Meet the Staff

Michelle Pickett

Director

Michelle Pickett
mpickett@niu.edu

Education

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

Questions and Answers

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 McCall

Associate Director

Beverly McCall
bmccall@niu.edu

Education

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

Questions and Answers

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.


Labrian Carrington

Academic Advisor/Counselor

Labrian Carrington
lcarrington1@niu.edu

Education

M.S.Ed. Adult and Higher Education, Northern Illinois University
B.G.S Art Education for Special Needs Students, Northern Illinois University

Questions and Answers

What do you enjoy most about working with students?

I enjoy helping students explore their inner-selves without the influences of trying to appease family members and or friends. I enjoy watching my students come to terms with their own expectations and finding the opportunity to re-invent themselves. College is a great platform to develop, grow, and soul search and I encourage students to be the best they can and that and "Hard work beats talent, when talent don't work hard!" Never to run away from obstacles because those obstacles can be used to build them up for the long haul. Finally, after seeing a once lost student, grow into a young professional as they rise above obstacles and they graduates, that is my complete joy in working with students.

Advice for undecided/exploratory students

Do a little soul searching to find out what you want out of life. I teach my students to take ownership of what it is they want and not rely on outside influences. Utilize resources like the Academic Advising Center, Cultural Resource Centers, along with Career Services, because they all can help in exploring the many majors NIU has to offer. Lastly, getting involved and asking lots of questions are key in helping students find their talents and the things they enjoy doing.

"You cannot afford to live in potential for the rest of your life; at some point you have to unleash the potential and make your move."


Keyalo Gray

Pre-Professional Health Advisor

Keyalo Gray
kgray1@niu.edu

Education

M.S.Ed., Counseling, Northern Illinois University
B.A., Sociology, Northern Illinois University

Questions and Answers

What do you enjoy most about working with students?

I value greatly any and all opportunities to engage with students while working in partnership as a facilitator of the process of constructing their life narratives, understanding their identity development and empowering them along the way to identify relevant themes and concepts to guide academic, career and life decision making. For me the joy in this work comes from listening to their stories, supporting them as they construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct their narratives, understanding their motivations, decision making process and the unique experiences that shaped them and ultimately brought them here. In serving as a facilitator of this process, my goal has always been to create a space for students where their identities can be affirmed and their experiences are validated while fostering an environment where students can reflect, process and connect who they are now, what they are learning and experiencing and who they want to become.

Advice for undecided/exploratory students
  • Explore the range of possibilities and remain flexible, adaptable and open to change.
  • Reflect on your past and present experiences and how they connect with your personal and professional identity development.
  • Make meaning and connections of and between your experiences, processing why it all matters in relation to both your personal and professional values, goals and objectives.

"The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated." -James A. Baldwin


Mazen Nagi

Academic Advisor/Counselor

Mazen Nagi
mazen@niu.edu

Education

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

Questions and Answers

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 CarlsOffice Support

Cindy Carls
ccarls@niu.edu

Sharon FreemanOffice Support

Sharon Freeman
smfreeman@niu.edu

Nia HarrisGraduate Assistant

Nia Harris
tharris7@niu.edu

Contact Us

Academic Advising Center
Health Services Building, room 320
815- 753-2573
815-753-2902 (fax)
aac@niu.edu

Hours

Regular Hours
Monday - Friday
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Appointments Available
Monday - Friday
8:15-11:15 a.m. and 1:15-3:45 p.m.

Walk-in Hours
Monday - Friday
10 a.m.-2 p.m.