Nikki's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Why Not Us

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Flagstaff, AZ

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Why Not Us

NIKKI COOLEY

Co-Executive Director
Fifth World Discoveries

“If you've ever been on white water in a rapid, there's only one way through: down. I've broken my oar, I've flipped my boat--but I've made it out OK. That's my analogy for life.”

INTERESTS:

Action Sports Environment & Nature

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Choices Culture Family Struggle Transitions Community Exploration Opportunity Individualism Support & Encouragement Conflict Failure Perseverance

FOUNDATION:

Teaching / Mentoring

TAGS:

bullying, college, colorado-river-guide, community, experience, first generation, go for it, grand canyon, high school, jobs, license, navajo, Navajo reservation, opportunity, possibilities, racism, rapids, stereotype, success, women

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Grew up with her grandparents on a Navajo reservation with no running water or electricity.
  • Her move to high school was hard; she was bullied and her grades suffered until she found softball.
  • Found counselors who encouraged her to push herself and give college a try, just for a year.
  • She finished her bachelor's and master's degrees in forestry at Northern Arizona University.
  • Has worked all kinds of jobs, from sheep herder to McDonald's to Colorado River guide.
  • Her first time rafting was also her first time on a boat and her first time in the Grand Canyon.
  • She's now the first Navajo woman to get a Colorado River guide license.
  • Says: Push yourself and listen to the people who tell you you're going to do great things.

Send us your feedback

(all fields are required)