Hailey Nicholas

Elmhurst University

Hailey Nicholas, a third-year student at Elmhurst University, is a student leader passionate about public service and environmental equity. As a first-generation student, Hailey is self-motivated and strives to inspire other students to become leaders in their communities. Through her leadership positions on campus as executive chair for the honors program and event coordinator for the sustainability club, Hailey has executed multiple campus-wide service events focusing on local community-building and environmental preservation. Hailey’s passion for service and environmental equity is exemplified through her research exploring service-learning as implicit bias training where she helped create a reflection process for students to break down biases before and after engaging in service. Hailey works closely in her community as an intern for her local government and park ambassador for the park district. She plans to work in the public sector and pursue a Master’s degree in Environmental Planning after graduation.

Troy VanAken
Elmhurst University

Personal Statement

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, I was unaware of many of the environmental issues our world is currently facing. It was not until I came to Elmhurst University and took different urban and environmental studies courses that I realized my passion for environmental advocacy, equity, and education. Serving my campus community through my leadership roles, I have been passionate about educating others about environmental issues and planning service events with non-profit organizations including SCARCE and Urban Rivers. Engaging with your community and spreading knowledge about social and environmental inequities is one of the best ways to address our country's pressing issues. Furthermore, these experiences have taught me that protecting and serving the environment must be championed and approached with severe determination by the public sector. In my future professional and academic career, I hope to continue advocating for environmental preservation, resource conservation, clean energy, and equitable access to environmental amenities to ultimately improve the quality of life for minoritized and impoverished communities.

Hailey Nicholas
Environmental Studies: Class of 05/2023
written 2022

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