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Shields Grad Receives Top Air Force Honors

February 13, 2018 Tags: Alumni , Business and Communications

Nicole NealMs. Nicole Neal (Shrift), a Shields School of Business graduate ( Accounting ‘05), received top honors from the Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. Heather Wilson. 

Nicole is the Director of Operations for the Air Force Audit Agency at Andrews Air Force Base, MD. She is responsible for leading the Audit Operations; Policy, Oversight, and IT Systems; and Resources Management Divisions. 

Under Nicole’s leadership, the Air Force Audit Agency was the first organization to initiate the Secretary's priority of regulation reduction in the Air Force. She was awarded one of the first coins given by the secretary, and one-on-one time for "coffee with the boss" as an added bonus.  

In 2005, Nicole graduated from SFU with a Bachelors in Accounting and four NEC Basketball Championships. She was one of many family members who attended SFU, and refers to the campus as her “home away from home”.

“I am a product of 17 years of catholic education”, she said proudly. “I chose SFU for its strong academic and athletic programs, because of SFU's focus on providing students with a quality education and a positive experience and atmosphere.”

She credits her teachers and coaches at Saint Francis for preparing her for the Air Force, both in education and values.

“SFU taught me about hard work, discipline, time management, and sticking to your morals", she said. "It's not only about what you do in the classroom and on the basketball court, but what you do in the community and how you represent yourself, family, and SFU. Similarly in the Air Force, our core values are integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do, which are in line with the values and goals for Franciscan higher education.”

Despite no longer living in the Loretto area, Nicole still remains in touch with her alma mater as a member of the SFU Student Business Advisory Board. She also catches SFU games when she can, and looks forward to alumni events.

“I loved that SFU didn’t forget about me after I graduated, and I am still considered a part of the community even though hundreds of miles away”, she said. “I enjoy and look forward to attending SFU games in the DC area, attending reunions, and watching SFU continue to grow into one of the best universities in the U.S.”

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