Huskie Minute – January 23, 2014

Dear Huskie Family Connections Member!

The following Huskie Minute features a few updates, events, and helpful tips to assist you and your student in having a safe and enjoyable fall semester. Beginning with the 2013 -2014 newly entering student group, ALL NIU families will begin receiving the Huskie Minute. Welcome to the Huskie Family!

In this issue

Calling All Families to Get Involved-Just Do It!

We want to know how the NIU experience is working for you and what we can do to improve it.

Here are ways for you to talk with NIU administrators, get involved, meet others, help your student:

1.  Huskie Family Connections and Student Affairs & Enrollment Management Regional Meetings; the first in a series of three, Feb. 5th in DeKalb

2.  Sending Huskie Love in Packages

3.  Huskie Chats: online chatrooms

4.  NIU Cares Day HFC Volunteer Team

What's stopping you? Just do it!

Is Your Student a Sophomore?

If your student is in his or her second year at NIU, you should know that there are programs created to meet his or her needs.  While the first-year experience is about making friends, exploring the campus and community, and learning how to succeed academically, the second year is all about purpose.  Developing purpose involves confirming or declaring a major, finding a career direction, taking on leadership roles on campus, deepening relationships with peers and faculty, and setting goals for the rest of the NIU experience.

Ways for Second-Year Students to Serve

The Spring 2014 semester will bring a host of activities for our second-year students, starting in February with “Sophomore Days of Service,” a series of one-time opportunities for sophomores to get hands-on experience in helping members of the campus and DeKalb communities.  Students will be able to interact with children at the local homeless shelter, volunteer at a DeKalb soup kitchen, stock a local food pantry to benefit children whose families qualify for free or reduced-cost school lunches, read to pre-schoolers from low-income families at the Campus Child Care Center, or visit with senior citizens at area nursing homes.  These events will take place during the month of February.  Second-year students can learn more about these opportunities and register to participate through the website of First- and Second-Year Experience at

Preparing for a Career

Career preparation starts early for NIU students, and sophomores are encouraged to participate in a series of workshops on internship preparation for career success, sponsored by Career Services.  These free workshops focus on the basics of finding an internship that fits students’ majors and career interests.  Students can go to for more information.  Those who participate will be at an advantage in the competitive market for these invaluable career development experiences.

Developing Leadership Skills

Student Involvement & Leadership Development offers programs for your student to develop leadership abilities that will serve him or her well as a student and later in the workplace.

Staying on Track Academically

Although academic advising is not required of sophomores in most majors, it’s critical that students meet with an advisor every semester to track their progress to graduation. Students should direct questions about course sequencing, program requirements, and important academic dates and deadlines.  Advisors are also valuable sources of information on internships and other career opportunities, undergraduate research programs, scholarships and awards, professional organizations, study abroad programs, and much more.  Suggest to your student that he or she set up an appointment in February or March to meet with an academic advisor appropriate for his/her department or major.  This may help prevent spending a costly extra semester in college!

Halfway There!

Second-year students are coming up on a big milestone.  At the end of the spring semester, most of them will be halfway to earning their NIU degree.  At NIU, we’ll celebrate the occasion with an April event featuring music, food, a brief congratulatory message, and a gift that marks the academic halfway point.  Your student should watch for more information on the First- and Second-Year Experience website,    

Career Services-Always Working for Our Students

NIU’s spring 2014 career events offer students and job-seekers the chance to network and to impress potential employers.

This spring features NIU’s annual Internship Fair, Full-time Job Fair, NIU Educators’ Job Fair and the Retail Leadership Expo.

A pair of workshops are planned to help students prepare: “ABCs of Getting an Internship” and “Career Fair Prep Workshop.”

Meanwhile, thanks to NIU Career Services, even more help is available.

Research the companies. Rehearse elevator speeches. Dress professionally. Bring plenty of résumés. Perfect your interview skills. Use NIU’s job search system – Huskies Get Hired! –where employers find new talent for jobs and internships, and where NIU students can create, upload and publish their résumés.

For more information, call (815) 753-1641 or email

Residence Hall Information

Please visit the Housing and Dining web page for important information and dates regarding Spring 2014 and Fall 2014 sign-up.

STEM Saturdays

Add some wonder to your weekend!

NIU STEM Outreach’s STEM Saturday classes are now being offered in two locations!  In addition to the classes already held at our DeKalb campus, we will now be offering classes at our Naperville Campus as well.  These classes are designed to help students, from grades 4 to 10, learn about interesting topics through hands on activities and exciting demonstrations.  This season’s classes will cover topics ranging from building our own Rube Goldberg machines to studying the life found in local rivers to learning about the science of color and light. 

DEKALB Campus:

How's That Work?

Students will get a hands-on look at the simple machines that make up the devices around us, as we take a look inside some common mechanical devices.

