More than 25 programs planned to explore “Progression” during Black History Month

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University will explore how far African-Americans have come throughout the month of February for Black History Month.

Events delving into the theme of “Progression” include the performing arts series, RELATE Open Mic Night, with motivational speaker Roderick “Odd?Rod” Borisade, a cooking demo with Muriel’s Jackson Square Executive Chef Erik Veney, a concert featuring Nicholls alum George Bell and a month-long art exhibit featuring the work of Southern University Professor of Art Randell Henry.

Using his photos to show the story he tells, Borisade brings the audience into an engaging and inspiring movie-like setting. Sponsored by the Student Programming Association, the event will be 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6 in the Mary and Al Danos Theater

The following day at noon in Ledet Hall, guests can learn the art of cooking from a renowned chef. Originally from New York, Veney was named “Chef of the Year” by New Orleans Magazine in 2003.

The George Bell & Friends concert is set for 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17 in the Mary and Al Danos Theater. Bell, a Thibodaux native, spent three decades working in healthcare but has emerged as a coveted trumpeter in Louisiana over the past decade. Ticket prices are $25 for faculty, staff and alumni, and $35 for the general public. Contact the music department at 985-448-4600 for more information.

Henry explores dreams through his surrealistic collage images inspired by abstract expressionism, cubism, African and Asian art. The gallery will be displayed in the Ameen Art Gallery, on the second floor of Talbot Hall, from Feb. 11 to March 1. The gallery is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

These events are just highlights of the more than 25 options planned throughout the month. For a complete schedule, visit


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

Top Southern Chef Next Guest on Empowered Women Chefs Series

Chef Amy Sins

THIBODAUX, La. — The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University is excited to host top southern chef Amy Sins as the latest guest of the popular Empowered Women Chefs Series at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 30, in the Ledet Culinary Arts Building.

Launched in 2016, the Empowered Women Chefs Series is a lecture and culinary demonstration series focused on encouraging women to pursue successful careers in the male-dominated restaurant industry. The series provides inspiration and guidance for females aspiring to work in the restaurant industry, where only 21 percent of the jobs are held by women. With the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute’s student body at approximately 65 percent female, the series hopes to provide aspiring women chefs with industry role models and with tips for navigating challenges in the industry.

Guest chefs have included Jacqueline Blanchard, owner of Coutelier NOLA; Nina Compton, owner of Compère Lapin; Holly Goetting, executive chef of Charley G’s; Anne Kearney, owner of Rue Dumaine; Suzanne Willett, owner of Felicia Suzanne’s; Meg Bickford, executive chef at Café Adelaide in New Orleans; Susan Spicer, owner and chef of Bayona, Mondo and Wild Flour Breads in New Orleans; and Allison Richard, executive chef of High Hat Cafe in New Orleans.

Sins is the owner and chef of Langlois, a traveling interactive restaurant, which has been recognized nationally by Travel + Leisure. Sins founded the restaurant after she published the award-winning “Ruby Slippers Cookbook: Life, Culture, Family & Food after Katrina.” She was named one of Southern Living Magazine’s “Southerners of the Year” in 2016, made Gambit’s annual 40 Under 40 list in 2015 and was nominated to be on the American Culinary Federation Best Chefs of Louisiana: Up and Coming Chefs list. In 2012, she won the Game Show Network’s reality show cooking competition, “Beat the Chefs.”

Sins will demonstrate how to make seafood court-bouillon. The quickly-cooked broth has deep Cajun and Creole roots and is commonly used for poaching seafood.


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

Nicholls Chemistry student to present research at national conference

Cyrus Picou (Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — A Nicholls chemistry student has been invited to give a presentation at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM this February in Washington, D.C.

Cyrus Picou, a Montegut native, is the second Nicholls student in as many years to present at the prestigious conference, as Alexandria Aucoin presented this past year.

