Nicole Houdek just returned to Union after graduating in 2004 with a degree in social work. Except now, she isn’t a student. She has become one of the Academic Administration’s pool of office managers, working to help different departments on campus maintain their accreditation. “I’m excited,” she said. “I think it will be a good experience and hopefully it will open future opportunities for me.”
Among other places, Houdek previously worked for Child Protective Services for the state of Nebraska as a social worker—she had a passion for helping people, especially children. “I made a difference. It was hard, but rewarding at the same time,” she said. “I loved getting to help kids—helping those who couldn’t help themselves.”
Houdek is a mother of two children, who she cares for and strives to educate when she’s not working part time at Union. “Initially my calling was to help those in our community, and I still enjoy that, but my calling right now is to be my son’s mother and advocate,” she said. Houdek homeschools her son, who has special needs, and she enjoys going home to spend time with him and his little sister. The Houdeks enjoy hiking and camping, exploring different places around Nebraska. They have a bunch of pets, most notably their thirty or more chickens. “Instead of a crazy cat lady, I’m a crazy chicken lady,” Houdek laughed.
Although Houdek has just begun her role at Union, she’s happy. “Everybody’s been extremely nice and helpful. I’m glad to be in a healthy Christian environment, and around others who love God and that love shows in how they treat you,” she said. “I’m excited for this opportunity and I’m excited to get to work with a variety of people, and help in whatever manner I can.”
by Maria Kercher, senior communication major