Nicholson received the Ford-sponsored £1,000 WISE prize at the Young Women Engineer of the Year award ceremony in London.
Graham Hoare, Ford Motor Company's engineering director heading up Dunton technical centre, who attended the ceremony said: "The enthusiasm and passion shown from all finalists has been quite inspirational and it reinforces Ford's commitment to encouraging young women to consider engineering as a career."
Other finalists were: Vidhyalakshmi Karthikeyan, studying electronic engineering at University College London, and Julia Wilson, who studies civil engineering at Surrey University.
Nicholson said: "Winning the Ford WISE prize is a great achievement. It has boosted even more my enthusiasm to strive for a successful career in engineering. It is a very exciting time to be entering engineering and it is fantastic that women's contributions are being encouraged."
The Ford Motor Company WISE prize was initiated to recognize and reward exceptional women in the penultimate year of studying for their engineering degree. It is backed by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
All three finalists have been invited to a tour of the Ford's Dunton technical centre in Essex, staffed by an engineering team of more than 3,000.