June 2023 Little Rock
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Malachi Nichols

Malachi Nichols, 30
Director of Data & Strategy
Forward Arkansas
Springdale
Malachi Nichols wanted to be an engineer and graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Arkansas. 
 
He took a job teaching robotics at a private school and learned two things: One, education was incredibly important to society, and two, he was not cut out to be a teacher. 
 
Nichols returned to UA and earned a doctorate in education policy, and then found a perfect job at Forward Arkansas, a nonprofit that works to improve education access and policy for Arkansas students.
 
“That experience taught me how important students were but also taught me I wasn’t fit for teaching,” Nichols said. “I still wanted to be in education. [This] job merges research and policy and data but is connected to students and family. It has the ability to touch the people but also to touch the policy, and that is what I really wanted.”
 
His and Forward Arkansas’ goals are to develop leaders and help communities become proficient at teaching the next generation of students.
 
“Educating policymakers helps everybody tenfold,” Nichols said.

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