Tanya Nichols has long been driven to serve young people. But her years pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology have provided a deeper focus for that desire.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at Curry very much,” Nichols says. She especially notes the opportunity to experience a broad variety of educational settings, including classroom time with children of differing ages and backgrounds. “It’s definitely pointed me to my niche.
While Nichols has long wanted to provide mental-health services within a school setting, she’s decided to concentrate on university students, “where they are still young but are really developing and maturing.”
A career invested in mental-health services in a school setting requires the ability to see and understand students within a variety of contexts. No one working in this field can afford a narrow scope.
That’s why Curry’s emphasis on diversity in education has been especially valuable. “I feel as though my professors intentionally try to infuse diversity issues into our curriculum,” Nichols says, “whether it’s race, ethnicity, religion, age or geographic location.”
At other schools, Nichols notes, “Diversity topics are the last chapter in the book or the last reading in the semester. But when they are infused into the curriculum and addressed from the beginning, diversity is reinforced as essential to the learning experience.”
Nichols remembers the times when her professors sought feedback at the end of some courses, in order to improve their own teaching. That same pursuit of excellence will fuel Nichols as she serves students at a crucial season of their lives.