Dr. Pamala Heard, a director of Honors Student Services and Activities at Jackson State University, has been selected as the 2021 Laura Taddeucci Downs National Advisor of the Year by the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
After a rigorous selection process, Heard was chosen from a pool of more than 300 higher education professionals nationwide.
“I wholeheartedly embrace this honor because it represents the combined efforts of the entire JSU team, especially administrators, faculty, staff and students,” said Heard.
She further shared that the unique national honor helps maintain the standard of excellence established at Jackson State University.
“I would be remiss if I did not share my sentiment related to the diligence and exhaustive efforts on display every day throughout the NSCS environment-true and dedicated professionals,” she added.
In the end, it was Heard’s unwavering support and dedication to the NSCS Chapter at Jackson State University for over six years that put her ahead of leading finalists, said Scott Mobley, executive director of the organization.
Mobley explained that Heard’s guidance as a Founding Chapter Advisor helped the JSU chapter reach Diamond Star Status last year, the highest honor awarded to NSCS chapters. Additionally, Heard helped NSCS establish a national partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association this year.
The award is named after Laura Taddeucci Downs, the first NSCS advisor of the organization’s inaugural chapter founded in 1994 on The George Washington University campus.
According to Mobley, Downs believed in the vision of NSCS to make a positive difference for students even when it was only a crazy idea. During the past 27 years, Downs has been a trusted advisor and friend to Founder Steve Loflin, as the organization has grown to nearly two million members and more than 300 chapters.
Mobley expressed gratitude for the impact Heard has had at both the chapter and national levels, calling her an outstanding example of leadership and inspiration, and undoubtedly personifies the ideals of Laura Taddeucci Downs.
Heard explained that the honor will always serve as an example of what can be accomplished with teamwork and a determined work ethic.
“I consider it an honor to be employed at such a legendary and noteworthy institution like Jackson State University. Despite being rooted in its humble beginnings and struggles, Jackson State University continues to create a narrative that, like a mirror, reflects its daily commitment to education and tomorrow’s leaders,” said Heard.