Name: Amanda Thrun
Major: Communicative Disorders
Hometown: Frankfort, Illinois
Committee: Communication/ New Student Initiative
My name is Amanda Thrun and I am a Junior Speech-Language Pathology major here at Northern Illinois University (NIU). I knew from a young age I wanted to attend a reputable four-year college in order to have a strong career and to be an independent woman. By working multiple jobs and state financial aid, I have able to accomplish this goal and attend Northern Illinois University; starting my program in Speech-Language Pathology. I came from a high school of over four thousand students where I was simply a number and had minimal academic direction. Therefore, I did not have many expectations set for myself. Along with being a member of my high school swim team and water polo team, I worked hard in academics and I graduated high school as an average student. Being a student with not much academic direction, I was in for some big surprises in the months to come as I started my college journey.
My first semester at NIU greatly impacted my drive for achievement and I set goals that seemed nearly impossible, yet a necessity for success. In order to be competitive in the Speech-Language program and continue into graduate school, I was going to need to be strong in my studies and at the top of my class. Through much dedication and hard work, I went from being an average student, to being on the College of Health and Human Sciences Deans’ List every semester. I reached out to my professors and teacher assistants only to find that they were more than willing to help students succeed. By the completion of the second semester of my freshman year, I had a 3.9 cumulative grade point average. This was a goal I set, but I was not sure it was something I could do. With the resources Northern Illinois University gave me and my dedication to my degree, high honors quickly became a reality and something that I wanted to continue and have continued in the semesters to follow. I am a member of three different honor societies including the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Golden Key Honors Society and the International Deans List Honor society. Through these organizations I have continued to learn the value of what hard work and dedication mean and I have applied it to all other aspects of my education.
I spend my free time volunteering through several different organizations. I do most of my volunteering at Easter Seals Organization working with children who have disabilities. I spend time in the day care taking care of young children, as well as, working alongside current therapists to assist them with the children and to learn from them for future reference. In the summer, I also work with Easter Seals serving as an aid to small focus groups that teach children life skills. Working at Easter Seals has broadened my knowledge in my field and I have taken that knowledge with me and applied it to my studies at NIU. I am very passionate and dedicated to my program and I am very thankful for each and every experience that helps me better in my education and will better me in my career path.