Employment: I worked five years at Montezuma High School teaching English and coaching three sports. Currently, I am an 8th grade Bible teacher at Des Moines Christian Schools.
Fun Facts: I like to challenge myself every year to learn something completely new – last year was how to counter hacking attacks on computers (I was inspired after Japanese hackers destroyed my previous website) and this year is learning Swahili (so I can better communicate in Tanzania where I do mission work).
My top five Central College moments:
1) Watching Professor Arthur Johnson cut my 30-page short story into 2 pages with his infamous red pen.
2) Nature walks with Professor Mary Stark.
3) 2009 undefeated regular season in football.
4) Mission trips with Campus Ministries to New Orleans and Reynosa, Mexico.
5) Pietenpol Band jam sessions with lead guitarist Dr. Reid Imerman ’12.
My life after Central:
Near the end of my senior year, I began a speaking and writing side venture as I finished out my student teaching at Montezuma High School. I had majored in English more for the dream of becoming a published author than for being an English teacher. I started by preaching in churches and youth groups while blogging on my website (corynikkel.com) and putting out free e-books. I continued to teach English at Montezuma during this endeavor, helping them restructure their writing curriculum, becoming a mentor teacher, and coaching various levels of football and taking on the varsity girl’s basketball job. I also worked with Vital Men’s Ministry for three years before founding my own non-profit in 2016 called HeartStir Ministries (heartstir.com), where our focus is to place Millennials into mission while awakening their identity, fueling their passions, and helping them live out their God-designed purpose. We just launched our first two mission trips to Tanzania this summer and are looking forward to many more! I’ve been fortunate to be able to grow my speaking and writing platform, which led me this spring to a Midwest speaking tour of colleges, high schools, church retreats, and young adult conferences. Feeling myself spread too thin, I opted to leave Montezuma Schools and my coaching responsibilities to free up time to invest in speaking and writing. This next year I’ll be working to secure my first book deal, starting a new role teaching Bible at Des Moines Christian Schools, and prepping for a wedding.