Alumni News - Jeremy Nikel


Jeremy is a native of Tulsa, OK, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa with a Master of Social Work degree in 2011. While an MSW student, Jeremy interned at the Mental Health Association in Tulsa and the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he earned the Nadine J. Roach memorial award for administrative and community practice. Jeremy also worked as a graduate assistant in the Community Healthy Worker program and served as the Treasurer for the MSW student association. Jeremy currently works as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the Substance Use Disorder program at the Department of Veterans Affairs where he is a certified national consultant in Motivational Enhancement Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

In addition to his work at the VA, Jeremy volunteers as the President of the board of directors for the Tulsa non-profit, Serving Our Servicemembers-Coffee Bunker. SOS-Coffee Bunker is a peer-run drop in and outreach center with the mission to offer opportunities that support service members and veterans toward successful reintegration with their families and communities. In his role with SOS-Coffee Bunker, Jeremy has presented on veteran’s issues and the importance of peer support at several conferences, including the nationally known Zarrow symposium. He was recently invited to submit a proposal for the 2015 National Association of Social Workers annual state conference. Jeremy has been with SOS-Coffee Bunker since its strategic planning phase in 2010 and served as Vice President while a student at OU-Tulsa. Coffee Bunker recently opened in a new location. They were featured on the news in Tulsa twice (here and here). 

A life-long and loyal Sooner alum, Jeremy earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and his commission as a naval officer from OU-Norman and the Naval ROTC program in 1993. Jeremy then served for ten years as an active duty Naval Aviator in the United States Navy, flying the T-34C airplane, the TH-57 helicopter, and the SH-60B Seahawk helicopter. Jeremy completed two deployments, serving as operations officer for NATO maritime forces during the Kosovo War. During the war, Jeremy flew over 30 missions and conducted a life-saving rescue, earning the Air Medal, two Navy Achievement Medals, the Sikorsky “Winged-S Rescue Award,” and nine other personal and unit awards. Jeremy went on to become a Navy flight instructor where he earned a third Navy Achievement Medal and was awarded Flight Instructor of the Month three times. Following the birth of his first son, Jeremy elected to leave the Navy and was honorably discharged at the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

After leaving active duty, Jeremy continued to serve for three years in the Navy Reserve as an Executive Officer for a logistics unit in Des Moines, IA. He simultaneously worked as a clinical representative and management consultant for two private medical device companies, Guidant Cardiac Rhythm Management and Medtronic Diabetes. Following the birth of his second son, Jeremy and his family returned to Tulsa where he enrolled in the MSW program at OU-Tulsa and began his new career as a social worker. In addition to his volunteer work at SOS-Coffee Bunker, Jeremy practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and spends time with his two sons, playing video games and teaching them how to ride motorcycles, build fires, shoot bows-and-arrows, climb rocks, and do other cool stuff. To make sure he doesn’t sleep too much, Jeremy has a baby daughter, born on July 23, 2014, who has him wrapped around her finger.

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