that was definitely the most helpful route to teach me what was going wrong! I see now what was wrong and it explains why the model I previously followed worked and my set up was not. It's embarrassing but here's what was wrong, I didn't know that the nintex form was actually filtering the list "Where field*" was the original list containing the two connected columns of information (i.e. SPTL2). It makes sense that it should operate that way but I still haven't fully wrapped my brain around it, and didn't think it was even an option to do that because it doesn't show up through the reference button.
So it's working now.
Thank You very very much for your time, patience, and effort!