Student Spotlight: Volleyball star Nicole Blue shares tips for success on and off the court

by Chynna Lockett  |   

Nochole blue sitting on green mountain covered in grass
Nicole Blue hicking Flattop Mountain in late July of 2021.

Nicole Blue has been part of the Seawolf Women’s Volleyball team since 2020. She’s a champion both on and off the court! The senior is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with a focus in Speech Language Pathology. Blue shares some highlights from her time at UAA. 

 

Name: Nicole Blue

Major: Health Sciences

Anticipated graduation date: May 2024

Unit: School of Allied Health, Division of Population Health Sciences 

Hometown: Cerritos, CA

Nicole Blue smiling in UAA doorm room
Nicole Blue smilling in her UAA doorm room in 2022.

What brought you to the UAA College of Health?

Since elementary school, I knew I wanted to be in the health field. The UAA College of Health has allowed me to refine my career goals and presented opportunities I would not have found at other schools.

Why did you choose the degree you are pursuing?

I originally wanted to be a pediatrician, but I realized that the extensive schooling and demanding nature of this career wasn't for me. While seeking a new career goal, I stumbled across the speech-language pathology "concentration" here at UAA and decided to give it a try. I have since fallen in love with the field and am excited to pursue a career in becoming a pediatric speech-language pathologist.

What are you involved in on campus?

For the past 4 years, I have been a part of the UAA volleyball team. Being a part of the team has contributed to my personal growth by building on my teamwork, communication, and resiliency skills. On a professional level, the sport has permanently instilled a strong work ethic, discipline, and effective time management - skills that will last a lifetime.

Please tell us how your experiences with internships and practicum placements have shaped you personally, academically, and professionally.

I have been fortunate enough to shadow various speech-language pathologists (SLPs) here in Anchorage. This has enriched my personal perspective by deepening my empathy for diverse patient needs. Academically, the experience provided practical insights that continue to complement the information I'm learning in class. Professionally, it clarified my career goals, inspiring a commitment to a patient-centered and adaptable approach in my future practice.

Nicole Blue in volleyball uniform posing with parents on game court
Nicole Blue poses with her parents at Alaska Airlines Center during Seniors Night on Nov. 16th, 2023.

What words of wisdom do you have for underclassmen?

The main thing I would say is to embrace the journey of self-discovery. Take the time to explore various fields and interests, and allow yourself the flexibility to adapt and grow. UAA offers a diverse range of programs and a supportive community, so engage with different opportunities, seek guidance, and be open to discovering your passions as you enter the next chapter of your academic and personal journey.

What did you want to do when you were 10?

When I was 10 I wanted to be a veterinarian. One time a crow dropped a dead rat in the backyard, and without hesitation, I promptly disposed of it at my mom's request. She made a remark about my ease with animals and that planted the idea of becoming a vet in my mind. That only lasted about 2 years until I realized humans were more my speed.

What was your favorite class while here at UAA?

My favorite class so far has been phonetics with Megan Bennett. I have found the intricacies of speech sounds and their production so fascinating, and delving into the mechanics of how sounds are formed and pronounced has been both intellectually stimulating and personally enriching. Transcribing phonemes has also been an unexpectedly enjoyable journey for me. The process of deciphering exactly how a word was said has added a fun, puzzle-like element to my learning experience!

nicole blue wearing helmet crawling in lava cave
Nicole Blue crawling through French lava tunnels in the Summer of 2023.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

My favorite spot on campus since the moment I've been at UAA has been the Alaska Airlines Center's main gym. Other than at home, I have spent most of my time in Anchorage in the AAC. The gym floor has become the backdrop for some of the most cherished memories of my college experience with my teammates.

Who is your favorite professor?

I have had so many great professors here at UAA, but one that has stood out is Kristen Stoepler because of her unwavering support and understanding of my busy student-athlete life. Not only did she attend many of my games, but she has also been exceptionally accommodating, creating an environment that allows me to excel academically while pursuing my passion for athletics. Her dedication to my success both in and out of the classroom has made a significant positive impact on my college experience.

What is your favorite memory from your time here at UAA?

My favorite memory here at UAA has been my volleyball senior night. Despite the bittersweet emotions that come with the end of a chapter, the night was filled with an overwhelming sense of love and support from teammates, coaches, and the entire community. It was a special moment that encapsulated the bonds forged throughout my collegiate volleyball journey, making it a cherished and unforgettable experience.

What is your plan after graduation?

After graduation, I plan on continuing my education by attending graduate school.

What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?

In my spare time, I enjoy reading. Delving into books provides me with a relaxing escape and a chance to explore different worlds, perspectives, and ideas. It's a hobby that not only entertains but also allows for personal enrichment and continuous learning.


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