Nakina Marie Eugene is a native of New Orleans. She graduated from Xavier University Preparatory School as the Salutatorian in 2001. She was honored as the first recipient of the Arnold and Hazel Donald Scholarship Award. As a Donald Scholar, Miss Eugene received a full scholarship to Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. She was the only African-American to major in Chemistry in her classification. While at Carleton, she also accomplished significant work in Education, Physics, Acting, and Spanish. She was honored with the opportunity to study abroad in Morelia, Mexico for 3 months, where she focused on the Spanish Language and Mexican literature and art.
After graduating Carleton College in 2005, Miss Eugene enrolled in Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, where she focused on Community Health Sciences. While at Tulane, she was involved in the Society for Young Black Public Health Professionals and volunteered with Luke’s House, a local community health clinic. Graduating magna cum laude, she received her Master’s Degree in Public Health in 2009.
Miss Eugene has done extensive work with the Louisiana Office of Mental Health since February 2008. She coordinated the Family Involvement Enhancement Project (FIEP) at the Louisiana Children’s Museum. The FIEP focuses on empowering special needs families through trainings, which will enhance their leadership, support, and communication skills. Parents received personal development training while the children were involved in art therapy. In December 2009, FIEP received national recognition when FIEP team presented the project at the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health Conference in Washington D.C. In addition, she helped plan the 1st Annual Walk for Children’s Mental Health Awareness in June 2010.
Miss Eugene plans to continue her work with special needs families through Parents United for Children’s Mental Health, a non-profit that she is establishing with several parent leaders. She, with the help of parents, designers, Xavier Prep, and Chic Nouvelle Model Management, planned a fundraiser in October 2010 called Fashion for Compassion, a benefit for special needs families.
In her spare time, Miss Eugene serves as a mentor for the Louisiana Youth Challenge Program which assists at-risk youth. She also enjoys acting and modeling. She recently completed work modeling for Chic Nouvelle Model Management, Paperdoll Promotions, Lakeside Shopping Center, Fashion Week at Bourbon Park 2010, and Harrah’s. Additionally, she was honorably mentioned in the Tyra.com Cycle 15 Model Search. Her latest acting projects include work on HBO’s Treme and the Summer 2011 action film, the Green Lantern. She also writes a regular column for Chic Nouvelle Magazine, a local arts and fashion periodical. Miss Eugene hopes to achieve much more in the entertainment industry.
Her message to others is that faith in God, hard work, and perseverance will help achieve any imaginable goal. As Miss Black Louisiana USA, Miss Eugene plans to address issues such as community responsibility and education disparities, while promoting positive role models for young black women.