Nickie Peters began attending Coppin State in January 1999.
His athletics performances at the university placed him in the annals as an outstanding athlete. He won the prestigious Athlete-of-the-Year award on four consecutive occasions, 2000 – 2003 inclusive, the first and only athlete in the institution’s history to achieve this feat.
While at Coppin State Nickie won and established school, championship and national (Vincentian) records both Indoors and Outdoors in the 800m, 1500m, 1mile, relay races and cross-country.
In 2002 Nickie represented St Vincent and the Grenadines at the 2nd Quadrennial NACAC Under 25 Track and Field Championships in San Antonio, Texas. He was unfortunate not to have made the requisite standards to allow him to compete at the Olympic Games. He still runs and last year, 2008, attempted to meet the established standards for the 800m for the Beijing Olympics but was unsuccessful.
Of course there are those who feel that like so many other Caribbean athletes, had Nickie Peters been spared so much competition while at university, competing at both Indoors and Outdoors, he may well have been a better athlete and gained national representation on a more regular basis.
In his academic work Nickie Peters continued to achieve success, as had been the case before leaving home in early 1999.
Full of confidence and committed to his work, Nickie pursued an undergraduate programme with a major in Chemistry and a minor in Computer Science. He was an outstanding student and was seen as having established an ideal balance between his academics and sporting endeavours while at Coppin State.
In 2001, Nickie Peters was awarded a REU-NSF fellowship to engage in research in Nuclear Chemistry at Indiana University, Bloomington.
During the period 2002 – 2003 Nickie received NCAA division 1 All-American Academic awards.
He completed his first degree with Suma Kum Laude honour. He had kept his Grade Point Average (GPA) above 3.80 while competing in the college’s full track and field annual programme and representing St Vincent and the Grenadines. He received the Natural Science Award from the Coppin State Department. He was also inducted into the Coppin State University Academic Honour Society.
Following the completing of his undergraduate programme in 2003 Nickie was awarded a full fellowship to work under the guidance of distinguished Professor, Victor E. Viola Jr in Nuclear Chemistry at Indiana University, Bloomington.
In 2006, after another outstanding performance in the classroom, Nickie Peters successfully completed his Masters degree in Nuclear Chemistry at Indiana. Not yet done with his academic work, Nickie quickly transferred to the University of Missouri where he successfully completed his PhD in Radiochemistry under the guidance of Professor J. David Robertson.
The academic work of Nickie Peters is far from done. He continues to receive prestigious fellowships from the University of Missouri as well as Idaho National Laboratories to further his studies.
For his thoroughness in his academic pursuits Nickie Peters was inducted into the International Golden Key Academic Honour Society in 2008.
Throughout his athletics and academic career Nickie Peters has remained a model of humility. He has never been boastful.
In his several return trips to home, Nickie Peters has never boasted to anyone of his academic achievements. Indeed, one would have had to press him to reveal his academic status.
Nickie Peters must be held high by all Vincentians who value and appreciate the importance of sport to their personal and professional development. Not all of our students can afford tertiary level education consistent with their intellectual potential. Not a
ll of them may be outstanding athletes. The story of Nickie Peters must, however, be that it is possible for students to establish a sound balance between their academic work and sport and climb the ladder of success.
Clearly the track and field fraternity here is appropriately proud of the achievements of Nickie Peters.
All of St Vincent and the Grenadines would wish that many of our young students who are good at sports take a leaf from Nickie Peters’ glowing book of excellence and follow in his footsteps.
Congratulations to Nickie Peters.