Nichols was born December 15, 1984 in Hamilton, Bermuda. She grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, playing both soccer and field hockey in school. She dropped soccer to concentrate on hockey before graduating from Salem High School in 2003. She graduated from Old Dominion University in 2007, with a major in physical education. 
Nichols played varsity field hockey on the Lady Monarchs for four years at Old Dominion University. She was an Academic All-American and First String All-American and a member of the Colonial Athletic Associationchampionship team in 2005.
On June 23, 2008, USA Field Hockey nominated Nichols to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s Field Hockey.