Nicholls Business Students Finalist for Flourish Prize

THIBODAUX, La. — Four Nicholls students and a professor have been named a finalist for an award for their work to highlight a business innovator.

Dr. Christopher Castille and students Samantha Hollingsworth, a senior accounting major from Raceland; Alexis Guzman, a senior marketing major from Houma; Donald August, a senior management major from La Place; and Geri Orgeron, a senior management major from Houma, were named finalists for the 2019 Flourish Prize by the global educational initiative AIM2Flourish.

“For me, having students acknowledged as finalists for this award means a lot,” said Dr. Castille. “I introduced this project to help students see how business can be a force for good in the world and not simply the cause of many problems that we face in our world, for example, climate change. Here, we have a clear case of that, even if the team ultimately does not receive an award.”

AIM2Flourish facilitates student interviews with business leaders about a recent, positive and profitable business innovations that advance the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals) established by the United Nations.

Under the direction of Dr. Castille, Hollingsworth, Guzman, August and Orgeron interviewed T. Baker Smith Public Relations Coordinator Jennifer Smith and Project Manager Craig Guidry about the rigid pipe boom, which was a solution to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The students’ story “A Solution to Manmade Disaster: The Rigid Pipe Boom” was recognized for UN Global Goals “Clean Water and Sanitation,” “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure,” “Life Below Water” and “Life on Land.”

The students are a team from Dr. Castille’s human relations and interpersonal skills course.

The 76 finalists for the 2019 Flourish Prizes represent more than 800 stories published in 2018, spanning the globe and showcasing business innovations for each of the 17 UN Global Goals. Finalists are from 30 universities in 16 countries under the guidance of 35 professors. The businesses profiled come from 27 countries and more than 19 industries.

The prize-winning businesses, professors, universities and students will be honored during the 2019 Flourish Prizes virtual celebration, taking place online the week of May 6–10.

AIM2Flourish is the world’s first higher-education curriculum, story platform and prize for the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and business’ role in achieving them.




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

Nonprofit Ladies Group Donates $17,000 to Create Scholarship, Benefit Greenhouse Renovation

Tawasi Donation 2019
(Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — A local women’s nonprofit is expanding their support of Nicholls State University with the creation of an endowed scholarship for graduate students.

The Thibodaux-based TaWaSi has donated $12,000 to establish the TaWaSi Endowed Graduate Scholarship.  

“We feel that the education of the students at Nicholls is so important to our community,” said Dr. Grace Monk Gueydan, TaWaSi member and retired Nicholls professor. “Educating our students is one of the most rewarding and satisfying things we can do.”  

Beginning Spring 2020, recipients will receive $300 per semester for up to four consecutive semesters. Eligible students must be a full-time graduate student who meets the criteria for their selected master’s program curriculum, maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and is a graduate from a Louisiana high school or accredited Louisiana university. Nicholls will collaborate with TaWaSi to select the student.

Increasing enrollment of graduate students is a priority of Nicholls president, Dr. Jay Clune.

Formed in 1947 as the TaWaSi Civic Club, the organization is made up of local women with a mission of giving back to the community. The organization took its name from a Native American word meaning “friends or helper.” Through various fundraisers, including their popular antiques show, the organization has contributed thousands to Bayou Region schools, charities and other projects benefiting the community.

Longtime supporters of Nicholls, the nonprofit has donated more than $100,000 since 2002, including endowed scholarships for undergraduates and students of The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute.

For more information, visit the Nicholls Office of Financial Aid site at or call 448-4411.

Among the donation, was a $5,000 gift to the Nicholls Greenhouse Renovation Project, specifically to purchase hydroponic garden towers. The project includes renovating the building into a classroom and kitchen space, adding hydroponic gardens, replacing the upstairs floor, raising the ceiling and adding raised garden beds outside of the greenhouse. Out of use since 2014, the facility will provide education and research opportunities for multiple programs across campus, including the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, Bridge to Independence and the biology department.

Members of TaWaSi applauded the involvement of the Bridge to Independence Students in the plans for the greenhouse.


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

Second Give-N-Day Raises the Bar

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University academic departments, student organizations and athletic teams raised more than $100,000 during the second annual Give-N-Day.

