Nikki Wilkes

MA in Disability Studies / Advanced Certificate in Disability Services in Higher Education

Class of 2002 and 2023

Nikki Wilkes
"I returned to CUNY SPS to complete the Advance Certificate in Disability Services in Higher Education, and I have not regretted it. I am now working in my desired field as a disability access coordinator."

What were some of the most defining aspects of your time at CUNY SPS?                           

I enjoyed working with a group of people who were seasoned employees in their respective fields while others, like me, were new to this discipline.  With my corporate background, I was able to bring different opinions, insights, and experiences to the discussions.

What is the best piece of advice, or most important thing you learned at CUNY SPS?

I learned it is never too late to follow your passion in life.

Who influenced you the most? Please feel free to include anyone from the CUNY SPS community including faculty, staff, or classmates.

As an undergraduate, I had Dr. Bates as a professor and she loved telling funny stories about a facility where she worked. Besides being almost on the unbelievable side, I thought these anecdotes were so intriguing. When she developed the Disability Services in Higher Education program, I saw it as a sign for me to continue my graduate studies in this field. After graduation, while trying to decide where I would work, I had the most encouraging conversations with my advisor, Tamara Colon, and a classmate, Jaclyn.

How has your CUNY SPS influenced your current job, and your career overall?

After graduating with my MA in Disability Studies and not yet working in this field, I felt like I needed more. I returned to CUNY SPS to complete the Advanced Certificate in Disability Services in Higher Education, and I have not regretted it. I am now working in my desired field as a disability access coordinator.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

I love being able to help people. However, I especially enjoy working with young adults who demand equality through reasonable accommodations and who advocate for what they want.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I do enjoy working in a disability resource office. I hope to continue to grow and mature.  As I did in my corporate role, I am looking forward to learning as much as possible so I can be the best at my job. 


  • What show/s are you currently watching? I am currently watching an Oprah series on HULU called Black Cake. It is so relevant and interesting to me as an immigrant. It looks at the life of an immigrant woman through the stories that she did not tell her children when she was alive.
  • What is your favorite meal? I love food especially if I don’t have to cook it  -  I am a foodie, so mostly everything. But if I had to pick, I might say tandoori chicken.
  • What is your favorite line in a movie? “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets their wings.” This is from my all-time movie – It's a Wonderful Life – the perfect time of the year to watch it!
  • Favorite or most recent book you read?  I read a lot for my book club, but one of my most memorable books is My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. It is supposed to be a movie soon. I am looking forward to seeing it.
  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, none, all?   You can find me on LinkedIn @ I am also on other social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, where I use my small business profile Shea the Love Body Butter – instagram/sheathelovebodybutter
  • List 3 things you would bring to a deserted island.   
    • A Kindle loaded with books – but if there isn’t electricity I would choose the bible – so many stories to read.
    • A hammer – it can help build my house and open fruit like coconuts. Coconuts can be eaten, the water hydrates; the shell can be used as a pot or utensil and the oil can be used on my skin.
    • If a person, my mother (I know my son would roll his eyes when he sees this)

Read more about Master of Arts in Disability Studies, Advanced Certificate in Disability Services in Higher Education