Nicholls Students Bring Home 12 Culinary, Hospitality Awards

Culinary Bistro Ruth Prep 2016 (Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University) 10/4/16

THIBODAUX, La. — Twelve Nicholls State University current and future students were awarded scholarships from the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation. Nicholls student Dustin Rockwell also received the top prize, the Jim Funk Scholarship.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation Scholarship Fund in 2019 awarded $52,400 more than 24 ProStart and LRA Board scholarships. Current and future Nicholls students earned 12 of those scholarships.

Rockwell, who graduated from Slidell High School in 1998, enrolled at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute with the hopes of learning how to operate a café. His goal at Nicholls is to attend Institut Paul Bocuse in France. This his second year of receiving an LRAEF scholarship and he continued a Nicholls tradition in earning the top award.

The Jim Funk Scholarship is named after the former LRA President & CEO who created the educational foundation during his 30 years with the organization.

The recipients were honored on March 21 at an LRAEF event “Serving the Future — Celebrating Careers in Hospitality” at Generations Hall in New Orleans. The scholarships range from about $2,000 to $2,400.

Created in 2009, the LRAEF Scholarship Fund has awarded nearly $50,000 in financial support for students interested in advancing their education in culinary, hospitality or related fields since its inception.

The LRA Board Fund Scholarship is presented to students who intend to pursue a career in the restaurant, food service, tourism or hospitality industry. The fund is supported through an annual donation by the LRA Board of Directors. Current or future Nicholls students receiving the scholarship are Sara Baiamonte, a freshman from Robert; Blane Coley, a freshman from St. Francisville; Claire LeBlanc a sophomore from Abita Springs; Jenna Duryea, a junior from Mandeville; Janesa Buras, a sophomore from Abita Springs; Taylor Mattox, a junior from Baton Rouge; and Kiersten Wegman, a junior from Chalmette.

The ProStart Scholarship is presented to students who have or will receive the National ProStart Certificate of Achievement. This year’s current or future Nicholls recipients are Cade Kershenstine, a graduating senior at Hammond High Magnet School; Kacey Kile, a graduating senior at West Feliciana High School; Brock Nicholls, a sophomore from Sulphur; and Andrew Cambre, a freshman from Cambre.

Central Louisiana students pursuing a culinary or hospitality career can receive the LRA Cenla Chapter Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Taylor Mason, a Nicholls student from Anacoco High School.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or