Hometown: Oak Park, Ill.
Program: M.S. Sport Management
Status: Spring 2020 graduate
What inspired you to pursue this degree/career? I have always had a passion for sports, and this same feeling continued when I enrolled into NIU back in 2013. Going the Kinesiology route for my bachelor’s only slightly satisfied my passion for sports, but I wanted to dive deeper into the business side. Ultimately, it led me to further my education after undergrad in sport management.
Why did you choose the NIU College of Education? During my undergrad studies, Anderson Hall was like a second home, and I knew I wanted to stay in the College of Education. My experience over the years has been very positive, and the quality of the faculty and staff in the KNPE department is hard to come by. The College of Education makes you feel welcome, and that’s important when you’re trying to figure out college and overall life.
What has surprised or impressed you the most? The staff in the KNPE department has impressed me the most. Everyone’s office door is normally open, and it makes you feel comfortable to ask questions or to just stop in and say hello. It almost feels like a little family over at Anderson. Looking back on these seven years, and having many different professors in the department, I have come to appreciate their passion for helping students.
How was your NIU College of Education experience? My experience was beyond positive. The opportunities you are presented with set you up for your future career. I personally enjoyed the experiential learning opportunities the College of Education involved me in: Traveling to Sri Lanka is something I will always remember and cherish as an impactful memory at NIU.
What are your career goals, and why? My career goals are in the field of Community Relations. This stems from my time during graduate school. I was able to be a part of an incredible program called “Project FLEX” that dealt with incarcerated youth in a maximum-security center. During this time, I found my true calling of wanting to go out into the world and make an impact on the lives of the less fortunate. I saw the impact and guidance I was able to instill on the young men in the facility, and I want to continue my work in the community for a professional sport organization.
What did you learn here that you know will help you to shape your career? I have built some strong bonds while at NIU. Wherever life takes me, I know the people I crossed paths with at NIU will always have my back. Also, there’s only so much you can learn in the classroom, and NIU has done a great job in preparing me for real-world situations through experiential learning.
Why would you recommend the NIU College of Education? Looking back on everything, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. My time spent with my mentors, Drs. Jenn Jacobs, Zach Wahl-Alexander and Steve Howell, has been life-changing, and I give them all the credit in the world for showing me the right way to go about career-building. The College of Education is filled with professors of this caliber, and any student lucky enough to join the family will benefit greatly.
What advice do you have for future students? Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The resources and guidance are at your disposal, if you just ask. Also, take part in every opportunity your professors offer, whether it’s seminars with guest speakers or volunteering at conferences or events. You never know the knowledge you might gain or the person you might meet that will change your life. In college, you are paying for your education, so why not take advantage of every opportunity and resource?
What else do you do for fun/hobbies in your spare time? Once a semester, my Project Flex team and I were able to bring between three and four youth onto campus from the detention center. Those days were some of the most rewarding during my time at NIU. We were able to show a group of young men that, with a little attitude change, a more rewarding life awaits them.
Fun fact: My grandparents met at NIU back in 1968 during their freshman year orientation. Several years later, I am able to finish what they started beyond their wildest dreams.
Do you know an amazing student who should step into the COE spotlight? Email ceduEdNews@niu.edu with names and Z-ID contact information of your nominees.