Success Stories
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From weather enthusiast to environmental awareness advocate, Carly Nicholson ’17 found her passion at UIndy.


That’s the signature hashtag used on social media by earth-space science graduate Carly Nicholson ’17. But it was more than just a tagline; “It’s a lifelong devotion to environmental awareness,” she said.

Nicholson has been a weather enthusiast since she was 12 years old, but she wasn’t sure that it was her career path. After transferring to the University of Indianapolis her sophomore year, she chose the earth-space science major because it encompassed all of her science-related interests.

“I knew within half an hour of my visit that I was meant to go to the University of Indianapolis. I was meant to make an impact at UIndy. I took hold of that idea and ran with it,” she said.

She was going to be a scientist. Maybe a meteorologist. Or perhaps a teacher.

That’s when the network of professors and the University’s Professional Edge Center stepped in as mentors.

Nicholson earned an internship her senior year working with former Indianapolis Mayor and University of Indianapolis Visiting Fellow Greg Ballard on the Indiana Advanced Energy Plan.

She collaborated with students from different backgrounds, with majors ranging from accounting to biology to art education. After a year of research, Nicholson and other students from University of Indianapolis and IUPUI submitted a strategic plan to state lawmakers for the future of energy in Indiana.

“The internship was one of the best experiences I had at UIndy. I found my own strengths in advocating for environmental awareness,” Nicholson said. “The University helped me understand what an environmental manager position would be like, and it helped me decide what graduate program I wanted to study.”

Since arriving at UIndy, she had dreamed of having a weather station on campus and began collaborating on research with Dr. Tim Duman, professor of physics and earth-space science. In Spring 2017, she helped to author a grant to fund the project.

It didn’t take long for alumnus Bob Green ’70 to take action by supporting the installation of a WeatherSTEM station. The installation took place just after Nicholson graduated and she was able to leave her mark
at UIndy.

“UIndy is now a hub of meteorological data. The campus and surrounding community have the opportunity to become more intimate with the weather they experience day to day with use of the WeatherSTEM website, app and social media,” she says.

Now in graduate school, Nicholson is in a dual master’s program studying public affairs and environmental science. Her goal is to find a federal job where she can make a big impact, perhaps with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration or the Environmental Protection Agency.

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