“This story is only a snapshot of something bigger, genuine, and unique” Butler University senior, and soon to be graduate, Nikki Miceli said as she introduced her capstone project, “Up North.” The video follows with snapshots of her smiling family members, days in the water, and some traditional campfire singing. Clip after clip, Nikki captures the little moments her family celebrates every summer at their cabin in northern Wisconsin. Two years ago, Nikki didn’t know the random footage she took while on vacation would turn into a 16-minute short documentary about her family’s history and legacy. When Nikki came to Butler University, she wasn’t sure what to expect or where to go first. She just jumped in.
Nikki came to Butler because she loved the feel and energy of campus, and it was the first college campus she didn’t get lost on. Beginning as an exploratory major, she tried a little bit of everything and strayed away from everything she knew she didn’t like. Nikki was certain of one thing: she loved to make videos.
“I like video because it’s a more detailed photograph,” she said. “My family makes fun of me because I always have a camera out, but I tell them, ‘In 10 years, you’re going to really like this footage and see how you acted, what we looked like.’ You see so many more intricate, small, wonderful moments with video than you do with photography.”
Nikki and her freshman year roommate made lip sync covers to popular songs in their dorm room, then she would edit the footage with iMovie and upload it to their Youtube channel. At the time, Nikki didn’t think much of it until one video of her singing to “Hakuna Matata” gained over 4,000 views. With the help of her counselor who urged her to pursue video work, she eventually found a home in the college of communication.
Flash forward three years and Nikki will soon be graduating with degrees in digital media production and strategic communication. She’s completed multiple internships with companies like the Big East Digital Network and Webstream Productions, but her greatest experience was found in the heart of campus. As a video intern for Butler University’s Marketing and Communications office, Nikki connects with people and tells their story through Instagram.
“These people at Butler are so dang incredible,” Nikki said. “They are, honestly, the most passionate and caring people you’ll ever meet. I’ve seen that through this internship the most. I’ve learned about everyone’s true, genuine story and excitement about why they love Butler. I just love it.”
Although Nikki pushed herself to complete multiple internships, study abroad in Australia, complete two majors, and have room for a social life, her biggest challenge was gaining self-confidence. Her parents, one an accountant and the other a physical therapist, have supported her throughout her career but couldn’t help. Nikki’s creative side is unique, and she knew she had to work hard to be successful and find a job after college. Rather than change her major or redefine herself, Nikki took the challenge and reached her goals.
“I know what makes me happy,” she said. “Some people told me you go to school to find out who you are, and I thought, ‘No, college only solidified who I was.’ I knew who I was beforehand.”
Nikki took advantage of any opportunity presented to her. She helped create the newest Butler commercial through her internship on campus, and although it was stressful and a lot of work, she doesn’t regret taking on the challenge.
“The commercial project kick-started my confidence and made me realize I have a place here,” she said. “I think Butler and the community of care will stick with me for the rest of my life.”
She said she’ll miss Butler’s tight-knit community, the people, and her experiences, but she is ready to move on. Nikki is unsure where she’ll land after college, but knows she’ll continue making videos and telling stories.
“I’m confident now — watch me kill it.”