Nicholls is a PhD candidate in Sociology. Her research revolves around the relationship between racialization and sovereignty across contexts currently within U.S. empire. Specifically, her dissertation focuses on the formation of whiteness to further settler colonialism and Indigenous dispossession in Hawai’i and Virginia. Nicholls’ previous research examines the cultural politics of decolonization and social movements in Hawai’i. Prior to graduate school, she worked as an emergency residential counselor at a youth crisis shelter and in higher education administration.