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Meet Dr. Nicole Rankine

Walden gave me the ability to be an influencer

Nicole Rankine
Dr. Nicole Rankine
PhD in Public Health
CEO of The COLE Academy of Personal Growth

A passion ignited.

Spending her days as a research microbiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought Dr. Nicole Rankine meaning and purpose. But a volunteer mission assisting physicians at a free clinic in Cape Town, South Africa, sparked the desire for something more: “From day one, I was working directly with community and hearing their stories about HIV—it lit a fire in me.” Back at the lab, she knew that public health was her new passion, but in order to have the impact she wanted on direct services, she would need a doctoral degree.

“Doors open for me as Dr. Nicole Rankine that wouldn’t have when I was just Nicole Rankine. During the doctoral journey, I had to grow and persevere, but it was all worth it—I love where I am right now.”
—Dr. Nicole Rankine

Time is currency.

Nicole looked locally for doctoral programs, but nothing would give her the balance she needed to continue working full time and being an active volunteer. She remembers, “Looking at all the class times during the day, none of the programs seemed like real options.” She was hesitant to pursue a degree online, but that changed when her research revealed that not only was Walden fully accredited, many of her colleagues at the CDC were either faculty or graduates. Looking back, she reflects that an online program actually gave her more time in her community. “Being able to set my own schedule meant I was able to continue with a lot of direct service opportunities,” she says.

Inspiring tomorrow’s leaders.

Life after her PhD has unearthed a new path: a focus on coaching leaders and youth on personal growth and development. It’s another hat she wears on top of being an adjunct professor, an entrepreneur, an international speaker, and a volunteer HIV counselor. She also stays in touch with the people she has met at Walden through her academic residencies. “I met so many people doing amazing things through my Walden experience, and I’m still learning from them today,” she says. In realizing the greatness within herself, Dr. Rankine is now able to help unleash the greatness in others.

Read more of Nicole’s journey.