An associate professor of business and a senior biology and pre-med major from Jackson State University were among recent honorees from 34 Mississippi public and private universities and colleges during an annual HEADWAE luncheon celebrating academic achievements and other contributions.
Dr. Nicholas J. Hill, interim chair of the Department of Business and an associate professor in JSU’s College of Business, was saluted along with Malik Nelson in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.
HEADWAE (Higher Education Appreciation Day – Working for Academic Excellence) was established by a legislative resolution to honor individuals for their overall efforts to elevate the state’s public and private institutions of higher learning.
The honorees began the event with a visit to the State Capitol, where they were greeted by Sen. Gray Tollison, president pro tempore. Also, they were recognized by the Senate and House of Representatives and given a tour of the Capitol. At the awards luncheon, the honorees were recognized for their excellence and contributions in the classroom and beyond.
Nelson, a native of Detroit, is a 4.0 honors students in the Du Bois-Harvey Honors College. He said, “This is my first and only college award. It means a lot to me that the state of Mississippi would recognize my accomplishments. Being rewarded like this will always remind me of what being in Mississippi is like.”
The 21-year-old also said, “All throughout college, I never thought about being formally rewarded for my grades, volunteering or mentoring. I always saw the reward as being the actions themselves. My mom always taught me to work hard, do my best and never see myself as a victim because even when people are not watching, God is.”
As for his future, Nelson said he’s preparing for medical school.
“A couple days before Christmas 2018, I received my letter of acceptance to my No. 1 choice medical school, Emory University School of Medicine, for the Class of 2023. I plan on being involved with Emory’s Student National Medical Association – an organization dedicated to helping minorities in medicine. After graduating medical school, I plan on completing my dermatology residency at the University of California, San Francisco.”
Dr. Nicholas J. Hill, interim chair of the Department of Business and an associate professor in the College of Business, said he’s overjoyed by the acknowledgment from JSU and others.
“For me it’s always an honor to be recognized for your contributions to the field of academia. It fills you with joy to understand that outside of these walls of Jackson State that others value the work that you’re doing, too,” he said.
Hill added that he’s “always been one who has worked hard to connect research that I’m passionate about to my students here, especially those who look like me. I want to connect different types of learning styles and teaching methods in the classroom to what they can expect in the real world. I believe we’re connecting students in the College of Business to what they’re really passionate about, too. This makes teaching worthwhile.”
His research has been published in several journals, and Hill recently received $500,000 in research dollars from the National Science Foundation. Aside from that, he directs the Center for Research and Economic Education and Literacy and Finance. It partners with the Mississippi Council For Economic Education to train instructors on how to teach economic education and financial literacy to K-12 students.
“By doing this, students are better prepared for economics. They’re also aware of personal finance and understand the stock market,” said Hill, whose other contributions include working alongside the NAACP for community outreach.