Nicole Kraus

Nicole KrausNicole Kraus is catching up with her dream.

After finishing high school in two years, Nikki was on track to study law when she and her high school-sweetheart husband started their family. They started with one childand then added four more. So she shelved her plans, focused on the family and poured herself into raising their kids. Along the way, she taught herself how to take professional photographs and opened a thriving studio business, testament to her pluck and can-do spirit. "I learned strong skills in business management, customer service and budgeting," she explains of her desire to go after things. But the dream of law school never faded, and shaping her kids' future has inspired her even more.

"This calling has been burning in my heart for quite a while and I am so excited to be on this journey," says Nikki. "I have dreamt of this occupation since I was a child."

Having first enrolled at COCC in 1999, Nikki's now back on track. "I had a wonderful experience here and it made perfect sense to come back as I relaunched my college career," she says. Now completing her Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) degree with a pre-law focus, she's been accepted into Willamette University where she plans to earn a bachelor's degree in political science before turning her sights on law school.

Nikki received the Donald and Heidi Castleman Scholarship, and is incredibly appreciative of the difference this has made as she navigates forward. "Your support is changing my life and my future," she shares. "I am so grateful."

She acknowledges that the next six or so years will be extra busy, but her will is unshaken. "My life experiences have equipped me with focus, wisdom and strength," she says. "I am excited and ready for this journey!"