The Gustavian Weekly

Gustie of the Week: Nicole Willis | The Gustavian Weekly

By Anh Tran - Staff Writer | November 30, 2018 | Gustie of the Week, Variety

This week’s Gustie of the Week is secondary history education major Nicole Willis. Besides her studying, the senior is spending her third year at Gustavus Adolphus College engaging a wide range of activities of campus.

On campus, Willis passionately participates in the United Christian Ministries, the Prepare Ministries, the Gustavus Wind Symphony, and the Court of Saint Lucia 2017.

Willis also works part-time at the Saint Peter Middle School to expand her passion for working with young students.

Willis decided to pursue a degree of education due to her love for students in middle and high schools. Willis found her passion in teaching and hopes to fuel young minds with knowledge from different disciplines, from civics to geography.

The social studies teaching major emphasizes the importance of teaching her future students “the skills that they can take away,” such as critical thinking and building arguments. On top of that, what Willis keeps in mind, always, is to care and support her students in the best way that she can.

“For my future students, I want to be supportive, be an adult figure in their lives to push them and encourage them and let them know that there’s someone who loves them and believes in them. I want my students to think critically and connect what they learn in class to their lives. I want my teaching to be relevant and empower my students, even when they go out of my classroom,” Willis said.

Willis’s part-time job at the Saint Peter Middle School reaffirms her love for middle school students and motivates her to continue pursuing her career.

“I am there main for students who need additional assistance, but I am also there as extra support for all students,” Willis said.

This semester is Willis’s first semester taking education courses, where she meets other teaching majors. Her classmates share with her the passion to teach and help younger people. More than ever, Willis enjoys being part of an enthusiastic community where members understand and support one another.

“Nicole is a caring and passionate individual. She always cares about other people and are always willing to help them,” Senior chemistry ACS major Hayley Lhotka shared.

Loving the closely-knitted bonds found in communities, Willis takes leadership roles in several campus organizations to build and support these communities. The Senior is one of the student leaders in United Christian Ministries and the Prepare Ministry at Gustavus Adolphus College. She plans and organizes their regular events such as Bible study, weekly meetings, the fall retreat, and more.

In the Gustavus Wind Symphony, Willis is the Section Leader of the Flute Section.

“[Willis] appears to be an introverted person, but many people know her because of the way she interacts with them and always cares and supports them,” Lhotka said.

Willis enjoys playing music at Gustavus Adolphus College as music brings the community together.

Because both music and faith are significant in her life, Willis really enjoys Vespers and the Winds of Christmas. The Winds of Christmas is when her orchestra plays Christmas music in Christ Chapel during Chapel break that day. Willis has played in the Winds of Christmas for the last three consecutive years and looks forward to the next one, which takes place on Tuesday, December 4 in Christ Chapel. These events are the opportunities for everyone to come join one another in celebration faith and tradition.

Last year, Willis represented her class in the Court of Saint Lucia. Willis was nominated and voted to be among the six members of the court. She loved the opportunity to learn about the tradition as well as her fellow court members. Together, they sang carols in most residence halls starting at 5 a.m., and then they celebrate the festival of Saint Lucia in Christ Chapel.

Taking on leadership roles in several communities, the Social Studies Teaching Major hopes to connect everyone and promotes love and care among Gusties. Honored as the Gustie of the Week, Willis has a message for other Gusties: “You are loved; you are doing a great job; and I believe in you.”