Nicole Breaux, a junior majoring in retailing and marketing, is a talented singer and dancer who came to SU from San Diego to explore her interests in fashion and business.
Singing in front of strangers with only a tape player for accompaniment can be a terrifying experience, but not for Nicole Breaux '01. "I am shy on a one-to-one level," Breaux says. "But up on stage, I become a performer."|
Breaux, a dual retailing/marketing major in the College for Human Development and School of Management, is no novice to the entertainment worldshe has been a singer for more than half of her 20 years. She began entering talent shows when she was a fourth-grader and developed her singing skills as a member of the junior high choir and with voice lessons. On campus, she performs at receptions, events held in Goldstein Auditorium, and other gatherings. Last spring, when then-Dean Susan Crockett asked her to perform at the College for Human Development's faculty retreat, Breaux obliged and found an instant fan club. "To stand up and start singing in the middle of a dining room where everyone was at least old enough to be her mother was very impressive," says retailing professor Amanda Nicholson. "Nicole has so much composure; I don't know many people who are prepared to put themselves on the edge like that."
This past summer Breaux worked with a producer in her native San Diego, writing and recording tracks in the R&B, pop, and Latin styles she loves. "Music is my heart and soul," Breaux says. "It is my passion." But music is not her only talent. During her first two years at SU, Breaux participated in Danceworks, a student group that organizes an annual event featuring eclectic dances. In her first year Breaux performed in an African dance, and last year she danced in three routines, including a hip hop number she choreographed. This year she's a member of the Creations Dance Troupe, another campus-based group.
A top student, Breaux came to Syracuse because she enjoyed the atmosphere during a high school visit and found the academic offerings to her liking. "I was looking for a program that would involve both fashion and business, and Syracuse was one of the only schools where I could do that," she says.
Although Breaux plans to pursue a singing career in the future, she decided against being a voice major because she wants to explore the marketing business, perhaps in executive management for a clothing retailer. Breaux credits the human development faculty and staff with helping her hone her professional interests and making her feel at home on the East Coast. One of those people is Nicholson, who has been extremely influential in Breaux's college career ever since she took Nicholson's introductory retail course as a first-year student. "Professor Nicholson really inspired me," Breaux says. "She encouraged me to express myself and develop new ideas."
Breaux found a platform for her ideas about volunteer work and other activities as the sophomore class representative to the Retail Association, a group of retailing majors that puts on an annual campus fashion show as one of its undertakings. "Nicole is always there to do her part, and then some," says faculty advisor Nicholson, who is impressed by Breaux's maturity and leadership skills. "Her ways of dealing with people are very subtle. She doesn't take on leadership in an overt way. She has a sense of humanity and understands what people are about."
In spite of Breaux's many talents and accomplishments, she remains grounded, describing herself as a caring individual who loves to make people happy. "If someone says something negative, I try to show the positive side," she says.
And that's a side Nicholson appreciates, saying she's honored to call Breaux a friend. "She is so multifaceted, but she is together with it," Nicholson says. "She doesn't seem to have an ego, and I have never heard her criticize other students. She is such a wonderful representative of the University because she has great ability and initiative. Whether she becomes the CEO of a major corporation or a recording star, I know she will be enormously successful."
DANIELLE K. JOHNSON