Dr. Nichol’s research focuses on improving science and engineering teaching and increasing the representation of women and minorities in the STEM fields. She directs programs that focus on providing long-term, inquiry based professional development for K-12 teachers and develops summer academies, internships and mentoring programs to engage Houston students in STEM fields. The Rice Office of STEM Engagement (R-STEM) provides teacher professional development to elementary and secondary teachers in science and math content and pedagogy, while also supporting the broader impacts of Rice University research. She works with faculty across the university to develop ways to connect with the greater Houston Community and supports the educational efforts of large multi-institutional research centers.
Dr. Nichol joined Rice University in 2002, where she has developed and taught courses in the Department of Bioengineering including Numerical Methods, Pharmaceutical Engineering, Systems Physiology, Biomaterials and Advances in BioNanotechnology and has lead Rice STEM outreach programs since 2007. Prior to joining Rice University, she worked at Boehringer Ingelheim on innovative drug delivery systems and she was an Assistant Professor in Diagnostic Radiology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she conducted research on polymeric gene therapy systems. Dr. Nichol received her B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and her doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin where she studied and developed new polymeric membrane materials, and was a postdoctoral fellow in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin.