Member Spotlight: Nicole Norfles


“It is powerful to put faces with stories to see and say, I know her story.”

These are the words of Nicole Norfles, Black African American; consummate professional; self-described super power-bearing goddess; and free woman living and working in the DC Metro Area. We are grateful to have Nicole in our corner as a BlackFemaleProject member, a #100SistersStrong sustaining donor, and an inaugural story collection contributor. (Keep your eyes out for Nicole’s story release coming soon!)

In sharing why BlackFemaleProject matters to her, Nicole sheds light on the power and importance of storytelling, able to heal the storyteller, educate the listener, and heal the collective. “In its recounting through story the continued depths of racism and prejudice that Black women experience, as well as the model of strength Black women exhibit to continue to work productively in negative environments,” she says, “BlackFemaleProject reaffirms my personal sense of self-confidence.” We are humbled to be able to restore such integral and valuable feelings in brilliant Black women like Nicole.

Processing and sharing her own story provided Nicole with  some of the healing she’s experienced relative to the toll oppression has taken on her journey. On this topic, she says, “When dealing with racism, sexism, any type of injustice and bias, it is helpful to give voice to hear and release the pain and confusion.” This experience of catharsis on a personal level is just one of the positive outcomes that results from BlackFemaleProject storytelling, the powers of which extend far beyond the individual. As Nicole recounts, sharing our stories also arms the reader with more information, “so they can avoid or at least temper the pain and confusion they may feel in such a situation.”

It is precisely this dual effect that makes the work of BlackFemaleProject so potent. While the focused intention of healing ourselves through storytelling inevitably results in better educating our communities, it simultaneously gives back to the giver, the storyteller, the Black woman. “It reaffirms my faith in the power of Black females,” Nicole shares. “It reaffirms my unquestionable faith in Black females to change the world.”

We hope you’ll join us on our journey as we change the world, one story and one conversation at a time.

Dr. Nicole Norfles facilitates Council for Opportunity in Education’s (COE) STEM Community of Practice; is co-Principal Investigator on multiple National Science Foundation grants; directs and coordinates multiple U.S. Department of Education grants; and directs COE’s Onboarding Professional Development and TRIO Chicago Collaborative. She previously served as Education Program Officer with the Oprah Winfrey Foundation; Policy Consultant with Casey Family Programs; Special Assistant to the founding President of COE; and Fellow at the Pell Institute. She co-taught a Michigan State University South Africa study abroad course; a Drexel University online leadership course; and George Washington University courses in educational foundations, leadership, and supervision. Dr. Norfles presents at numerous national and international conferences, and serves on multiple boards; she received her doctorate from The George Washington University.