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Scholar Spotlight: Nicole Nantz

March 25, 2024

It’s not every day that a basic writing assignment in a 5th grade classroom becomes a defining moment in a child’s life but that’s exactly what occurred for Chatfield Scholar Nicole Nantz. The assignment was simple: write a story. Nicole’s response to that assignment was complex and indicative of her giftedness and future career aspirations.

“The other students just wrote words on white paper, but I remember making a book, complete with a cover and pictures,” she laughed. “As I read it to the class, I was acting it out and giving voices to the characters. When I looked up from the page, I noticed that the other students were focused on what was happening and anticipating what was going to happen next. At that moment, I realized that I wanted to make things and tell stories, so I started down a pathway to figure out ways to tell my stories.”

Nicole described growing up in a working-class family with a mom and an aunt who were first generation college students, “My mom was in college when she had me and I remember being four years-old and watching her graduate from Mississippi Stage with a business degree,” Nicole said.

Later, when her mom decided to pivot to a career in education, Nicole witnessed her mom working hard again to put herself through school. “She’s my inspiration,” Nicole reflected, noting that like her mom she is working two jobs to support herself and pay for college herself.

After high school, Nicole’s path led her to spend a year at the Cincinnati Art Academy and then, in August of 2023, she enrolled in Xavier University’s Digital Innovation, Film, and Television (DIFT) program.

“I love that I am learning about every aspect of filming from pre-production and actual filming through post-production from professors who have experience working in the in the industry,” Nicole said.

Nicole has her sights set on a career in the film industry, possibly in animation, and hopes to work as a story boarder, editor, or producer within five years of graduation. For now, she is determined not to let the pressure of school and rising costs of education get in her way.

In addition to being paired with a Chatfield mentor who will offer guidance and support, Nicole was recently named the Sittenfeld Family Scholar and received the Chemed, Sue Hamann, Bob and Ester Freking, and Helen and Francis McNamara Scholarships from The Chatfield Edge.

“The scholarships make getting my degree more of a possibility. It takes a lot of pressure off my back and has made this semester ten times better,” Nicole commented. In addition to what she earns from working two jobs and other financial aid she receives, Nicole said that the financial support from The Chatfield Edge “fills the gap and allows me to pay for additional college expenses like parking, fees, and extra fees for equipment necessary for my major.”

On April 13, 2024, The Chatfield Edge will gather for its annual “Celebrating Our Scholars” brunch to honor the educational endeavors of students like Nicole and raise money to support them. Learn more about how you can be part of this event or make a financial contribution at