Why did you decide to attend UW-Parkside?

I grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I was a first-generation college graduate. My Dad was a Brass worker and my Mom a hairdresser. UW-Parkside allowed me to attend college, live at home and work, while still participating in extra-curricular activities. My attendance was strictly dependent on the financial aid resources offered through UW-Parkside.  

What activities were you involved in at UW-Parkside?

  • PSGA Parkside Student Government Association as a Student Senator and then as Vice-President for 2 terms. 
  • I was active in the Pre-Med club. (No Pre-Dent club at the time, but they begrudgingly let the pre-dents in 😊) 
  • Work Study program 

How did your UW-Parkside experience impact your professional or personal life?

Commuting to school and working while attending school in addition to my extracurricular activities taught me that busy women get more done and have more fun. I cannot imagine a better environment for me to have been in. The size of the school was perfect for me, the challenging curriculum and outstanding faculty paved my way to Dental School. My Dad died suddenly during my Junior year at Parkside. I found that school provided me with the personal support that I needed while my home responsibilities increased.

What has been one of the top highlights of your career?

I was blessed to have had a wonderful husband and children while having a long and successful career serving my dental patients and my profession. Since my retirement last year, I have found my new purpose. Mentoring young Dentists with a particular focus on Women in Dentistry as well as writing and teaching. These activities have created incredible opportunities to give back. 

Who has had the biggest influence on your life or your career and why?

Without sounding too corny, I have to say that my biggest cheerleader has been my husband, Ed. He has always encouraged me to pursue all that I wanted to achieve while helping to support our home and family. Of course, there have been many professional mentors as well. Specifically, Women who have achieved personal as well as their professional goals have always been my heroes. When I started in dentistry, there were very few women. I think that it was this challenge that helped me to create the framework upon which I have lived my life. 

Tell us about your family.
We have 4 children

  • 2 Sons 
    • Corey (Kami) who is an Investment Banker and an Officer in the Navy Reserves - 3 grandsons Jackson, Walker and Nash 
    • Kyle (Jess) who is a Theater Arts Teacher - one granddaughter Olivia Blue 
  • Twin Daughters 
    • Kendal who is a Senior Enterprise Risk Associate with Goldman Sachs 
    • Katie who is Social Media and Influencer Manager for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers 

What are your favorite hobbies?

Traveling the world and spending time with my family.

What is something that would surprise us about you?

I enjoy long distance target shooting. 

What advice do you have for current UW-Parkside Students?

Work really hard on your Academics but balance it with on campus extracurricular activities. This is an excellent training ground for future leaders and their endeavors.

Dr. Kathleen Nichols is not only a highly accomplished dentist but also a tireless advocate for advancing women in dentistry. With her unwavering commitment to excellence and leadership, Dr. Nichols has become a trailblazer in breaking barriers and empowering women within the dental profession. 

As an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin Parkside, where she earned her B.S. in Biology and Chemistry, Dr. Nichols cherishes the foundational principles of resilience, compassion, and community engagement fostered by her alma mater. These values have been the bedrock of her endeavors, propelling her advocacy for women in dentistry and her unwavering dedication to providing quality dental care to underserved communities. 

Dr. Nichols' impact extends far beyond the dentist's chair. She has dedicated herself to mentoring and supporting women in dentistry, providing guidance and resources to help them succeed in a historically male-dominated field. Additionally, Dr. Nichols is deeply committed to serving underserved communities, volunteering her expertise through programs like Donated Dental Services and Texas Mission of Mercy. Her advocacy for ethical standards in dental care has set a high bar for professionalism and integrity in the field. 

Caucasian female with wavy hair and thick black rimmed glasses
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