De Nichols is a designer, social entrepreneur, and keynote lecturer who mobilizes young creative change makers to address issues within the built environment through the production of interactive experiences, digital media, and social initiatives.
De is currently a Loeb Fellow of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and she serves as Principal of Design & Social Practice at Civic Creatives, a design and strategy collective she founded in 2015 to help cities more boldly develop creative solutions for the civic and social challenges residents face. As a national keynote presenter and lecturer, De champions the power of design and storytelling to inspire and equip audiences to spark creative social change across their communities.
De extends the impact of her design practice through her work as a visual artist, writer, and cultural producer. She is the visioning artist of the Mirror Casket (2014), a sculpture and performance created as protest art during the 2014 Ferguson uprising, which was collected by the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum for African-American History and Culture in 2016. Her initiatives such as FoodSpark, United Story (2015), and Sticky Note to Self utilize art, media, and public disruption to challenge audiences in the address of cultural issues facing women, youth, and people of color.
Through her leadership with these and other works, Nichols has been deemed a national Ideas that Matter recipient, a two-time Clinton Global Initiative innovator, and a St. Louis Visionary for her community impact. She was additionally named a 2017 Citizen Artist Fellow of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and 2018 Artist Fellow with the Regional Arts Commission in St. Louis, MO.
As a national keynote presenter and lecturer, De harnesses the creative power of design and storytelling to inspire and equip audiences to spark creative social change across their communities. Within her community, De leads as the youngest member of the Board of Directors for Forward through Ferguson, a non-profit developed to hold the St. Louis region accountable to racial equity following the 2014 murder of Michael Brown. She previously chaired the Board of Directors for Creative Reaction Lab, which educates and equips Black and Latinx youth to foster design-based approaches to racial issues within schools and neighborhoods across the United States.
Nichols is both a lecturer and alum of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, where she specialized in communication design, social entrepreneurship, and socio-economic development. She is a John B. Ervin Scholar, Brown Scholar, and Enterprise-Rent-a-Car Scholar. Her efforts have been supported by the Clinton Global Initiative, Women’s Caucus for Art, Gephardt Institute for Public Service, Ideas that Matters, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, StartingBloc Fellowship for Social Innovation, Points of Light Civic Accelerator, Microsoft YouthSpark, and AshokaU Changemakers.