NATCHITOCHES – Abby Hinds and Otha Nelson have given a lot in their time at Northwestern State University, but both feel they have received much more in return from being active in student organizations. Their fellow students recently honored them by choosing Hinds as Miss NSU and Nelson as Mr. NSU.
Hinds is a senior health and exercise science, pre occupational therapy major from Many. She is the daughter of Amy and Rodney Wyatt and Eddy and Kristin Hinds. A member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority, she serves as the organization’s president. She is a freshman orientation leader and student coordinator for the Office of First Year Experience. She was the 2016 Greek Woman of the Year and is a member of Purple Jackets, Order of Omega, Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Kappa Phi.
“Everything I am involved in at NSU is to better the student experience: First Year Experience, Freshman Connection, Greek Life and Academic Honor Societies,” said Hinds. “To realize that my peers and friends recognize the hard work I pour into this place I love so much makes it all worth it. I truly feel as if I have left my mark at Northwestern State University.”
Nelson is a senior liberal arts major with a concentration in politics, philosophy and economics in the Louisiana Scholars’ College from Baton Rouge. He is Student Government Association President and a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity, the Interfraternity Council and Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. Nelson is a board member for the Fraternity and Sorority PAC.
“The experience of receiving a title such as Mr. NSU from my peers is comparable to no other,” said Nelson. “It feels incredible to know the amount of love and caring that is held by the student body for one another within our Demon family.”
Hinds feels involvement in student organizations adds a great deal to the overall college experience.
“It is important for students to become involved during their time in school not only because it increases their chances of graduating successfully, but also because of the memories they will make along the way,” said Hinds. “I always encourage my students during Freshman Orientation to think about the person who they think they will be in four years, walking across the graduation stage. Take the opportunity to join the programs that will develop you into that person you want to become.”
Nelson said student involvement provides practical experience along with once in a lifetime opportunities.
“Student organizations give students the ability to network, manage small scale companies with budgets and become active parts of their community,” he said. “I would not be the man that I am today if it was not for some of the opportunities that I have received from student organizations. From traveling coast to coast, to managing a powerfully impactful on campus organization, to having the chance to sit on the national board of directors for one of the largest fraternities in the country, being an involved student has opened many doors for me. I would not change a single choice that I have made in college.”
Hinds said each organization she has joined provided her with chances to branch out and fully experience being a part of Northwestern State.
“I have met the best, most unique individuals and role models through being involved during my college experience; these people are my forever friends,” said Hinds. “We have laughed, cried, enjoyed and, at times, stressed during the past four years. As a graduating senior, it is true that I am feeling nostalgic, and I would start my time all over again if I were able to.”
Hinds and Nelson both saw unique opportunities available for them at Northwestern. Hinds said former NSU recruiter Danielle Rhine Stamey pushed her to get involved as a freshman.
“Danielle pushed me into every program and opportunity offered at Northwestern State, and I am sure glad she did,” said Hinds. “She helped me step out of my shell, and find the support system I needed to enjoy college.”
Hinds said she is a far different person than she was a freshman.
“I wanted to be involved in every way when beginning college, but I was so shy and self conscious,” said Hinds. “I always had a difficult time making long-lasting friendships in high school. For me, it was more about being comfortable in my own skin than the choice to be involved. The choice was easy, being confident in my abilities and the person I was at the time was the hard part. I have grown astronomically as a person and so has my passion for this university and Natchitoches. I can wholeheartedly state it is because of the organizations and opportunities I have been presented as a student at NSU.”
Nelson found the opportunity to study in the Scholars’ College, the state’s designated honors college appealing.
“Upon coming here I soon realized that the possibilities here at NSU are completely limitless,” said Nelson. “I was in Student Council in high school but in no way planned on being as involved as I am today. I am blessed to have been exposed to so many organizations because it has tough me impactful lessons regarding time management that are going to reside within me we’ll after my time here at NSU is over.”