend college. Nicholls was not only close to home but also offered a welcoming environment for veterans — from social events to help with scheduling classes.”

Local musician studies concussions

John Daigle Voila Portrait 2013For John Daigle (BS ’13), music and medicine go hand-in-hand. Whether playing just the right song to satisfy a crowd or helping the injured or concussed, the recent grad hopes to positively affect those around him. And he’s off to a solid start.

With an interest sparked by his high school football career, Daigle researched a hot topic for his university honors thesis: sports-related concussions. From little league to the NFL, everyone is concerned about when it’s safe for an athlete who suffered a concussion to return to the playing field.

With help from Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, Daigle used a Computerized Dynamic Posturography machine to measure different components of balance in both concussed and non-concussed athletes.

“Even though concussed individuals may appear ready to get back on the field, they oftentimes still have impairments to their balance,” Daigle says. “It’s easy to spot a broken leg and know that the person is injured, but the brain is very tricky because it is harder to detect how badly injured a person really is.”

John Daigle Voila Portrait 2013An athlete can typically return to the field after being asymptomatic for at least a week, Daigle learned, but the severity of the concussion also dictates the time needed to heal.

Daigle’s research will come in handy as he spends the next year preparing for the medical school entrance exam, but he’s doing more than studying these days. Daigle’s acoustical guitar and singing talents have taken him to watering holes and venues from Baton Rouge to New Orleans and back to his hometown of Thibodaux. For the past three years, he’s been playing indie/folk rock, mixed with a few original songs.

While “Wagon Wheel” and “Don’t Stop Believin’” are guaranteed crowdpleasers, one of Daigle’s favorite things to do is take popular songs from various genres and turn them into an easy acoustic sound. “Whether it be a career in the health care profession or playing music for people, I hope to continue to make a difference in the lives of others,” Daigle says.

— Written by Jacqueline Weimer, graduate student

This article originally appeared in the fall 2013 issue of Voila! magazine. Click here to read the entire issue.

Life’s a dance

Pham compositeStory Update: Nicholls graduate Stephen Pham auditioned for the NBC hit America’s Got Talent and gained three out of four “yes” votes from the judges, moving him on to the next level of competition. A brief clip of Pham’s audition before the judging panel (which consists of Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B. and Howie Mandel) was aired during the first episode of this season’s show. Read about Pham’s talent below.

To the pulsing sounds of a boom box, Stephen Pham moves his body rapidly in front of the quad’s eternal flame. His hands push and pull in mime-like motions as his legs twist and bend effortlessly.

Primarily self-taught, the 22-year-old started dancing at age 10. Since then, he has won several competitions, from the National Panhellenic Council talent show at Nicholls to dance battles in Louisiana, Texas and Missouri. He’s a regular at the university’s RELATE open-mic nights and has collaborated with Brandon Harrell and Emilio Dosal, members of I.aM.mE., Season 6 winners of America’s Best Dance Crew.

“All my dances — performances, battles and what not — they’re all freestyle. They’re all based on how I feel,” he says.

More than 4,600 people have subscribed to Pham’s YouTube channel, featuring almost 100 videos filmed on campus, around his hometown of Houma and elsewhere. He considers his video collection an “open journal,” one that he will enjoy looking back on as he gets older.

“If it weren’t for dance, I don’t know what I’d be doing,” he says. “I don’t even know if I’d be in college. I don’t know if I would be able to pass college classes. It really keeps me motivated.”

A fall 2013 graduate, Pham plans to use his marketing degree to continue promoting his stage name, Phamish, by traveling, performing and meeting new people.

“I know I’ll be fine if I just keep fighting and keep working to get better,” he says. “Dancing, to me, goes hand-in-hand with progressing. It’s endless.”

— Written by Bridget Mire, 2013 mass communication graduate

This article originally appeared in the fall 2013 issue of Voila! magazine. Click here to read the entire issue.