April 20, 2018

Nikki Walts: Big Ten Medal of Honor Finalist

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After being an outstanding student-athlete at the Ohio State University for the last four years what has been the most rewarding experience or opportunity during your time here? 

My most rewarding opportunity during my time here was going to Ecuador on my Bucks Go International service trip. Being able to travel to a different country with other student-athletes was something I never imagined I would do. Our group became very close on the first day which allowed us to really embrace the trip. It was an eye-opening experience seeing how happy each child was when they received a brand new pair of shoes. Interacting with the local children and families after distributing the shoes at each location was my favorite part of the trip. They showed us local traditions, dances, and dishes in return for our donations.

What makes you a good candidate for this award? Is there anyone in particular you would like to thank for helping you during your time at Ohio State?

I think my involvement and commitment to Ohio State and the Columbus community makes me a good candidate for this award. I believe I really made the most out of my four years here by engaging in many of the programs that were offered and trying my best to give back to the community. There are numerous people I would like to thank for helping me, but I would like to thank my coach in particular. Ever since I was a freshman, she would encourage me to push my boundaries and to not shy away from the power of my voice. She has taught me to be a strong woman and leader which has inspired me to accomplish everything that I have.

In your opinion what does it mean to be a student-athlete, especially at a university like Ohio State?

Being a student-athlete at The Ohio State University is all about The People. The Tradition. The Excellence. It is an honor to compete in the Scarlet and Gray representing a school and athletic department that is well respected and highly sought after around the country. I knew right away as I stepped on this campus for my visit that this is where I needed to be in order to reach my full potential as a student-athlete. The facilities and programs that are available to us set me up for success in and out of the classroom. I am forever grateful to have played on the Women’s Soccer team and compete for this university.

After graduation how do you plan to take what you have learned as a student-athlete into the business world/professional athletic endeavors?

There are many things that I have learned as a student-athlete that I can utilize in the business world. A few of the skillsets that I will really emphasize in my future career path are my leadership capabilities, time management, and my ability to work well with a large group of people. There have been different levels and attributes of leadership I have developed through my four years as a student-athlete that I believe have prepared me for future endeavors. Some of these included: communication skills, resolving and overcoming conflict, strategic thinking, and motivating others. Being able to manage my school work while competing in my sport and participating in extracurricular activities will prepare me for the responsibilities assigned to me. This has taught me the importance of staying on schedule in order to achieve and utilize my greatest abilities. Lastly, being on a team with roughly 30 teammates and being involved and working with other large groups has given me the confidence and ability to lead while also being a great follower. I am able voice my opinions in an appropriate manner while supporting and executing other people’s ideas.