Alumni Success Stories
Ferris Honors Program Alumna Nichole Wheelock

Nichole Wheelock
Graduated May 2008
Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work
Minor in Sociology and Multicultural Relations in the US
Employed at Third Level Crisis Intervention Center
Traverse City, Michigan

I graduated in May 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Minor in Sociology and Multicultural Relations in the US, and currently work at Third Level Crisis Intervention Center in Traverse City, Michigan. I remember getting the news that I had been accepted into the Honors Program, and you’d have thought I won the lottery. I was overjoyed and ran instantly to the nearest bookstore to purchase “Einstein’s Dreams.” I began my career at Ferris as a Pre-Pharmacy student, and Ferris was the best choice for that. About a semester into it, I realized it wasn’t at all what I wanted to be doing, and after completing my freshmen year, I made the big switch. I remember being told that I was crazy to do such a thing, but I was supported by the Honors Program, and can remember the many meetings with Maude, to try and determine what I was supposed to do. I was in the Educational Counseling office taking numerous tests and assessments, as well as meeting many professors. It came down to a number that Maude gave me; she told me, “call her, I think it’ll be a fit.” I was in Kathy Palazzolo-Miller’s office the next day signing up for my first course. I fell in the love the first day, and realized that was my calling.

The support I received in the Honors Program, as well as the opportunities, truly shaped my career at Ferris. The single room was indeed a perk, but it was only the beginning. We were given opportunities to gain different cultural knowledge as well as explore the needs in our community and be able to give back. The support I gained from Honors allowed me to create a memorable and incredibly rewarding career at Ferris. I got involved slowly at first, and by my senior year, was a part of multiple student organizations and a leader in many of those. I was not only a peer mentor, but also helped to re-vamp the peer mentor process, seeking change and more opportunities for the students.

After graduating from Ferris, I joined AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps). I was based out of Denver, CO and participated in a 10-Month, team-based residential program for 18-24 year olds. We served communities around the country, each team having four different projects throughout their time of service. I did everything from trail work and ditch irrigation, to Hurricane Ike recovery and leading my own team of youth in a Summer of Service Program. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I could take part in, and made life-long friends along the way.

Upon graduating from AmeriCorps NCCC, I moved to Ann Arbor, MI and attended the University of Michigan School of Social Work. I obtained a Master’s in Social Work, specializing in Interpersonal Practice with Children and Youth. Additionally, I graduated with a School Social Work certificate. After the intensive 11-month program, I had completed 45 credits of Masters work, a School Social Work internship at Grand Blanc High School, and returned home to Traverse City to continue the job search. I landed a job working for Third Level Crisis Center, with their contract in the Benzie/Leelanau District Health Dept with the Maternal Infant Health Program. Since starting in September 2010, I have begun working with truancy referrals, some street outreach work and am the counselor at KTOWN Youth Care, an adolescent health clinic.