Members of the Staff Association at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO), named Maria Nichols as October’s Staff of the Month winner. Employees of the College nominated Nichols for her dedication to NEO. Nichols grew up in Chile where she worked as an actress and a costume designer. Among others, she designed and crafted clothing for the First Lady of Chile, Maria Frei, and she also won two National Theatre Festival Awards (the equivalent of America’s Tony’s awards); one for best actress in a drama and one for best actress in a comedy. In 1967, she met Don Nichols, who was in the Peace Corps in Santiago, they soon married and she and her young son, Marcello, came to America with Don. Don was the Technical Director of the NEO Theatre Department for many years, and Nichols was a costumer.
She worked for several summer stock and outdoor drama companies in the summers, including the Trail of Tears drama at Tsa-La-Gi in Tahlequah, Okla. where she was assistant costumer for several years. Nichols originally left NEO many years ago and was working as a seamstress before the Theatre Department was finally able to lure her back. “Maria is and has always been the most valuable member of our department,” said Barbara George, NEO’s Director of Theatre. “She is one of the very best costumers in the country.”