As an NMSU student in 2009, Erica Nikolaisen’s study abroad experience in the United Kingdom changed her career path. When she returned, she joined Education Abroad as a work-study student, and her career in higher education began. Nikolaisen is now the Education Abroad program manager.
“I really believe in the value of providing international experiences for NMSU students,” she said. “The world today is very complex, and Education Abroad programs provide students with the opportunity to reflect on their own identity, the identity of others, and engage in meaningful cross-cultural interactions.”
Nikolaisen earned her bachelor’s degrees in government and history in 2010 and a master’s degree in public administration in 2012 at NMSU. After working at Penn State University and Texas Tech University, she returned to NMSU in March 2020.
In addition to overseeing Education Abroad programing, Nikolaisen works with faculty to develop Faculty-Led International Programs, or FLIPs; supervises a team of Education Abroad advisers who advise students about education abroad opportunities; directs new education abroad program development and creation of international mobility agreements; and helps mitigate the risk for education abroad travelers because extra measures need to be taken to ensure that both education abroad participants and faculty members who lead faculty-led international programs are fully prepared for any health and safety issues that may arise while abroad.
Nikolaisen also is pursuing a Ph.D. in educational leadership and administration with a concentration in higher education.