Nicole Bianchi is a self-employed freelance web designer and WordPress consultant based in New York City. She also founded Inkwell Scholars Academy, a business that offers writing classes and private tutoring for middle school and high school students. The Inkwell Scholars website combines her two passions: writing and web design. “Since I learned how to read,” she recalls, “I dreamed of seeing my name on the spine of a book one day.” Nicole wants to inspire other young people to write well, to learn how to use the Internet to share their ideas, and to put their dreams into action.
Homeschooled by her parents, Nicole had lots of time to work on developing her own writing skills. In middle school, she printed a literary newsletter that contained short stories, articles, and book reviews. When she was 12 years old, Nicole’s parents bought her a website and encouraged her to transfer the newsletter online. At age 14, Nicole started her first blog and customized the design by teaching herself HTML and CSS. She says, “I soon fell in love with WordPress and began designing websites for friends and family.”
In high school, Nicole joined the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (www.NCFCA.org). This homeschool speech and debate league provided an opportunity for Nicole to develop her oratorical skills. “I loved…to speak in front of an audience,” she admits. Nicole was the Original Oratory Speech Champion two years in a row, the Persuasive Speech Champion, and the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Champion at the NCFCA Northeastern Regional Speech and Debate tournament. Nicole also competed on the national level and was a nationally ranked Impromptu Speaker Finalist.
Still a writer at heart, in April 2008 she entered an essay in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy competition. This contest requires students to submit an audio recording of themselves reading their essay along with a copy of the printed draft. Entries are judged on originality, content, and delivery. Nicole’s essay placed 1st in New York State and 7th in the nation. She represented New York State in Washington, D.C. and met President George W. Bush. She was also awarded the William F. Halsey Memorial Scholarship by the Veterans of Foreign Wars for her achievement.
While in high school, Nicole completed a year and a half’s worth of college credits through online classes and Advanced Placement tests (she scored a 5 on both the AP English Literature exam and the English Language exam) before enrolling at The King’s College to finish her degree. King’s is a Christian college located in the Empire State Building. Nicole was awarded three scholarships: The King’s Scholar Award, a Presidential Merit Scholarship, and a Chatlos Foundation Scholarship. While in college, Nicole worked at the college newspaper as a webmaster, writer, and editor. Her essay titled “Hope in the Face of Evil” placed second in the King’s College 2011 Interregnum Lecture competition and was published in the Interregnum Journal.
During her senior year at King’s College, Nicole attended a series of seminars held by the Foundation for Economic Education and the Ludwig von Mises Institute. She also helped write, narrate, and produce an 8-minute documentary titled “Great Myths of the Great Depression.” In the video, based on Lawrence W. Reed’s classic essay by the same name, Nicole and her younger brother Michael address common misconceptions about the history and causes of the Great Depression. This video was the grand prize winner in the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) 2012 Film Competition. Nicole and Michael were awarded $1,500 in prize money for their video submission. You can watch the video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfhYg9qwVUI
A member of The King’s College Dean’s list for five out of five semesters from Fall 2010 to Fall 2012, Nicole graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. After graduating from college she realized, “I wanted to do more with Inkwell Scholars and with my life. I want to write that novel I’ve been dreaming of since the day I read my first chapter book in grade school. And I want to take Inkwell Scholars to the next level: a place that inspires others to dream bigger and put those dreams into action.” Through Inkwell Scholars, Nicole hopes to create “a community for passionate young thinkers, artists, dreamers, and entrepreneurs who are seeking to discover and hone their God-given talents and skills in order to leave this world a better place than the one we now live in.”
Nicole has been teaching group classes at the Inkwell Scholars Academy since 2011. She developed these classes to encourage students to think critically and hone their stylistic skills. Nicole uses curriculum from the Institute for Excellence in Writing as a foundation for many of the writing assignments. Her classes are currently offered in the New York tri-state area, and she is planning to add online workshops in the near future. You can also contact her about hosting a private workshop for your group. Nicole’s writing classes will be starting on or around September 12, 2013. She has a Young Writers Class for ages 7 and up, as well as a Nonfiction Writing Class for ages 11 and up. For more details, visit http://inkwellscholars.org/inkwell-scholars-academy-classes
Wish you could join Inkwell Scholars but don’t live in the New York metropolitan area? Sign up to receive Nicole’s inspiring blog posts via e-mail, and she will send you a free copy of her e-book: “31 Best Writing Prompts.” Nicole’s blog is full of practical tips and tactics on writing and creativity with articles such as “How and Why You Should Write Every Day,” “Habits of Highly Creative People,” “The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your First Website,” and “Building a Successful YouTube Channel.” In addition, the Inkwell Scholars website features a free grammar course complete with videos, lessons, quizzes, and recommended resources. Nicole points out that the Inkwell Scholars website is something “I wish had existed while I was in high school.” She further explains:
“You can find countless websites that encourage college graduates and business professionals to follow their dreams, start their own businesses, and do work they love. Often, however, college graduates are unable to follow their dreams because of student loans. They are forced to work a 9 to 5 job and have no time to dedicate to the work they are truly passionate about (for example: writing a book, making a film, recording a song). Wouldn’t it be so much easier if students in middle school and high school were given the tools necessary to follow their dreams? If they were taught that they didn’t need to abandon their passions in order to make money? If they learned how to use the internet to share with the world what they have created? That’s the goal of Inkwell Scholars.”
While working on her other goals, Nicole is simultaneously pursuing her web design career. “I have worked with lawyers, bloggers, pastors, and many other small business professionals and entrepreneurs,” she states. “I love working with clients to build a website that will be the best possible showcase of their ideas and products.” Knowing that web design is only one aspect of a powerful online platform, she also does business blogging, advanced social media integration, and targeted SEO copywriting. Whether you are a small business, a church, a nonprofit, a blogger, an artist, or an entrepreneur, Nicole can help you optimize your use of the internet and social media tools in order to better share your ideas with local readers and those around the world.
If you are inspired by Nicole’s story, there are many ways to connect with her…
Bianchi Design Studio: http://nicolebianchi.com
Inkwell Scholars: http://inkwellscholars.org