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Meet the Staff

Michelle PickettDirector

Michelle Pickett


M.S.Ed., Adult and Higher Education, Northern Illinois University
B.S., Family and Child Studies, Northern Illinois University

What do you enjoy most about working with students?

I enjoy helping students understand themselves better and discovering the major/career path that best fits their goal. Being in college can be both an exciting and challenging time for many students. My goal is to help them navigate through their college journey and become a successful graduate.

Advice for undecided/exploratory students

Explore, explore, explore! Take time to learn about the many majors and co-curricular options available at NIU. This will help you develop a plan for personal, academic and career success. Second, use your resources. In addition to your academic advisor, NIU offers a wide array of resources that will enrich your college experience. Third, get practical experience. An internship, undergraduate research opportunity or even a part-time job can help you understand the skills needed in a particular career field.

Beverly McCallActing Associate Director

Beverly McCall


M.S., Public Health, Northern Illinois University
B.S., Family Social Services, Northern Illinois University

What do you enjoy most about working with students?

I enjoy assisting students to gain an understanding of what their skills, interests and values are and how this information fits into their decision making process. It’s rewarding to watch them develop during this process.

Advice for undecided/exploratory students

Aim for excellence. Many majors have GPA requirements. I often tell my incoming freshman to come in with the mindset that they already have a 4.0. With that mindset, all they have to do is keep it. It’s easy for your GPA to go down, but harder to raise it. Also, be open to new ideas. You may find that a major you never considered could possibly lead you to a rewarding career.

Bob BurkOutreach Coordinator

Bob Burk


M.S.Ed., Counselor Education, Southern Illinois University
B.A., Government, Southern Illinois University

What do you enjoy most about working with students?

I enjoy sitting down with students and having the time to discuss different majors and careers available at NIU. I also enjoy making sure that students know NIU academic requirements, various resources available at NIU and how the university can work for them. This helps them develop a plan to make the most of their time here. Of course, if students want to discuss Huskie football or Major League Baseball (go White Sox and Cardinals) that would be just fine, too.

Advice for undecided/exploratory students

Take the time to learn about yourself -- your strengths, interests and life goals. Once you know yourself, choosing a major follows quickly. I encourage all students to use the free resources available at NIU as well as the advisors in the Academic Advising Center to create a unique roadmap leading to the majors and careers best suited to their goals.

Use your first year to explore all kinds of majors and careers. NIU has so many wonderful choices and most students have no idea of all the opportunities available to them.

Finally, don’t avoid taking math classes. Delaying math can limit your major/career options. Many majors require more than basic math. Your advisor will work with you to determine the best plan for the programs you are interested in.

Labrian CarringtonAcademic Advisor/Counselor

Labrian Carrington

Colette MaherAcademic Advisor/Counselor

Colette Maher


M.S.Ed., Counseling, Northern Illinois University
B.S.Ed., Art Education, Eastern Illinois University

What do you enjoy most about working with students?

I enjoy greatly working with first year students transitioning into NIU and assisting students finding their academic niches! It has been incredibly rewarding teaching a themed learning community (TLC) on “Exploring Majors." It truly is a privilege to become an integral part of a student’s journey of discovery, scholarship and professional growth within Northern Illinois University.

Advice for undecided/exploratory students

My favorite advice for first year students would be to focus on academic success! Think of your college GPA as becoming your new “street cred in college." Equally importantly: Don’t feel like you have to have everything figured out! ALL majors will provide you with successful professions and careers after college!

Mazen NagiAcademic Advisor

Mazen Nagi


Masters of Social Sciences, University Sains Malaysia (Malaysia)
B.A., American University in Cairo (Egypt)

What do you enjoy most about working with students?

I take great satisfaction in seeing a student realize the field for which they have a passion. I also enjoy seeing them excel in their programs.

Advice for undecided/exploratory students

The best advice I can give to any student is to major in something that they are passionate about. No major is unmarketable. It's more about how one markets the skills gained from a major, and themselves, as opposed to the specific major.

Cindy CarlsSecretary

Cindy Carls

Sharon FreemanSecretary

Sharon Freeman

Graduate Assistant

Carly Tucker