Nancy Pham Schickman was a skater before she became a mom, and admits to some FOMO watching her friends’ progress because for her, skating, or at least gnarly skating, has taken a backseat. “Those days of hucking myself down a set of stairs are on hold until my son is a bit older – or at least until I’m done breastfeeding.” For now, she tries to incorporate skating into as many of her baby’s activities as possible and is happy just to get to push around for half an hour for fun and selfcare.
Nancy learned to skateboard after dropping out of high school and getting clean from heroin. She didn’t have a license and needed a way to get around. Skateboarding had always looked really fun to her and once she learned to push she was hooked. “When I found skateboarding there was no more desire to go back to my old lifestyle. Skating was an experience that made me feel alive and it was a way of making up for my wasted youth.”
In 2018 Nancy started Boarding School Philadelphia with friend Steph to host casual meetups at skateparks to help women, girls, and beginners feel more comfortable at the male-dominated spaces. Meet-ups were just casual, low-pressure events to try new parks and make friends.
Nancy has noticed a huge shift in how skateboarding has been more inclusive for women and LGBTQ+ people, but she hopes to see an even richer diversity, pointing out the recent women’s competition at FDR (in Philly) had almost all-white featured contestants and judges. While Boarding School is no longer active, there are now places like Skate the Foundry and crews like Skate Shawty giving beginners of all ages ways to learn to skateboard and she hopes there will continue to be even more skate crews popping up into the future.
Name: Nancy Pham Schickman
Current Location: Philly – I’m never leaving.
Day job?: I’m an executive assistant for a wealth management company. It’s super corporate but it allows me to have fun when the work is done (I didn’t mean to rhyme lol.)
Signature Trick: Backside 180 or rock n roll.
Catch Phrase: It be like that sometimes.
What is the last thing you saw that made you laugh really hard? My son has been doing lots of crawling and exploring so I’m always laughing at finding him in odd places around the house.
Something cool about you we don’t know? I’m a high school drop out and ivy league grad.
Three Things you can’t live without? My skateboard, a hair tie, and fresh fruit.