Nicholls Awards 64 Students at Colonel Leaders and Scholars Ceremony with Alumni Guest Speaker

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Nicholls awarded 64 students at its Colonel Leaders and Scholars ceremony on Oct. 17, 2023. The Colonel Leaders and Scholars Award is given to the university’s highest achievers in extracurricular activities and academics. Every junior and senior with at least a 2.50 GPA and an updated co-curricular were considered.

“It is always special to celebrate our extraordinary students. The Colonels celebrated tonight have demonstrated exceptional leadership accomplishments in addition to outstanding academic achievement,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Michele Caruso.

The university’s guest speaker for the event was Nicholls alumna and Labadieville native Joni Blanchard Tuck, a corporate relations advisor for Shell’s Deepwater Gulf of Mexico business with 20 years of experience working across the water management and energy industries for both the public and private sectors in Louisiana and abroad. In her position at Shell, she is a champion for sustainable energy development, coastal restoration and infrastructure development across Louisiana’s working coast.

Before working at Shell, Joni channeled her passions through various roles in Louisiana, beginning with the National Park Service, and on to the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Lafourche Parish Government, and the Greater Lafourche Port Commission. She gained international experience during her four years with Melbourne Water Corporation in water infrastructure development and delivery in Melbourne, Australia, through the height of the “millenium drought.”

Joni’s diverse experiences have cultivated a broad skillset, including government relations, stakeholder engagement, crisis and communications management, coastal restoration and water management, land use and infrastructure planning, business development and management. Joni spoke to the scholars about the pride and preparation that comes with a degree from Nicholls, how to maximize being underestimated and the importance of persistence in the face of failure.

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