TEDxUCSD | 2017 | nikkie-ella
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Nikki Ella ’17

Major: Cognitive Science
Minor: Computer Science | Education Studies


Tell us about yourself!
Hi my name is Nikkie! I consider myself a master of none, jack of all trades kind of person. My main fields of work are UX Design, Development, and Education. I’m really into sports, my one love is basketball (Go Suns!). I also am an amateur film maker and aspiring cicerone! I’m a full-time nerd and love all things related to anime, comics, video games, etc. I love storytelling and sharing them with others. Catch me on the design team for TEDxUCSD!
What is your favorite TED talk and why?
It’s honestly been a good minute since I’ve explored TED talks and I don’t think I’ve found any within the past year that have stuck with me. My go to is “Every Kid Needs a Champion” by the late great Rita Pierson! I believe everyone has a chance for greatness with the right support, a lot of hard work, and a pinch of luck. I constantly strive to teach the lessons I’ve learned to the younger generation because they are the future!
What enticed you to choose your major(s) and/or minor(s)?
Oh man that’s a pretty long story… I came into UCSD as a Computer Science major and eventually I understood that I didn’t want to be a code monkey and just code on a desk. (Granted not everyone in the CS field does that) I strived for something that focused on how people interact with technology. There I found Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and the field of User Experience Design (UX). I immediately fell in love with the field. On top of that I was doing work with underrepresented high school students of color and wanted to make access of education a top priority for me. I picked up an education studies minor to learn more about the logistical and theoretical side of education. I’m very proud of the path I’ve taken to get where I am at right now. Plus I think saying my major and minors when I introduce myself is really cool 🙂
What is your interpretation of this years TEDxUCSD theme, Madness and Miracles?
I love the theme! There’s an ambiguity to it that allows it to be interpreted so many different ways. I resonate and become very inspired when I see passionate individuals at work. There’s this perspective only that specific person at work understands. A lot of the greats in history have taken risks because they love what they do. In their respective times it would be considered “mad” to pursue further but if it wasn’t for those risk-takers, the human race would not be where it is now. I also believe that with the risk and passion comes a little luck. Sometimes the ball just ends up in your court and you need to take that opportunity full force! I hope this years theme encourages people to step forward – not in fear but in pride of their passion and work.
Who/What inspires you?
My parents. They did everything to give me the opportunity to follow my dreams. I also think the constant thought of wanting to improve myself and solve the world’s problems inspires me. People inspire me. The hashtag #MambaMentality inspires me.
If you could have a super power what would it be and why?
Man I honestly don’t want to say flying or teleporting (specifically like Nightcrawler) because I’ve said that too many times. Maybe telekinesis? To be honest I’ll just say flying again…
What's one thing you can't live without?
I’m going to be very deep and say laughter. Everyone needs a good laugh everyday or they’re not actually living!
What is one life goal that you have?
To make my family and friends proud!
Choose a song to describe you and explain why you chose this song.
No Problems by Chance the Rapper!

I didn’t want to choose this cause it’s too popular right now. But I think this song, the artist, and everything encompasses a lot of who I am. I am a very free, go with the flow type of person. I don’t like being under a hierarchy, I want to set my own legacy my way. And I consider myself a very happy go lucky person that always finds himself dancing!