“The faculty of Nicholls chemistry are devoted to student success, and they mentor our students to become excellent chemists, doctors, pharmacists, entrepreneurs and professionals,” said Chad Young, Nicholls Chemistry department head. “Cyrus is the result of great mentorship from our faculty and his devotion to academic studies.”
Picou studied cryoprotectants over the summer during a research experience for undergraduates in Colorado. Cryoprotectants are molecules that help protect a cell from bursting when cooled to freezing temperatures. Picou researched the ways the molecules impacted our system.

“Being able to go to D.C. to present my research is really awesome because it gives me the chance to network with other researchers in chemistry,” Picou said. “The Nicholls chemistry program has helped me succeed in presentations. Poster competitions were hard for me at first because I had trouble defending my ideas in a one-on-one interaction, but Nicholls chemistry has pushed me to present at these sessions whenever I could.”

The Emerging Researchers National Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics aims to help undergraduate and graduate students enhance their science communication skills and to better understand how to prepare for science careers in a global workforce.


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

Nicholls online ABA program recognized

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University has been ranked in the top 50 for its online master’s Applied Behavior Analysis program by Texas-based disabilities clinic  Action Behavior Centers.

Nicholls offers a masters of education in curriculum and instruction with a high incidence disabilities concentration with an ABA option. The masters program aims to prepare educators to implement intervention strategies to reach students with autism spectrum disorder and other learning challenges. The ABA option prepares students to become licensed behavior analysts in Louisiana as well as achieve national certification.

“This distinction identifies our program as a leader in training professionals in the field of applied behavior analysis, and specifically in the application of ABA to teaching,” said Dr. Laura Darcy, assistant professor of teacher education. “Our program is a unique opportunity for candidates to engage in experiential learning and applied research, while further honing their skills as educators.”

Nicholls’ program is only one of two in the world to offer certifications through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and the Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling Board, which are internationally recognized certifications.

The need for professionals in this field is increasing as more and more children are diagnosed. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism spectrum disorder is on the rise, with 1 in 59 children born in 2006 having been identified compared to 1 in 88 for children born in the year 2000 or 1 in 150 for children born in 1992.

Founded in Austin, Texas, Action Behavior Centers provides ABA therapy to children on the autism spectrum. Through their work with ABA therapy, the center has helped non-verbal children speak, those without social skills interact with others, those with aggression eliminate their problem behaviors and so much more.


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


Nicholls business professor named Fulbright Specialist

Gene Gouaux (Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — A Nicholls State University business law professor has been recognized as one of the country’s elite academic minds by being named a Fulbright Specialist.

Gene Gouaux, assistant professor of business law, was appointed to the roster this month. As a specialist, his services can be requested by international entities seeking his expertise.

“I’m honored to represent the Nicholls College of Business Administration on the international stage by participating in the Fulbright program,” Gouaux said. “Our job as faculty members is to make sure our students are ready to thrive in the business world upon graduation. I’m looking forward to sharing this enriching experience with them to broaden their worldview and positively impact their knowledge and understanding of the global business environment.”

The Thibodaux native joined the Nicholls faculty in 2013 after receiving his Juris Doctorate from the Southern University Law Center. He remains involved in the community as a board member of Bayou Lafourche Folklife and Heritage Museum and former board member of Thibodaux Main Street and former president of the Lafourche Parish Bar Association. He remains active in his family’s law practice in Lockport.

The Fulbright Scholar Program was established in 1946 and awards grants to Americans to lecture and conduct research abroad, and to foreign scholars to visit the United States. Grants are awarded to Americans to lecture and/or conduct research abroad, and to foreign scholars to visit the United States. The Fulbright Scholar Program is funded and administered by the U.S. Information Agency through the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, which is affiliated with the American Council on Education. Fulbright Scholars are selected by the Board of Foreign Scholarships, whose members are appointed by the president.


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

Nicholls business dean appointed to regional board

Dr. Marilyn Macik-Frey (Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — A Nicholls State University educator has been recognized for her experience in business administration and higher education with an appointment to one of the most influential organizations in southern business education.

