The longtime member of the nursing faculty will succeed Dr. Gail Poirrier. Poirrier has served as dean for 17 years, and will retire July 1.
Shalanda Plowden, a senior double major in political science and history, will reign as queen of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s 2017 Homecoming.
Maids on the Homecoming Court are Rachel “Eden” Abraham of New Orleans; Christina Hernandez of Lafayette; Rebecca Hebert of Jennings, La.; Emily Husband of Abbeville, La.; and Mary McMahon of Houma, La.
The queen and her maids will be featured on a float in the annual Homecoming Parade that begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. Later that day, the court will be presented during halftime of the Homecoming game. The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will take on the New Mexico State Aggies. Kickoff is 4 p.m. at Cajun Field.
UL Lafayette student organizations submit nominees for the court. Senior Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns football players choose the court after nominees have been interviewed.
Plowden, of Abbeville, La., was nominated by the UL Lafayette College Republicans. She is the organization’s marketing chair.
Plowden was awarded the Political Science Department’s Joseph Onebane Scholarship and the Honors Program’s Oran Roberts Scholarship. She was a first-place orator in the Southern Moot Court Competition; an American Collegiate Moot Court Association national competitor; and the UL Lafayette Moot Court Invitational champion.
Plowden is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar at UL Lafayette.
She is a member of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. She interned at the Fund for American Studies’ Leadership and the American Presidency program in Washington, D.C.
Plowden is a member of the Pride of Acadiana Marching Band.
Her community service has included participation in the Down Syndrome Association of Acadiana’s Buddy Walk, and volunteering at St. Joseph’s Diner.
Plowden is the daughter of Yolanda and Marc Plowden of Abbeville, La.
Maid Rachel “Eden” Abraham was nominated for the Homecoming Court by members of Alpha Omicron Pi Fraternity.
She is president of V-Day Lafayette, an organization that raises awareness about gender-based violence. She is a state-qualified advocate for Hearts of Hope, a sexual violence center.
Abraham is also marketing director of The Big Event, which encourages service projects among the University’s student body.
Her civic engagement earned Abraham the 2016 Greek Affairs Community Service Award.
She is vice president of communication of the Alpha Omicron Pi’s Delta Beta chapter; is a member of the UL Lafayette social media team; and is a representative on the University’s Honors Program Board.
A senior visual arts major, Abraham’s work has been featured in on-campus juried exhibitions and galleries.
She is the daughter of Cindy Miller, and Mark and Trudy Abraham, all of New Orleans.
Maid Rebecca Hebert was nominated for the court by the Gamma Kappa chapter of Kappa Delta Sorority.
She is Kappa Delta’s Panhellenic Council delegate, and was selected as the sorority’s “Most-Supportive Sister” and “Class Favorite.” She also served as a Panhellenic recruitment counselor. She interned in UL Lafayette’s Office of Student Engagement and Leadership.
She is active in the UL Lafayette Office of Orientation’s SOUL Camp. SOUL Camp is a transition program that instills leadership skills and a spirit of campus community among new students. Hebert served as a SOUL Camp mentor and on its LEAD staff.
The senior public relations major is the daughter of Bill and Alice Hebert of Jennings, La.
Maid Christina Hernandez was nominated for the court by the University’s Honors Program. She has served as a representative on the program’s board since her freshman year.
A member of Alpha Delta Pi, she is the sorority’s chaplain and volunteers for fundraising events for its chosen charity, the Ronald McDonald House. In 2017, she served as a Panhellenic Council recruitment counselor.
Hernandez is a member of the Ragin’ Cajun Catholics Student Ministry, and has volunteered with Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church’s children and youth organization. She worked with the Christian Youth Theater in Lafayette and performed in on-campus productions.
Hernandez received the Dr. Ben and Clare Roy Thibodeaux Endowed Scholarship; the Gordon Rickels Endowed Honors Scholarship; and the Honors Program’s Outstanding Service Award.
A senior linguistics major, she is the daughter of Michelle Comeaux Hernandez of Lafayette and Ronald Hernandez of Shreveport, La.
Maid Emily Husband was nominated by Alpha Delta Pi. She is the sorority’s president and was among its founding members in 2014. She previously served as its membership education vice president and music chair.
She is a member of several campus organizations: CampusCats, an animal control organization; Students for the Autism Society of Acadiana; Ragin’ Cajun Catholics; and the University Program Council. She is enrolled in the Honors Program, and has participated in The Big Event.
Husband has appeared on the President’s List since her freshman year. She received the UL Lafayette Valedictorian Scholarship and the Academic Excellence Scholarship.
Husband performed in the Lafayette Ballet Theater’s production of “The Nutcracker.” She’s also a dance instructor and reigned as the 69th Miss Fourth of July in Erath, La.
The senior organizational communication major is the daughter of William and Holly Husband of Abbeville, La.
Maid Mary McMahon was nominated by Delta Delta Delta Sorority.
She is president of the Student Government Association, and previously served as SGA vice president. McMahon serves on the Louisiana Board of Regents Council of Student Body Presidents and is its parliamentarian
She is a social mentor with UL LIFE, a program for young adults with intellectual disabilities, and was a team leader with Up ’Til Dawn, a student-led benefit for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She has completed more than 150 hours of community service.
McMahon is a member of Ragin’ Cajun Catholics and the National Student Speech, Language and Hearing Association. She is enrolled in the Honors Program and volunteered as a SOUL Camp mentor.
The senior speech language pathology and audiology major is the daughter of Philip and Lynn McMahon of Houma, La.
Photo: Members of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s 2017 Homecoming Court are, from left, maids Rachel “Eden” Abraham, Emily Husband and Mary McMahon; Queen Shalanda Plowden; and maids Christina Hernandez and Rebecca Hebert. (Credit: Doug Dugas/University of Louisiana at Lafayette)