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Nora Nicholl-Lewandowski

As a Student Ambassador in the Admissions Department, Nora Nicholl-Lewandowski is one of the first contacts prospective students have with Dominican. Leading tours of campus and guiding high school students through the college application process, she delights in providing insight into campus life and all that Dominican has to offer

Nora is the perfect ambassador for the admissions department. Personable, intelligent, and confident, she takes great delight in introducing Dominican to new audiences.

Promoting Dominican, Nora admits, is easy.

“I often say that if you are the type of person who likes to be involved on a campus and wants to become involved with a close-knit community, then this is the place for you,”  she says “I want to deliver the message that Dominican is what students put into it: You get what you give.”

Nora speaks from experience. The Arizona native who enrolled at Dominican as a 17-year-old honors student – her parents insisted their bright daughter skip fourth grade – came to Dominican with a keen interest in politics and the desire to pursue a career focused on international studies.

Her interest in politics began at an early age. Her father, an environmental attorney for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, engaged his daughter in political discussions. Once at Dominican, Nora hit the ground running (quite literally, as a member of the Penguins cross country team) and has not slowed down since.

During her freshman year, she began research focused on international peace building and the Muslim population in the United States post 9-11. In 2011, she presented her work at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Later that year, Nora was selected to the Board of Directors for the Model United Nations of the Far West (MUNFW) and represented Uganda on the Security Council at the MUNFW’s West Coast conference.

The following summer, Nora enrolled in an intensive Arabic language program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, realizing Arabic would be useful for future studies in international politics.

“Nora is a driven young woman with maturity and intelligence,” says Dr. Gigi Gokcek, associate professor in Dominican’s Department of Political Science and International Studies.  “She is a fast learner, has the comprehension level of a graduate student, and is well-qualified to pursue a number of options in her life.”

As a junior, Nora presented research focused on nuclear proliferation and its implications for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Western Political Science Association’s annual meeting in Portland, Oregon. She also travelled to Uganda with a group from Dominican to lead workshops focused on agriculture and sustainable development.

By the end of her junior year, Nora already had earned almost enough units to meet her graduation requirement. She decided to spend the first half of her senior year studying abroad at the American University in Athens, Greece.

“I would not be the same student graduating if I had not had the experience that I had in Greece, meeting so many people and being in the middle of such political change,” she says.

Once back in the U.S., Nora began working on her honors thesis focused on U.S. foreign policy and its implications for nuclear politics in the Middle East.  She supplemented her academic work with an internship with the Tangible Hope Foundation, a nonprofit humanitarian organization committed to empowering young girls and women to break the cycle of poverty by increasing access to education, sustainable development, and nutrition.

“I feel that the point of a liberal arts degree is to be well-rounded and well-qualified for a range of different things,” Nora says. “I feel lucky that because of Dominican, I have that. A number of places already want me as an employee and that’s thanks to my experience here.”

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