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NMSU graduate, staff member named University Connections Initiative fellow

Release Date: 17 Nov 2022
NMSU graduate, staff member named University Connections Initiative fellow

New Mexico State University Education Abroad Program Manager Erica Nikolaisen has been selected as a fellow for the 2022-2023 United States-Association of Southeast Nations University Connections Initiative. She is one of 25 fellows nationally selected for this honor.

In partnership with the Association of International Education Administrators, this fellowship will connect leaders from colleges and universities across the country and ASEAN for both virtual and in-person trainings. Nikolaisen will attend the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit and at the AIEA conference in Washington, D.C., in February 2023.

A 2010 and 2012 NMSU graduate, Nikolaisen returned to NMSU in March 2020 when she accepted her current position.

“Receiving this fellowship will allow NMSU to create new partnerships with ASEAN higher education institutions and exchange best practices in developing academic partnerships,” she said.

“Through this fellowship, I have the opportunity to apply for microgrants of up to $5,000 to further pursue partnership development with ASEAN institutions. I hope that participation will allow me to develop new study abroad opportunities in Southeast Asia that compliment degree programs for NMSU students,” Nikolaisen said.

The University Connections Initiative was announced in May 2022 during the inaugural U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit to re-affirm the nation’s commitment to Southeast Asia and emphasize the importance of U.S.-ASEAN cooperation in ensuring security, prosperity and respect for human rights.

“Erica’s selection as a 2022-2023 U.S.-ASEAN fellow will provide for additional opportunities for our Aggies to explore study abroad opportunities in Southeast Asia,” said Tony Marin, assistant vice president of Student Affairs. “As only one of 25 fellows selected nationally, Erica’s selection is truly a prestigious honor that elevates NMSU’s commitment to international education experiences for our Aggies.”

As an undergraduate student, Nikolaisen’s study abroad experience in the United Kingdom changed her life and led her to pursue a career in higher education.

“Through study abroad, students have the opportunity to not only travel the world, but also live in other cultures and that is how we begin to understand shared ideals and opportunities to make connections around the world,” she said. 

Nikolaisen earned her bachelor’s degrees in government and history and a master’s degree in public administration. Currently, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in educational leadership and administration with a concentration in higher education at NMSU.

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NMSU photo by Josh Bachman

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