“Sometimes all you need to do is take one step, even if it’s a very small step, and that points you down the road to something wonderful,” said Nicole Jankowski. “For me, that step was going back to school at age 33 and dedicating my life to using words as a vehicle for my self-expression.”
Nicole draws information from her six children, including two step-children and one who is severely disabled.
“Through some kind of mysterious alchemy, she has turned adversity into a passion for learning, loss into joy and self-knowledge, desperation into compassion for those with no voice,” said Sheryl Pearson, associate professor of English. “She found a voice that is making a difference in the world.”
Nicole is a gifted writer who has been published in University of Michigan-Dearborn’s literary journal Lyceum for five semesters. She won the Creative Non-Fiction second place writing award last year and was one of five poets featured in e-fictions 5 magazine.
“I am doing what makes a difference in the lives of the people around me: admitting difficult truths, working hard at school and in life to be a model for (and to take care of) my children, and writing about all of it—the beautiful and heartbreaking—to remind others that no one is ever alone.”
Nicole does this by writing her own personal blog that has a strong following, averaging more than 5,000 views a month. She also contributes to other sites on autism, where one of her latest essays had over 100,000 views. She is quickly gaining a national audience.
In addition to those accomplishments, she has maintained a 3.75 GPA and is completing an independent study with Sheryl Pearson on novels about non-neurotypical protagonists, characters with autism, Asberger’s and Tourette’s.
As for her future, Nicole just wants to continue writing.
“Whatever I end up doing, I want to write words that are true and meaningful.”