UH Hilo graduate student named to State Rehabilitation Council

Meriah Nichols, in the UH Hilo counseling psychology graduate program, will help advise the Hawai‘i Division of Vocational Rehabilitation regarding its performance as an agency.

By Susan Enright.

Meriah Nichols
Meriah Nichols

A counseling psychology student from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo was recently named to the State Rehabilitation Council. Council members are nominated by the governor to advise the Hawai‘i Department of Rehabilitation on policies that support individuals with disabilities in their employment and careers.

Meriah Nichols, a disability advocate in her second year of the UH Hilo counseling psychology graduate program, says among its several responsibilities, the State Rehabilitation Council reviews, evaluates, and advises the Hawai‘i Division of Vocational Rehabilitation regarding its performance as an agency and effectiveness in delivering services. This includes the effects of service provisions on the employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities.

“Disability is a huge word, a culture, an experience, a movement,” Nichols writes on her website Unpacking Disability with Meriah Nichols. “It is a means through which many of us live our lives, a platform of existence.”

Nichols is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and raised in the Pacific Rim namely Fiji, Hawai‘i, Japan, and Taiwan. She is a graduate of of Waiakea High (1991) and UH Hilo (1993). She received her first master’s degree in international, intercultural management, and human resource development and training from the School for International Training in 1998.

While completing the counseling psychology program at UH Hilo, Nichols is interning with Hospice and UH Hilo Counseling Services where she “leans into an integrative, creative, unconditionally positive, person-centered approach in counseling,” according to her bio on the website.

After she graduates next May, she hopes to work in career development and in grief transitions.

Follow Nichols on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.