Dates: January 25th, 9am - Noon 
Recommended Ages: 6
th Grade to 10th Grade 
Cost: $25

Rube Goldberg
This class will revisit the simple machines from the previous session to construct our own crazy Rube Goldberg styled devices.

Date: February 22nd, 9am - Noon 
Recommended Ages: 4
th Grade to 10th Grade 
Cost: $25

LEGO EV3 Challenge

Students will sharpen their problem solving and critical thinking skills in this challenge based class using the LEGO Mindstorms robots.

Date: March 15th, 9am - Noon 
Recommended Ages: 4
th Grade to 8th Grade  
Cost: $25

Programming, Logic, and Turtles in Minecraft

This class will teach basic programming skills inside of the Minecraft game environment.

Date: April 12th, 9am - Noon
Recommended Ages: TBA
Cost: $35

Design It, Build It!

 Students will have opportunities to use their own creativity and problem solving skills as they work together to engineer their own solutions to some of the problems real engineers face every day.

Date: April 26th, 9am - Noon
Recommended Ages: 4th Grade to 8th Grade 
Cost: $25

Model Rocketry

Students will have opportunities to use their own creativity and problem solving skills as they work together to engineer their own solutions to some of the problems real engineers face every day.

Date: May 10th, 9am - Noon
Recommended Ages: 4th Grade to 8th Grade
Cost: $40


Intro to LEGO EV3

Students will learn how to use the new software to accomplish all of the tasks we’ve learned in the previous LEGO Mindstorms classes.

Dates: February 8th, 9am - Noon & 1pm - 4pm 
Recommended Ages: 4
th Grade to 8th Grade 
Cost: $35

Basic Electricity with Snap Circuits and Little Bits

This is the more basic of our two classes on electricity and circuits.  In this course students will have the opportunity to learn about electricity by using innovative hand-on tools to design and assemble their own circuits.

Dates: March 8th, 9am - Noon 
Recommended Ages: 3rd Grade to 6th Grade 
Cost: $35

Electronics and Soldering for Beginners

This is the more advanced of our two courses on electricity and circuits.  This course takes a look at some more of the electronic components that make our modern devices possible.

Dates: March 8th, 1pm - 4pm
Recommended Ages: 5th Grade & Up 
Cost: $50

EV3 LEGO Mindstorm Challenge!

Students will sharpen their problem solving and critical thinking skills in this challenge based class using the LEGO Mindstorms robots.

Dates: April 5th, 9am - Noon & 1pm - 4pm 
Recommended Ages: 4th Grade to 8th Grade  
Cost: $35

Health Enhancement- Parents Health 101

A great FREE resource for your student and you is available online through NIU's Health Enhancement program. Student Health 101 and Parent Health 101 are online magazines that are well worth checking out! NIU students and their families now have access to monthly issues of Student Health 101 and Parent Health 101. This resource is provided to help make the most of health and wellness decisions while here on campus. Each online issue talks about the issues that matter, and focuses on helping your student and your family to get the best out of life in college. In addition to some great articles, SH101 and PH 101 have embedded audio/video, cartoons, contests and opportunities to share comments with other students and families around the country. SH101 and PH 101 can also be linked to your Facebook page. Let your student know about this wellness-wise resource. Let's keep them healthy! Explore! Enjoy!

Green Lens Film Festival

The Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability, and Energy (ESE Institute) and the Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Information Technologies at Northern Illinois University are planning the fourth annual Green Lens Environmental Film Festival for February 24-27, 2014.The theme of this year’s film festival is The Planet in Focus. The event will be hosted throughout DeKalb and will feature films submitted by all talent levels, informational displays from sponsors and local organizations, a panel discussion of local environmental experts, and so much more!

Academic Success – Highlights & National Rankings

For the second consecutive year, Northern Illinois University has posted a new high in graduation rates of its student-athletes according to the Graduation Success Rate report from the National Collegiate Athletic Association.  NIU's latest overall Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 85 percent is tied with Miami (Ohio) for the best mark in the Mid-American Conference and is four percentage points higher than the national Division I average. NIU's previous best was last year's 83 percent mark and this year's report marks the sixth consecutive year the Huskies' GSR has topped 80 percent.  Athletic Director, Sean T. Frazier expressed, "I am very pleased to see our Graduation Success Rate rank among the best in the MAC and for several of our programs, among the best in the country.  Graduation is the name of the game, and to see the proof in the numbers that NIU student-athletes are leaving with their degrees is a tribute to our student-athletes, our coaches and staff, and also to the NIU faculty and the many people on campus who we rely on for support.  The challenge once you have success as good as ours, is to keep it going even higher and that's exactly what we intend to do." (Information in this article taken from NIU Today.)

Final Note

If you prefer to have this information sent to a different email address or to remove your name from our mailing list, please notify the HFC staff at or by calling 815-753-4444.