Sophomore Nicole Deweyert has a story similar to many other Comets. The promise to continue playing the sport she loves paired with a welcoming community made The University of Olivet the perfect fit for her. Even with high expectations, the people she has met and the relationships she is building have far exceeded Nicole’s dream of what her college journey could be.
Under Par, Over Expectations
Nicole hails from Dorchester, Ontario and originally planned to attend college in Canada. Just as she was narrowing down her top pick among four universities in her native country, Nicole received an invite to visit OC from head men’s and women’s golf coach Bill Maas. Fast forward two years and Nicole says Coach Maas is her father figure on campus.
“My whole college plan flipped when I visited The University of Olivet,” Nicole explained. “The campus was beautiful and the people were so welcoming, especially Coach Maas. He might have a tough exterior, but I could tell right away how caring and compassionate he is. Sometimes I get homesick because it’s not always possible for me to go home, but Coach Maas is like a father figure for the whole golf team, and that really helps.”
For Nicole, golf was a passion she discovered in high school, beginning to compete around the ninth grade and officially joining the school’s team as a junior. On top of practices, she took lessons three times a week to take her game to the next level. Golf came into Nicole’s life after she spent 14 years as a competitive figure skater, and the relaxing, social atmosphere on the course was enough to gain her love for good.
In March, the golf team traveled to Georgia to compete at the Jekyll Island Women’s Collegiate Tournament and will be back in action at the Washington University Spring Invitational on April 7 in St. Louis, Missouri. During the fall season, Nicole earned medalist honors to lead the team to first place at the Trine University Kick-Off Classic, and is looking forward to continuing the hard work and success this spring.
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to perform at the standard I have set for myself,” Nicole said. “I’ve been pushing myself to get back to that level and have been focusing on the things I need to work on, rather than the things I want to work on. Last fall, it was incredible to see my improvements in scores and how I handle pressure, and my teammates and coach played a big role in that. They are amazing people who encourage me in all aspects, and we have a lot of fun too.” Nicole added that she doesn’t mind embarrassing her teammates by sharing their post-game ritual – singing along to Disney music on the ride home, especially “Part of Your World” from “The Little Mermaid.”
In addition to her support system through the golf team, Nicole has developed an all-encompassing relationship with KayDee Perry, assistant professor of health and human performance, as mentor, role model and best friend. Originally, Nicole connected with her via email for scheduling help prior to her freshman year, but she’ll never forget the first time Professor Perry bounded up to her at New Student Orientation and pulled her in for a hug.
“On my Orientation day, I remember speaking with Coach Maas when a stranger was suddenly hugging me. It wasn’t until Professor Perry introduced herself to my dad that it clicked who she was, but she knew me and has always shown how much she cares about me,” Nicole exclaimed. “Professor Perry is just an amazing person! Her bubbly and contagious personality, the way she is always there for her students, and her power to inspire others has really brought out a light in me. She’s helped shape me into the adult I’ve become, and I really appreciate that. Professor Perry pushes her students to focus on goals and she helps me believe that I can be successful – I truly aspire to be like her one day.”
Nicole says she has been so affected by Professor Perry that her ultimate career goal is to become a health and human performance professor as well. It’s the perfect combination of her passion for athletics, desire to build relationships with others, and love of the subject matter and her major, exercise science. She’s even serving as Professor Perry’s teaching assistant this semester to soak up every teaching moment and growth opportunity she can.
“Nicole is a fixer, and she finds opportunities to help others be the best versions of themselves,” Professor Perry explained. “Nicole is thoughtful in her work and continuously seeks excellence in everything she does. She is courageous and confident, yet approachable and a genuine team player. Daily, she reveals the care and concern she has for others, the eagerness she has to make the world a better place, and willingness to go beyond what is expected. I am thankful for Nicole’s spirit and the lasting impact she will have on my life.”
Down the Fairway
While Nicole focuses on perfecting her swing and determining exactly what she wants from her future career, she also has many other goals as a Comet. Becoming a leader and role model on campus is one of them, and Nicole recently graduated from the first cohort of the The University of Olivet ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Institute, dedicated to helping female students develop leadership skills through a curriculum proven worldwide. In addition, Nicole hopes to become a supporter to as many of her connections as she can and is looking forward to learning more about herself.
“The biggest thing I have learned from college so far is to never give up and always keep reaching for your goals,” Nicole emphasized. “If you have the right mindset and attitude, you will accomplish anything.”
Learn more about The University of Olivet, the Health and Human Performance Department, and opportunities for student-athletes by scheduling a campus visit or attending an upcoming admissions event. Contact the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or email@example.com for more information.