Alumni Spotlight: Nikki Finke
By: Seth Johnson
Note: In celebration of ISBVI’s 175th anniversary, we’re catching up with alumni to learn more about the school’s impact on their life. Nikki’s story is the third in our series of Alumni Spotlights.
Nearly a year after graduating from Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI) as the 2021-22 salutatorian, Nikki Finke is exploring all her options as she looks to find a job that best fits her interests.
One of four students featured in IBCF’s “Nothing About Us Without Us” campaign, Finke will graduate from Bosma Enterprises’ rehabilitation program on May 5 after adding a variety of real-world skills to her toolbelt. As part of Bosma’s manual skills class, for example, Finke learned how to do various things with her hands, like plumbing, woodwork and basket-weaving.
“I made a box. I weaved a basket. I took apart a few things and put them back together, like a sink, a toilet and a doorknob. Next, I think we’re doing drywall,” Finke says of the manual skills course at Bosma.
As part of Bosma’s personal management course, Finke has also discovered a newfound love for cooking. “There are a few recipes I even did blindfolded,” she says. Going forward, Finke says she would like to continue exploring her culinary horizons. In particular, Finke says she’d like to learn more about Asian and Mexican cuisines, as well as baking.
While going through her training at Bosma, Finke has also continued making art. As a matter of fact, she’s recently received a few commissions.
“One of the clients at Bosma actually commissioned me for an album cover that their niece is doing,” Finke says.
When reflecting on her time at ISBVI, Finke pinpoints a pair of teachers who really helped in fully realizing her passions for art and horticulture.
“Mrs. Walsh really helped me cultivate my creative ability,” Finke says. “Mrs. Garvey opened up a hidden passion for plants. I wasn’t into plants before I got to ISBVI, so she kind of opened my eyes to that.”
As she begins to explore employment opportunities, Finke is also grateful for her time in the No Limits Leadership Club and how it’s empowered her in day-to-day life.
“It definitely helped me find my voice, advocate for myself and be self-confident,” Finke says of the No Limits Leadership Club. “Bosma has continued to help with that too.”