Preparing the Pitch
Nicole Adams ’18 helps students connect with corporate partners
by Eveline Chao

Nicole Adams ’18 developed a passion for education while working for Teach for America in New Jersey. But when summer break arrived, she wanted to keep working. That’s when she stumbled upon a nonprofit called SuitUp, which runs educational competitions to connect corporations with middle and high schools in low-income communities across the country. She fell in love with the mission and, in just a few months, rose from intern to program manager. “I run the whole competition,” Adams explains.

Nicole Adams ’18
Photo: Courtesy of UBS
Nicole Adams ’18 (left) at a SuitUp competition with middle school students from the Team Walker summer program at UBS offices in Weehawken, N.J.

Her favorite is the Nike competition in which students pretend they’re the CEO and develop new products for the target market of their choosing. In small groups, volunteers from the company teach students about product development, before each group creates a product and five-minute pitch they present to company execs.

Afterwards, Adams compiles an impact report to “show our volunteers from the corporate partner that they made a real difference. A student came in and walked away knowing they want to major in marketing or accounting or business. Or all these crazy terms they didn’t know before, like CEO or CFO, actually mean something to them now.”

At Bucknell, Adams was president of Be, an on-campus fashion magazine, leading a team of 20 students. She credits that experience with preparing her for the team environment at SuitUp. The art history major, who minored in international relations, also believes her “fantastic education in the art department taught me a lot about how to write and create content.”

Adams is committed to what she calls “work that serves education equity. I think that’s so important in the U.S. right now, and no matter where my path leads me, I just want to help support that ultimate mission.”