Nichols graduates early, jumps into her future

Tay Kincaid Photography

Nichols graduates early, jumps into her future

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With many Slicers graduating in a next few weeks, students are figuring out what they want to do with their lives. Some students have chosen to wait till college or after high school to decide, others have gotten one step ahead. Slicer Karlie Nichols began her career in neuroscience after graduating early.

Nichols chose to spend her time working at a pediatric developmental therapy clinic before going off to attend IUPUI.

“We treat kids for occupational, physical, and speech therapy. I have loved being able to interact with the wide array of kids the clinic services while also obtaining exposure to each of the therapy types. It is very educational and is helping me make decisions about what field within neuroscience I hope to go into,” Nichols said.

Nichols works daily with a wide variety of children to get a better understanding of what will be expected of her when she heads to college.

“Typically I am checking patients in at the beginning of sessions and cleaning treatment areas at the end, but the really fun part is all the in between times. I have gotten to know so many of the patients and formed bonds with them. I mostly help out in physical and occupational therapy sessions, and my goal is to be the entertainment. It is so fun to be the one that distracts the child from the difficulty of their therapy session and bring smiles to their face,” Nichols said.

Nichols recieved the internship at a pediatric clinic in Indianapolis near IUPUI, the college she will be attending in the fall. This required her to graduate a semester early to be able to live in Indy to pursue her dream.

             “I chose to graduate early because I had surpassed my required credits and knew that there was more the world had to offer me. I knew opportunities like my current internship existed, and I wanted to be able to have those experiences. I feel it’s important to follow your dreams, especially when it comes to your future! For me, graduating early and taking advantage of opportunities like this one was not an opportunity I wanted to miss. I have been thriving at my internship and I can’t wait to see what is coming in the next few years,” Nichols said.

 By working at the pediatric clinic, Nichols realized that she could see herself working in the field of neuroscience and chose to pursue it at IUPUI.

               “I chose to go into neuroscience because I am truly fascinated by how the brain and body interact, especially when it relates to various traumas, whether it be a physical or mental trauma, and stimuli. I initially wanted to take my neuroscience degree and become an adolescent psychologist or an ABA therapist, but I was open to learning about other forms of therapy. My current internship has definitely shifted my focus to align less with psychology and more with occupational or ABA therapy,” Nichols said.

Nichols is one of LaPorte High School’s brightest minds. With the many challenging courses she’s taken, as well as being in the top 10 percent of her class, Nichols has demonstrated that she is ready to grow as an academic and help others in the best way she knows how.

                “I am pretty hard on myself, so I maintained my 4.0 due to self-motivation, but that wasn’t always easy. I definitely had times where I struggled, but I took advantage of the help I had access to, whether it was by asking help from teachers or my mom and brothers,” Nichols said.

Of her four years at LPHS, Nichols has had her proudest moments inside and outside of the classroom.

               “My proudest moment in high school was when I placed first in the district level and second in the zone level of the American Legion’s Oratorical Contest. Also, I definitely prioritized academics throughout high school, so I really strove to maintain a 4.0. I am very proud to say that I persevered and earned my 4.0,” Nichols said.

Though she is switching her Slicer gear for IUPUI Jaguar gear this fall, Nichols will never forget the mark LPHS has left on her.

              “I will miss the people the most. Over my years as a Slicer, I had so many amazing and supportive teachers who I am very grateful for. I also feel into a really fantastic group of friends that I still keep in touch with,” Nichols said.

Other than those who have influenced her in the halls and classrooms, Nichols is appreciative of the people in her life who have helped her get to where she is.

             “There are two people that I deem to be the most influential people in my life: my seventh grade English teacher, Ms. Tighe, and my mom. These two women are both incredibly strong and intelligent! Ms. Tighe always showed up for me in any way she could. When I needed academic help, she always stepped in—even when I was in need of an editor for important papers or scholarship essays; she also was there if I needed anything else, no matter what it was. She showed me what it means to be there for others, and her work as a teacher and a CASA worker inspired me to consider psychology and neuroscience with a focus in helping children! In my career, I want to be a Ms. Tighe. I want to be able to make the impacts on others that she has made on me and so many others. My mom has also unconditionally been here for me. She has supported me through my entire life and demonstrated perseverance, resiliency, compassion, and kindness. As a mother does, she has taught me more than anyone else, and I am so incredibly grateful and thankful that I have a loving and supportive mother like her. I would like to thank all the amazing teachers I have had from kindergarten to the end of my senior year. Every single one of you helped me to shape me,” Nichols said.

Nichols is a kind soul who represents the class of 2022’s drive to succeed and want for the world to be a better place.

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