Editor's Note — This is part of a Women’s History Month series featuring women who make a positive impact on the campus community through their work as office/service employees. The Women of Service series is organized by the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women. Stories will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Nebraska Today through March 30.
If the College of Journalism and Mass Communication were a train, Nebraska’s Nicole Blackstock would be its engineer — working quietly behind scenes to keep the cars rolling smoothly down the track.
As assistant to the dean, Blackstock is responsible for organizing schedules, managing the dean’s appointments and collegewide meetings and events. And, as she nears her 10th year with the college, having held various positions, she’s become the go-to for Huskers seeking details about how to best navigate university systems and procedures.
"Our events tend to have lots of moving parts, and as is too often the case, the efforts of talented organizers like Nicole tend to go unobserved because everything runs like clockwork,” said Rick Alloway, associate professor of broadcasting and Blackstock’s nominator for the Women’s History Month series. “She is a tireless worker with an unfailingly cheerful attitude and a knack for organization and details.
Nicole makes the college (and the rest of us) look good as a result.”
The Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women reached out to get to know Blackstock and learn more about her dedication to students, faculty and staff at Nebraska U. Her interview follows.
What do you look forward to when you come to work?
Our team is very collaborative and I really enjoy working with all of them on events and other projects. I like the events best because they make the college a better place for our students.
What do you count as your greatest accomplishments?
They are probably more visual. I can walk the halls and see the things I’ve done. I’m typically the one called on when the room needs rearranged, reorganized, new furniture ordered, give a fresh look to a space, or student awards added to the display case. Knowing that a space is easier to access, use, or it celebrate accomplishments, gives me a sense of pride.
What is your favorite on-campus memory?
I really enjoy our graduation parties at the college and assisting with the graduation ceremonies as a marshall. It's so fun to see the students as they achieve this pinnacle moment in their lives.
Why do you enjoy serving as a marshall?
It’s a voluntary role at the university. And, it’s typically an early morning start — but it goes so fast and is incredibly fun at the same time. There is always a special memory at each ceremony that makes that event stand out more than the last.
It was incredible being at the first ceremony held in Memorial Stadium, being able to support a graduate hired as a student worker their freshman year, giving them a high-five as they walked off the stage with a diploma in hand.
The first time I worked a ceremony, it was stressful, making sure that I handed the correct diploma to Chancellor (Ronnie) Green. But it was worth it seeing the happiness on their faces. I also love getting to hear about plans after graduation.
What is your life like outside of work?
My husband and I have two great kids. Our daughter is a junior in high school and our son is an eighth grader. We enjoy kayaking, being outdoors and playing with our two cats, Bennett and Kitt.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
My daughter and I started an Instagram account in January in which we rate fried cheese dishes (Mozzarella sticks, cheese curds, etc.).
My daughter and I took a trip to Wisconsin this past summer, and of course had to have cheese curds while there. It randomly came to me one day, and I texted her about it. She loved the idea and we decided to start in January.
We had our first “business meeting” over the holiday break to work on our rating system and to create a list of local places to visit. We are excited to take it on the road and include other places this summer.
We just enjoy all things cheese, especially those covered in breading that can be dipped into a sauce — what’s not to like? The end goal is to be sponsored and travel to do reviews. (Said with a bit of sarcasm, but how cool would that be?) It’s been a fun project to do with my daughter. She designs the posts, and we write the captions together.