A total of $100,454.37 – a nearly $25,000 increase over last year –  was raised on Tuesday from 1,310 gifts made by 856 donors to 95 groups. Donations were made from 26 states, ranging from Washington state to the Dakotas to the Carolinas and home.

“This year was a huge success for us. More organizations received donations this year, we had more donors and we increased funds donated across campus,” Nicholls Foundation Executive Director Jeremy Becker said. “The committee and I want to thank the organizations, the students, faculty and staff who contributed in making this year a success. We are already beginning to make plans for next year.”

Top donors included Henry and Kim Lafont, who made a significant contribution to The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, and Hal and Kristen Callais, who donated to multiple organizations.

The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute led all organizations with $17,490 raised. Other top campus fundraisers include the Nicholls Alumni Federation with $7,095, the Colonel Athletic Association – Football with $5,295, the China Study Abroad Program with $5,045 and the Colonel Athletic Association – Track and Field with $4,250.

Colonels Retention of Winners Network (CROWN) and Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority tied for the most donations with 58 a piece. Little Colonels Academy received 43 donations, Nicholls Alumni Federation received 41 and the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute received 38.


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

Spin Scooter Share Program to Debut at Nicholls

THIBODAUX, La. — Beginning Friday, Nicholls State University students will have a new way to scoot around the campus.

Nicholls has partnered with scooter-share company, Spin, and Zagster, a dockless mobility startup based in Massachusetts, to bring e-scooters to students as a way to enhance campus recreation and alleviate parking limitations.

“We are very excited about having the pilot Spin scooter program on campus,” Austin Wendt, SGA president said. “We believe that this program will be beneficial to students by providing them with another recreational activity, efficient and sustainable transportation around campus, and a chance for community building. Being that we are the first campus in Louisiana to have such a program like this, all eyes will be on us and how this program operates on this campus.”

Spin will deploy 100 of the orange, dock-free e-scooters at 27 locations every morning at 7 a.m. and pick them up again at 7 p.m. as part of the pilot program.

Using a scooter is as simple as using your phone. Download the Spin app on your smartphone,

scan the barcode on the scooter and get to scooting. Once the user has finished their ride, they must return the scooter to a designated parking location. Students looking for a scooter to ride can simply check their app to see available units near them.

Each scooter is equipped with GPS to track the equipment and control speeds in certain areas for safety. The Nicholls Student Government Association has begun distributing rules of the road to the campus community in preparation for Friday.

“Through working with Sabrina Laurent, director of Student Engagement, Spin, and Zagster, it is our hope and mission to have this be a great program and pave the way for other universities to look into starting similar programs on their campuses,” Wendt said.

Scooters can reach 15 mph on the road but speeds will be limited on sidewalks and walking paths in the Quad.

A limited number of free helmets will be available on March 21-22.

Spin, which was bought by Ford Motor Company in 2018 for nearly $100 million, has seen success at other campuses, such as Troy University and the University of California San Diego, and has plans to launch in 100 cities in 2019.

Scooters will be limited to the Nicholls campus during the 1-year pilot program. Spin and Nicholls will evaluate the program, which comes at no cost to the university, at the end of a year and make changes moving forward.

Spin will hire local employees, including students, to oversee the maintenance, dropoffs and any technical issues that may arise.  

Dr. Michele Caruso, dean of students and associate vice president for student affairs, says the new e-scooters can be both a safe and fun way to get around campus, as well as a way to help decrease parking problems within campus.

“We are excited to add an eco-friendly and affordable transportation option for our students,” Dr. Caruso said. “We also want to encourage our students to be mindful of pedestrians and other vehicles when using the scooters. The idea is that these scooters will help our students go from the residence halls or their car to class and back in a safe and fun way.”

For more information contact the SGA Office at 448-4557.


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

Distinguished Scholars to Present “Perspectives on Southern History” at Nicholls

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls History and Geography invites you to hear two prominent historians discuss “Perspectives on Southern History.”

The Distinguished Scholars Series lecture, which is scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 26, in the Bollinger Suite, features Dr. Edward Ayers, Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus at the University of Richmond, and Dr. John C. Rodrigue, Lawrence and Theresa Salameno Professor of History at Stonehill College. The event is free and open to the public.