Dr. Marilyn Macik-Frey, dean of the College of Business Administration, joins the Board of Directors for the Southern Business Administration Association for a 3-year term, effective this month. Every year the SBAA elects three new board members from its member institutions to replace outgoing board members.

“The board members of SBAA, primarily business school deans, are a group of strong leaders who work collaboratively to share knowledge, best practices and future directions for the pursuit of quality business education,” Dr. Macik-Frey said. “Nicholls College of Business Administration has been a member of SBAA for many years and has benefited greatly from the networking the organization provides. I am honored to be elected to the board and will work hard to support its mission.”

Dr. Macik-Frey was named dean in 2016. She originally joined the Nicholls management faculty in 2007 and received the Candies Family Endowed Professorship. Prior to arriving at Nicholls, she owned a rehabilitation agency, providing speech pathology services in cooperation with physical and occupational therapy partners. She worked as a regional manager for a national rehabilitation provider in south Texas and was the national director of reimbursement training and research for a health-care consulting company.

The SBAA is the regional association of collegiate business schools at universities throughout the Southern U.S. with nearly 150 member institutions. SBAA Summer Workshops and Annual Meetings attract a diverse array of business school leaders not only from its service region but also from across the country. The mission of SBAA is to improve management education by providing networking opportunities for business educators, displaying best practices, promoting innovation in teaching and scholarship and encouraging leadership in the management of educational programs.


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

Nicholls, Rouses partner to offer community cooking classes

THIBODAUX, La. — The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University and Rouses Supermarkets have partnered to create a series of community cooking classes.

Cooking with the Colonels will be offered on Saturdays throughout the year and will cover topics from baking to Cajun cuisine.

Each class will be from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and include an orientation, tour of the Lanny D. Ledet Culinary Arts Building, cooking lessons and a family meal.

Three classes have already been scheduled.

The first will be Saturday, Jan. 26 and will focus its attention on the bounty of Louisiana’s natural resources and rich history of recipes from the Bayou region. Students will learn how to cook rabbit, oyster, and andouille gumbo; duck and pistachio terrine; wild boar osso bucco with polenta and glazed root vegetables; and riz au lait.

In the next class, titled New Orleans Creole Table, on Saturday, Feb. 23,

participants will cook T’Frere’s turtle soup; oysters Marie Laveau; spit roasted creole leg of lamb; and strawberry creole cream cheese ice cream over pecan pound cake.

On Saturday, March 23, students will take a tour of Italian cuisine as they delve into recipes from Tuscany and Florence. On the menu are ribollita soup; bruschetta; pollo alla cacciatore; bistecca alla fiorentina; and biscotti.

Classes will be taught by award-winning educators and chefs of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute.

Each class is limited to 16 students. Participants must be at least 16 years old to register and must wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and flat, non-slip, closed-toe shoes. Long hair should be pulled back and students should be prepared for a 2-3 hours of physical activity. Students will work on the recipes in groups of two to three.

Cooking knives and tools will be provided but students are encouraged to bring their own, so they can feel comfortable making these recipes at home.

Registration for one person costs $125, for a couple $200 and for a Rouses’ employee $100. Payment is due two weeks before the class. For more information or to register, visit or call the Office of Continuing Education at 448-4444.


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

Nicholls awards 529 degrees during Fall 2018 Commencement

McKenzie LeBlanc (left) and Alaina Evans (right), pose with Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune. LeBlanc,  Evans and Sarah Ledet received the Presidents Medal signifying that they completed their undergraduate degree while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. (Misty McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University awarded 529 degrees to students during its fall commencement ceremony on Dec. 15.

Sarah Ledet (left) poses with Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune. (Misty McElroy/Nicholls State University)

Alaina Evans, Sarah Ledet and McKenzie LeBlanc received the President’s Medal of Honor for graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Evans graduated with a degree in culinary arts, Ledet with a degree in art education and LeBlanc in health sciences.

