Nicola is an educator, researcher, and practitioner who believes that true engagement involves the establishment of culture-centered communicative platforms.
She served as an Assistant Teaching Professor of Interdisciplinary and Global Studies and Global Health at Worcester Polytechnic Institute for four years, directing the Cape Town Project Center as part of WPI’s Global Programs. Before joining WPI, she completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship with the University of Virginia, Center for Global Health where she examined citizen-state dynamics to secure water access. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut where she researched knowledge circulation as an HIV prevention technology among youth in urban and rural Lesotho.
Prior to pursuing her advanced degrees, Nicola served as a public health practitioner, working on HIV prevention initiatives in Lesotho, for the City of Boston, and at the Massachusetts State Laboratory. Nicola blends her theoretical lens as a medical anthropologist with her practitioner sensibilities to question notions of expertise within global health governance structures and the participation of citizens in the creation of global and local policies. Her research has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Fulbright IIE, the Dean Ross McKinnon Endowment, and the University of Connecticut.
Nicola utilizes the principle of critical consciousness in her teaching. She teaches at the university level, engaging with students both inside and outside the classroom. Her active teaching style implores students to engage critically with information, rather than simply memorizing or applying the perspectives of others. She has advised student research projects in the Vhembe District of northern South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa, and Thessaloniki, Greece. She has been contracted by the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and UMASS-Medical School to teach courses in Global Health and HIV and Qualitative Research Methods, respectively.
This year Nicola celebrates a full decade of Jazzercise instructing and five years as owner of the Westborough Jazzercise studio. As with all things in her life, she takes this role very seriously and is dedicated to using her position to motivate others to live a healthy, active, and balanced lifestyle. She has built a supportive Jazzercise community that routinely participates in local and global charity events.
Born in South Africa, with teenage years spent in Colorado, she currently lives in Worcester, MA, with her husband and two silly cats, Watson and Money-Penny.