Nicolosi’s studies have brought her from Rome to New Hampshire (image credit: Cynthia Nicolosi)

Professor Cynthia Nicolosi, a nominee of the University College Excellence in Teaching Award, is a woman who does much more than meets the eye, on campus and out in the world.

Before she came to SNHU, Nicolosi was supposed to travel to Saudi Arabia. “I finished my PhD in Philosophy at Rome, and I decided I’d seen enough basilicas to last me a lifetime, and I wanted to experience a different culture,” Nicolosi said.

She was given a job at a university in Saudi Arabia, bound for a teaching position. “I was very excited to go, shopping for hijabs, you know, and the government refused my Visa,” she explained. “I had a theology degree from a university in Rome—it was impossible.”

With her life packed up, she had to find a way to stay, make a living, and take on a new, unknown path. She took it as an opportunity to tackle a new adventure and was fortunate to have friends support her while she studied to be a Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA) in Manchester, New Hampshire, which eventually led her to studying massage and finding a new desire to continue in the medical field.

Though she now teaches students at SNHU, she is a student herself at University of New Hampshire (UNH) for a degree in biology, pre-med. She sent out her resume to every university around for a teaching position, and out of the blue three years ago, she had an interview at SNHU and began teaching philosophy online.

Nicolosi was also asked to teach English alongside philosophy, which was more difficult than anticipated. “The greatest struggle of teaching today is English,” she said. As a professor on campus, she felt nervous at first after being used to Catholic schools, but she found freedom in this change, and said, “It’s like someone let me out of a box—I’m no longer preaching to the choir!”

The last two semesters, she has taught Religions of the World, a philosophy course, but next fall she will be taking a break from religion and teaching three sections of Introduction to Philosophy and Introduction to Ethics over the summer.

After she finishes her degree, she would like to begin medical school and eventually teach in the sciences as well. On top of this and her teaching position at SNHU, she also teaches a course on religion at New England College and manages some freelance and ghostwriting.

She currently does massage therapy for Elements Massage as well, and she looks forward to opening her own studio in Concord this summer.

She said, “My dream job would be to jump out of airplanes with backpacks full of antibiotics into places of the world where there is no medical service provided. At my age, I’m not in it for the money or the status. All I want is to make some sort of contribution.”

Catch Professor Nicolosi in her Introduction to Philosophy courses this fall, as well as her future Religions of the World sections.