In addition to those three students, 14 students graduated summa cum laude for graduating with a 3.9 GPA or higher. Summa cum laude is the highest academic honor a student can achieve.

Those students are Charles Miller, petroleum services; Jamie Miller, accounting; Hunter Daigle, history; Megan Landry, secondary education; Tomi Milstead, English; Caroline Gonzales, health sciences; Miranda Plaisance, birth-to-five/early interventionist education; Kathleen Vinci, psychology; Ashley Zeringue, elementary education; Jade Tabor, nursing; Callee Fogg, communicative disorders; Meifung Liu, culinary arts; Jordan Dufrene, elementary education; and Adrial Hotard, psychology.


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

Nicholls, LPSB Partner to Create Magnet School

Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune, right, and Lafourche school Superintendent Dr. Jo Ann Matthews, middle, pose for a photo with members of the Lafourche Parish School District. (Jerad David/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University and the Lafourche Parish School Board announced the creation of a magnet school for high-performing 4th and 5th-grade students in Thibodaux that will begin next academic year.

As part of the agreement, 20 4th-grade students and 20 5th-grade students will visit Nicholls campus every day for personalized instruction from Lafourche Parish and Nicholls teachers. Eligible students must be currently enrolled in a Thibodaux elementary school with a 3.0 GPA and apply to the Lafourche Parish School District.

“This program is another affirmation of our school district being an A-district,” Lafourche Parish School Board President Al Archer said. “It reinforces all of the commitments and the partnerships in education within the community. This is another step for our students to excel and do very well. They can start here at Nicholls at a young age, and when they return as college students, they will be coming home. This is a win-win for everyone involved.”

Students will arrive on campus in the morning with an assigned teacher and aide and will interact with Nicholls College of Education students and faculty. With access to all of the resources on the Nicholls campus, the teachers will be able to craft individualized lesson plans for the students in the magnet school program based on their academic performance.

“This program is going to be beneficial for our students, as well as Nicholls State University,” Lafourche Schools superintendent Dr. JoAnn Matthews said. “It’s a joint partnership that will embrace STEM and embrace moving students along faster. They’ll have access to everything the university can offer.”

The school will not only provide benefit for the elementary students involved, but also Nicholls students training to become teachers, said Dr. Steven Welsh, dean of the College of Education.

“Our students must complete clinical experiences before they go on their residency. With this program, that residency can happen right here on this campus, which we’re very excited about,” Dr. Welsh said. “This will also provide a way for our teaching faculty to model teaching techniques to our students.”


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

Nicholls Offers New Scholarship for Combat Veterans

Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune and Veterans Coordinator Gilberto Burbante pose with Nicholls veterans and members of the South Louisiana Chapter of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association. (Jacob Batte/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls State University Office of Veteran Services and the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association announced the creation of a new scholarship to help combat veterans returning to civilian life.

The CVMA 6-4 Veteran Scholarship will award $500 to a student once per semester beginning this spring. Recipients must be an honorably discharged combat veteran who is at least a sophomore full-time student with a minimum 2.5 GPA. The scholarship is named for the CVMA South Louisiana Chapter.

“The most important thing about this donation is that it’s an example of veterans taking care of other veterans,” Nicholls Veterans Coordinator Gilberto Burbante said. “In the veteran community, we say that we always take care of our own, and what better example than this. This is the CVMA’s way of showing that they have our back, and this money will go a long way for our veterans.”

Formed in 2001, the CVMA is comprised of motorcycle-riding veterans from all branches of the United States Armed Forces. With members from all 50 states, their mission is to support and defend veterans who served their country and fought for our freedoms.

“We just want to be able to give back to our veteran community and make sure the guys returning home from combat theater who are trying to make something of themselves are afforded every opportunity possible,” CMVA member and Navy veteran John Bruner said. “Coming back to school can be a make or break opportunity. A lot of guys coming back home have seen things and may have some issues that if compounded by financial burden can lead them down a darker path. We want to do anything we can to divert that in a positive direction.”

For more information, visit


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