Dwayne Malone Picture Dwayne Malone

Interim Director

A native of Memphis, Tn., Dwayne is currently in the Dissertation phase of completing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Trident University.  He holds a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management and also a Master’s degree in Information Technology from Webster University.  His undergraduate degree is in Psychology from Saint Martin’s University.  Sometimes called Sergeant Malone he is a retired Sergeant First Class from the United States Army.  During his 20 year career in the Army he performed several different jobs.  Dwayne taught mountain climbing, he was a Drill Sergeant, and an Equal Opportunity Advisor.  He spent most of his 20 year career overseas.  He has 3 tours in Europe, 2 tours in Iraq, and 1 tour in Korea.  His stateside assignments include TX, SC, MO, KY, VA, and WA where he retired from. He is an Iraqi Freedom and Gulf War Veteran.  He found a love for teaching and taught for his last 15 years in the military.  He wanted to continue teaching as a civilian in the neighborhood where he grew up.  After retiring in 2005 he started teaching JROTC at Memphis City Schools.  He coached cross country, track, and bowling and also took these teams to State level competition.  He played a vital role in the success of thousands of student transitioning from High School to College.  He also ensured that most of his soldiers in the Army transitioned into adult learners.  His versatility is definitely one of his greatest assets.  He was selected as JROTC Instructor of the year and also Educator of the month during his tenure as a teacher.  Dwayne has been married for 30 years and has two sons and two daughters.  He consistently makes significant contributions to the learning and motivation of several students in Higher Education and at the lower level.  He has the ability to motivate people in general and is also very effective at teaching students the importance of reaching their highest potential/goals.  He can share things from a Director, a former Off Campus and Non-Traditional Student, and a former Military Student’s perspective.  He loves spending time with his family and one of his greatest joys is giving back to the community.  Dwayne’s advice to the students at NIU would be to stay smart.   He would tell them that “It’s not how smart they are but, how they are smart”.  He would also tell them be smart, and stay the course to finish what they started.  Opportunities look much better leaving than they do coming.

Michael Safarik

Assistant Director, Educational Benefits

Michael is originally from Hanover Park, Illinois, and is currently serving in the role of Assistant Director of Educational Benefits for Military Student Services.  Michael originally attended Elgin Community College and transferred to Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.  Michael started working in Higher Education in 2005; he was responsible for helping students find funding for school and for processing military benefits and financial aid.  Besides helping students reach their goal of graduation, Michael enjoys spending time with his wife and 2-year-old daughter.

Cheryl Murray

Office Support Specialist

Cheryl Murray is originally from Chicago, Illinois.  She received her Bachelor's degree in Finance from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.

Joshua Reed

Graduate Assistant

Joshua Reed was born and raised to be a Huskie, growing up in DeKalb and receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences, emphasis in Physical Therapy, here at NIU.  In addition to being a graduate student in pursuit of a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, Joshua has a personal interest in NIU's military student population as he is a Marine.  While on active duty, Joshua participated in two fourteen month combat deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Joshua works closely with the assistant director of Military Student Services to ease the transition for veterans into college and to support and advocate for veterans, military members, and their families.