Nicole Watlington served as Miss North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (NCA&TSU) during 2000-2001. In 2001, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. During her tenure as an undergraduate, she was very active on campus. In the role of Miss NCA&T, she developed TACT (Teaching Alternatives to the Children of Tomorrow), a program for college students to mentor elementary students in the community. In addition, she led the charge for students to take a stand against domestic violence by organizing the “Take Back the Night” march across campus. Immediately after graduation, continuing her education was a goal. She completed the Master of Science degree in Adult Education in 2003 at NCA&T. She later worked in non-profit organizations in Washington, DC and Charlotte, NC. She returned to her alma mater as a professional development training specialist. In 2014, earned a Master of Science degree in Counseling. Currently, Nicole is a school counselor with the Guilford County School System. As a National Certified Counselor and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, she founded Rising Phoenix Counseling and Consulting Services in 2017. A motivational speaker who seeks to break the stigma of mental health illness in the African American community, Nicole is also committed to empowering individuals and families to overcome difficulties and to moving forward and living their best lives with purpose. Among many proud moments in her life, the most special one is being mother to two wonderful children, Aiden and Taylor.