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The independent student news organization of Nicholls State University

the nicholls worth

The independent student news organization of Nicholls State University

the nicholls worth

Nicholls students recognized with Women of Achievement Award

Nicholls+students+recognized+with+Women+of+Achievement+Award

Nicholls State University’s 2024 Women of Achievement Award recognizes students on campus through community nominations.

The WOA award acknowledges outstanding achievement from the women on campus. A Nicholls student, faculty or staff member and a community member who meets the guidelines for a candidate can be recommended for the reward by those in the community.

The criteria to qualify are to serve as a healthy role model, have contributed to the advancement of her field and the historical legacy of women and demonstrate this year’s national theme, “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion.”

Dr. Michele Caruso, Nicholls Vice President of Student Affairs, said this criterion is crucial as it focuses on recognizing where barriers for women are present. 

“That one is important because part of the environment we want to create here is opportunities for all of our students, and this one focuses on how we are recognizing where there might be barriers for women and which women on campus are helping eliminate those barriers and such,” Caruso said.

One candidate is Jenna Beber, a Junior Mass Communications Public Relations concentration student.

Beber is a mother to one son with another on the way. She said that the first time she got pregnant, she dropped out of college, believing that her academic career ended. The resources Nicholls provides allowed her to return and continue her education as a parenting student.

“The cause that I am fighting for, specifically, is a struggle that we face as parenting students, the fact that sometimes we struggle quite a lot. You fail a semester, you drop a semester and you drop out. That is obviously impactful to your GPA and just your education in general. That’s one of the things I am working to help others with. I dropped out when I had my son. I just thought, ‘That’s what you do as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. You drop out, and your education is over.’ That cannot be further from the truth. I think that me being nominated at all is just a testament to that,” Beber said. 

Beber now advocates for students who are in her situation. She plans to continue her involvement on campus and in the community through her outlet as a Nicholls student.

Another candidate is Miranda Danos, also a Junior Mass Communications Public Relations student with a minor in history. 

Danos works for Bridge to Independence, a Nicholls program designed to help students with intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorder to earn skills for future workplace opportunities. She believes that ensuring inclusion for that community is significant on campus and beyond.

“[My sister] nominated me for all of the work I do for the Bridge to Independence program here at Nicholls. I have been working for them for two years. I’ve been doing all of their social media content and really trying to advocate for their inclusion on campus and let everyone know what the program is. It’s not just special needs people on campus. It’s giving them jobs. It’s giving them educational opportunities. It’s very important for them,” Danos said. 

Danos plans to continue advocating for people with disabilities and nonprofits in the community.

Caruso believes the WOA award is noteworthy as it acknowledges women for their hard work as a part of Nicholls.

“It’s important for people to know that their work is noticed, that they’re appreciated and that they are making substantial contributions […] While everybody can’t receive the award, the nomination itself is an honor because it does show that somebody is recognizing that contribution to our students and the future of Nicholls,” Caruso said.

The WOA award will be presented at the Women’s History Month Luncheon on Feb. 29, 2024, at noon in the Nicholls Ballroom. The keynote speaker is Dr. Melinda Jefferson, an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Nicholls.

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About the Contributor
Jaqueline Diaz, Staff Writer
My name is Jaqueline Diaz. I'm a sophomore from Vacherie. I'm majoring in mass communications with a concentration in public relations. I have a passion for writing and feel like I can develop my skills here at the Nicholls Worth while writing about the news! In my spare time, I enjoy reading, cooking, and listening to music.

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