2024 Tillman Scholar

Nicole Fridling-Cook

Military Spouse
University of Miami
PhD, Clinical Psychology

“I see the world through a unique lens through which I will develop precise and personalized interventions that help improve veteran rehabilitation and resilience.”

Nicole became an Emergency Medical Technician at age 16. While responding to an emergency, Nicole was attacked by a patient’s family member. Nicole suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting in vision and hearing loss, leaving her legally blind and deaf. From her experiences, Nicole realized the difference she could make in someone’s life while in extreme distress. Nicole completed her undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania, earning her degree in Psychology. After college, Nicole moved to Fort Cavazos to understand resilience and the treatment of PTSD. 

In Texas, Nicole met her husband, an Army Logistics Captain. Realizing that she needed new tools to thrive, Nicole enrolled in a state vocational rehabilitation program for vision. She recognized the opportunities that she was afforded, that many veterans are not as they navigate rehabilitation, which made her determined to improve the experiences of others as they explore their new reality. 

Nicole is enrolling at the University of Miami for her PhD in Clinical Psychology in August 2024. She was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to develop clinically responsive technology for behavioral medicine, which integrates predictive modeling to select a treatment and modify it as data is collected. She wants to pursue a career that integrates physical rehabilitation with psychological services that meet the patient where they are, even if they are not ready for traditional therapy. Nicole believes that we need to integrate mental wellbeing into the medical system as we cannot heal the body without healing the mind.