Since graduating from St. Cloud State University in 2017, Chelsea Nooker has been able to experience an opportunity she never dreamed she would be faced with.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from St. Cloud State, Nooker immediately jumped into her profession. Not in the United States like many would have expected, but rather over 6,000 miles away from the University where she earned her degree.
Nooker is currently in her second year of teaching health and physical education at the American International School in Abuja, Nigeria.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s amazing. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and remind myself Im in Nigeria and this is what I’m doing,” Nooker said. “I’m getting used to the Nigerian culture and my first year was really amazing. The people I work with are from all over the world and it’s unreal the connections you make. In my second year, I’m excited and more confident in what I’m doing and going out to different places.”
Nooker, who teaches and coaches at the school which consists of about 500 students spanning from kindergarten to 12th graders, described being over in Nigeria as a life-changing experience following her time as a Husky.
“This has been one of the best experiences of my life and I would recommend it to anyone that would want to try this,” Nooker said. “Being around so many different cultures and seeing what everyone and the world has to offer. It’s a different culture, but it’s been really special.”
From St. Cloud to Nigeria
Nooker never expected and anticipated her journey beyond her collegiate career to take her outside of the country and around the world.
The process of finding out this career avenue would be of interest to her started when she talked with one of her academic advisers at St. Cloud State to discuss what she wanted to do in her future.
“I talked with (Director of Student Teaching Field Experience) Kathryn Young in the education department and she brought up that there was an international teaching conference that I should think about attending,” Nooker recalled. “She said a couple of students in the past have gone through this and I always had that in the back of my mind.”
“For me to do this, St. Cloud State shaped me into the type of person that would do this kind of thing. I loved my time at St. Cloud State.
I’m a Husky for life.” – Chelsea Nooker ’17
After looking into the idea some more, Nooker ended up attending the annual Overseas Recruiting Fair at the University of Northern Iowa before deciding this was something she would like to explore following her time in St. Cloud.
“You go to the conference and interview with all these schools that are there,” Nooker said. “The school does everything for you after you sign a contract. I signed a two-year contract and am in my second year right now.”
Overall, the experience in Nigeria has been one that Nooker has enjoyed thus far. Even if it wasn’t originally an opportunity she expected to make once she left St. Cloud State.
“Giving back to the kids here, it’s been a lot of fun,” she said. “It really has been unbelievable.”
A Husky for Life
Growing up in nearby Green Bay, Wisconsin, Nooker was initially drawn to St. Cloud State in 2013 with something other than strictly academics on her mind.
A graduate of Bay Port High School, Nooker was a standout basketball player for the Pirates. That led her to wanting to attend St. Cloud State to take part in the women’s basketball program while she pursued her degree.
“Being a part of the basketball program was phenomenal. I made some of the best friends out of it. Just the community at St. Cloud State, it’s a great atmosphere,” she said. “I have to thank SCSU and coach (Lori) Fish and coach Jess (Hartmann), they helped me get here and become the person that I am today.
“The professors pushed us and I was able to gain so many great friends out of that whole experience. Being a part of the student body was special, it was just a really cool experience.”
When she has time to look back and reflect on her four-year career as a Husky, Nooker is grateful for the experiences she had at the University and it ultimately leading her to her current opportunity teaching and coaching across the globe.
“Just keep an open mind, you never know what is going to happen. Don’t be afraid to take risks, because it can lead to something spectacular,” she said. “St. Cloud State, it helped shape me to who I am as a person. For me to do this, St. Cloud State shaped me into the type of person that would do this kind of thing.
“I loved my time at St. Cloud State. I’m a Husky for life.”