While growing up in a small town and family farm in Illinois, Nicole says she was "surrounded by agriculture". "I mostly chose to pursue my Master’s degree in Agricultural Education because of the leadership studies program. I have always been interested in leadership and the dynamics of an effective team. They are not only good skills in the professional world, but also in everyday life."
Nicole was very active in FCCLA as a teenager, both as a member and an officer in the organization. "I was able to see how much a leadership based organization could positively impact youth of all backgrounds." She is an avid world traveler; she has been to Japan and South Africa where she has studied the agriculture in both countries. Nicole encourages others to "take advantage of all of the opportunities this university and life have to offer you. These opportunities might not always be available to you."