Mattapan native Nicole Barnett '11 wasn't sure what she wanted to major in when she entered Wheelock as a first-year student.
"At first I thought I wanted to be a teacher. But then I discovered it wasn't for me," Nicole said. "I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. But my teachers, especially Gail Dines, and my advisor helped me understand my interests and how to translate them into an academic plan and, eventually, a career.
"I decided to become a Communications major after I took Susan Owusu's "Race, Media, and American Society" class," Nicole said. "Learning how to harness media to create social change is a powerful tool.
"I think it's really important for people to understand each other-on many different levels," Nicole continued. "That's why I'm also an American Studies major. I'm fascinated by different cultures. I want to ask everyone, ‘What's your culture about?' And then I'll tell you what mine's about."
The vice president of ALANA for two years, Nicole is dedicated to bringing her classmates together. "My position as a leader has opened my eyes to see more opportunities—it allows me to work collectively and collaboratively with my fellow students."
Motivated by her love of studying culture, Nicole traveled to Ghana and Benin during a Wheelock Service Learning Trip this spring. "We taught English to elementary and middle school students," Nicole explained. "It was amazing to see how much these kids valued their education. They were so eager to learn things like verb tenses! It made me realize just how much Americans can take for granted."
"Wheelock has helped me understand who I am, has given me the outlet to be who I am, and it's definitely changed me for the better."