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Congratulations to Our 2022 Badger of the Year: Nicole Robertson ’96!

Nicole Robertson '96

Recognizing local alumni who have represented the University of Wisconsin–Madison positively through their profession, community service, and volunteer activities, the WAA: Heart of Illinois Chapter is pleased to announce the 2022 Badger of the Year: Nicole Robertson.

Born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Nicole fell in love with UW–Madison during a visit to the campus as a potential transfer student. Nicole achieved a bachelor of science degree in 1996 and found her calling in public health. She earned a master’s degree in public health, with an emphasis in health education and health administration, at Portland State University in 1999.

Upon graduation, Nicole worked at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, WA, as a health educator in the Center for Pediatric Injury Prevention. In 2003, Nicole and her husband, Dan, welcomed the arrival of the first of their three children. Over the next four years, their family grew to a family of five, and Nicole chose to be a stay-at-home mom to her busy young family. It was during these years that she found her passion for volunteerism, community outreach, and civic engagement. She served as a board member and volunteer for numerous organizations including the Ceasefire Foundation, Safe Places Alliance/Mayoral Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, Literacy Center of West Michigan, and the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Program. Nicole had the honor of being a wish-granting volunteer to numerous kids facing life-threatening illnesses and, eventually, an employee of Make-A-Wish Michigan as the corporate and community relations manager.

Nicole currently works for the American Cancer Society (ACS) as senior manager of Cancer Control Strategic Partnerships for Central/Southern Illinois. She leads a team of population health experts to build collaborative partnerships with health care systems, local health departments, federally qualified health centers, and other organizations to implement evidence-based cancer prevention strategies, eliminate cancer disparities, and reduce cancer mortality. Prior to joining ACS, Nicole was a clinical associate faculty member and associate program director at the University of Illinois College of Medicine–Peoria. She directed a special curricular program for medical students that focused on the intersection of health equity and innovation to reduce health disparities for the most under-resourced and vulnerable populations. She maintains a faculty appointment and continues to teach students about social/structural determinants of health and population health approaches to care. She has experience in innovation and human-centered design, interdisciplinary education, and community-academic partnerships.

Nicole also serves as the vice-chair of the Central Illinois Friends Board of Directors and was appointed in 2021 as co-chair of the Health and Human Services Subcommittee of the Peoria City-County Joint Commission on Racial Equity and Justice. She is a member of the Illinois Public Health Association and the American Public Health Association.

Please join us in celebrating Nicole Robertson ’96 as the 2022 WAA: HOI Chapter Badger of the Year and her commitment to living the values of the Wisconsin Idea, during our Founders’ Day celebration on Saturday, May 14.

Do you know any amazing Badger alumni who deserve to be honored by their alma mater? Nominate them for an Alumni Award today!