“If you’re interested in a serious and engaging discussion of history, especially the history of the South, you should attend,” said Dr. Paul Wilson, Nicholls Department of History and Geography head. “We don’t want to just educate students, we want to serve the community that hosts our university and we know there are many people in our region who enjoy the variety of educational events on campus that are open to the public.”

Following the presentation, the program will open up the forum to a question and answer series from audience members.

Dr. Ayers has been named National Professor of the Year, received the National Humanities Medal at the White House, served as president of the Organization of American Historians and won the Bancroft Prize in American history.  He is one of the co-hosts for BackStory, a popular podcast about American history. His newest book, “The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America,” received the Lincoln Prize.

Dr. Rodrigue has most recently published “Lincoln and Reconstruction,” a volume in Southern Illinois University Press’s Concise Lincoln Library series. He is currently working on a study of the abolition of slavery in the lower Mississippi Valley during the Civil War, which is under contract with Cambridge University Press. In addition to working on a long-term project on the southern planters after the Civil War, he is also general editor of the college-level textbook, “Louisiana: A History,” published by Wiley.

“These are interesting scholars who have important things to say about this country’s past,” Dr. Wilson said. “These historians are among the finest scholars ever brought to campus for presentations and they’ll discuss not only their research, much of it dealing with 19th-century Southern History, but they’ll both show the relevance of the 19th Century South to modern America.”


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

Nicholls to Host Discussion by Louisiana Slave Historian

THIBODAUX, La. — The lead professor on a project aimed at maintaining and spreading the stories of two 18th century Pointe Coupee slave conspiracies will discuss his research later this week on the Nicholls State University campus.

Bryan Wagner, associate professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley, is the leader of the Louisiana Slave Conspiracies Project, which studies two attempted slave revolts.The first, in 1791, involved Mina and Bambara slaves who planned to steal weapons, kill their masters and claim their freedom. The second follows a betrayed attempted revolution in 1795 when slaves were arrested for planning to set fire to the Julien Poydras estate.

Sponsored by the Nicholls Department of Language and Literature, the event will take place at 3 p.m. on Monday, March 25 in the Le Bijou Theater.

The Louisiana Slave Conspiracies Project hopes to make the source materials from the two conspiracies more accessible to interested researchers. The collaborative effort is creating a digital archive of the materials with a focus on the testimonies from the slaves and their allies, along with other archival documents related to the events by using interactive maps, translated French and Spanish manuscripts and network visualizations tracking persons, places and events.

Wagner has authored four books including “The Wild Tchoupitoulas” and “The Life and Legend of Bras-Coupé: The Fugitive Slave Who Fought the Law, Ruled the

Swamp, Danced at Congo Square, Invented Jazz, and Died for Love,” both of which were published this year.


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

Nicholls chemistry to host co-founder of Advano

Dr. Shiva Adireddy

THIBODAUX, La. — The co-founder of a Metairie-based battery startup that raised funding in Silicon Valley to support a 20-person research operation will discuss his experiences to Nicholls students next week.

Nicholls chemistry invites you to hear Dr. Shiva Adireddy, the chief technology officer who co-founded Advano with Alex Girau, present a seminar titled “Making Lithium-Ion Batteries Better Using Silicon Nanotechnology” from 2 to 3 p.m. on Friday, March 22 in Beauregard 104.

“Chemists, businessmen, entrepreneurs, students and faculty should all consider attending,” said Dr. Chad Young, chemistry department head. “Dr. Adireddy has been on a wild ride with this up-and-coming startup company. I’m eager to hear his story and the outcomes of his work.”

While the topic is broad-ranging to anyone interested in business and science, it is important for Nicholls chemistry because Dr. Adireddy studied chemistry in college and the company uses silicon chemistry in its nanotechnology.

“Nicholls chemistry exists to equip students for success in the chemical sciences,” Dr. Young said. “That mission is not realized unless we inform our students about what they can do with a chemistry degree.”  

Dr. Adireddy, who also earned his MBA from Tulane University, has presented on science topics all over the U.S. and world, including Romania, Japan and India. He received his doctorate from the University of New Orleans in Nanomanufacturing for Advanced Energy Devices and did his postdoctoral work at Tulane.

He and Girau co-founded the company in 2014 and they worked on the product, business plan and pitch before in 2017 bringing the company to Silicon Valley, where they earned $5 million in investments.

