ASU global health alumna helps make wishes come true
Nicole Waldmann always knew she wanted to give back to her community. The courses and internships she took in the global health program at Arizona State University's School of Human Evolution and Social Change fueled her passion.
Waldmann graduated from ASU in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in global health, and now she helps make critically sick children’s wishes come true. She is the volunteer coordinator for Make-A-Wish Arizona and credits her advisors and her nonprofit internships that led to her dream job.
“I received my first internship with Make-A-Wish Arizona,” Waldmann said, “and I was the wish granting intern in the spring of 2020. From there, it kind of trickled to different nonprofits that I was able to dip and immerse myself into, and that kind of really solidified (that) global health is where I want to be.”
During her time in the global health program at ASU, Waldmann also completed an internship with the American Red Cross, where she worked in the international services department. As an undergraduate student, she wanted to learn more about helping asylum seekers and refugees.
“I specifically worked in the Restoring Family Links Program at the American Red Cross to help reconnect families who had been internationally separated due to armed conflict, disasters, migration and other humanitarian crises,” Waldmann said.
Waldmann says her nonprofit internship experiences are what really prepared her for her current career. She said getting work experience was invaluable, along with the incredible advisors at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change who helped her make connections to the nonprofit world.
She loves working at the Make-A-Wish Foundation and is inspired by the volunteers and their dedication. The national nonprofit organization started in Arizona, with a little boy named Christopher James Greicius, who wanted to be a police officer in 1980.
Waldmann said the Make-A-Wish Arizona chapter in Scottsdale is fondly referred to as the “wish house” by employees.
“Our main mission is to grant wishes for children with critical illnesses,” Waldmann said. “At the end of the day, we are trying to grant as many wishes as possible, and being able to put smiles on so many kids faces — it’s such a warm, amazing feeling.”
Waldmann said they are always looking for volunteers and she encourages people to learn more about the organization's many volunteer opportunities.
“ASU will always have a special place in my heart,” Waldmann said. “I’m so thankful for all the classes I was able to take during my undergrad. Many of the specific classes I had taken were not offered at other colleges. ASU and the School of Human Evolution and Social Change really opened my eyes to so many opportunities in my community, and I’m so thankful I was able to have these wonderful opportunities.”