Advano is building and optimizing large-pouch-cell batteries for products including automobiles, drones and phones. The technology, which enables the company to scale the product on a commercial level at a low price, enables batteries with superior charge-performance. For more information, visit


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

Nicholls Players to present “The Glass Menagerie”

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls Players will present next week Tennessee Williams famous play exploring mental health, homosexuality and family struggles, “The Glass Menagerie.”

The four-person cast will perform next weekend in the Mary and Al Danos Theater. Tickets are $7 for students who present their Colonel Cards and general admission is $15.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21, through Saturday, March 23, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 24.

Williams’ first successful play, “The Glass Menagerie” premiered in Chicago in 1944 and has had many successful revivals on Broadway throughout the years.

The play takes place in a St. Louis apartment of the Wingfields, in which a mother pines for her days as a southern belle and wishes similar success on her children and her son, Tom, who works a menial job to support the family but wishes to be on his own. The drama of the play centers around an evening in which the family hosts a gentleman caller for Laura Wingfield, Tom’s sister, who has an inferiority complex and largely isolates herself in caring for a glass menagerie collection. The gentleman caller is Jim O’Connor, a former high-school athlete who has fallen on tough times and now works in a shoe warehouse with Tom.

Cast and crew of the Nicholls Players are made up of Nicholls students from various majors and some community members.


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

Nicholls Professor Named Finalist in Innovative Marketing Competition

Dr. Laura Valenti
(Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University Marketing Professor Dr. Laura Valenti was named one of three finalists for the 2019 Association of College Marketing Editors AxcessCapon Teaching Innovation Competition.

Dr. Valenti will present her submission, which details her Digital and Social Media Marketing class and teaching techniques in the class, on Thursday, March 14 at the ACME Conference in Houston in conjunction with the Federation of Business Disciplines Conference. A winner will be announced Friday, March 15. Finalists received a $250 prize, while the winner receives $500.

“I’m humbled and honored,” Dr. Valenti said. “I’m excited to share what I have been able to do at Nicholls with creating the class and the things that have made that class a success with other marketing educators so they can do the same.”

A Nicholls professor since 2010, Dr. Valenti has led the charge on social media marketing within the College of Business Administration. In 2018, Dr. Valenti led Nicholls’ first-ever Social Media Competition Team at the Ball State Center for Advancement of Digital Marketing and Analytics Fourth Annual Social Media Competition, where the team received the Most Creative award.


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

Nicholls Concert, Chamber Choirs to Perform in Historic Church

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls State University Concert and Chamber Choirs invite you to the warm and acoustically pleasing St. John’s Episcopal for their performance of “Sing Me to Heaven” on March 22.

The free concert is set for 7 p.m. and will run for about an hour at the church, which is located at 718 Jackson St. in Thibodaux.

“The singers impress me each day as they bring not only an enthusiasm for singing but the discipline required to learn and shape the music to reach deep into its core and connect to its beauty so they can communicate its heart and essence to the audience,” said Dr. John St. Marie, assistant professor and director of choral activities. “It is quite apropos that this concert will be offered at St. John’s Episcopal church – a beautiful space with deep historical roots in Thibodaux. It will be the perfect atmosphere for this musical offering and you will not want to miss this concert.”

The Concert Choir will be performing selections that are energetic, full-spirited and sublime. The set list includes “With a Voice of Singing” by Gilbert Martin; “El Grillo” by Josquin des Prez, which is a song about an inebriated cricket sharing his amorous song; “Warmup” by Leonard Bernstein; “Rise Up My Love, My Fair One” by Healy Willan, a text taken from the “Song of Solomon” where the poet beckons his love to awaken as the winter has gone and the singing of birds is signaling the arrival of spring, the season of love; “To Be Sung on the Water” by Samuel Barber, a vocal piece depicting a tranquil nature scene.

The Nicholls Chamber Choir has been reactivated this semester and will present a set of seven songs entitled “Singing by Numbers” composed by Bob Chilcott. The songs highlight a different mood or inspiration and range from joy to splendor. The Chamber Choir will also present a beautiful folk song arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams titled “Willow” as well as the concert’s title song, “Sing Me to Heaven,” by Daniel Gawthrop, which he says on his publisher’s website was written to speak “to the way that we, as singers, feel about music in our lives.”


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