Eric Armstrong, M.B.A.
A native of the southside of Chicago, Eric holds an M.B.A. from Keller Graduate School of Management and a bachelors in science and technical management (human resources concentration) from DeVry University. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1999-2003 and deployed into Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 and deployed into Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Eric has worked in higher education for 10 years in various capacities from admissions to the registrar, to academic advising and for the past four years, working with student veterans. He loves working with students and can be found interacting with students on a daily basis on campus. He enjoys watching almost any sport, but football is king. Eric has an open door policy for all students who need to talk or exchange ideas that would help all students at NIU.
Jeffrey Salmon, M.A., M.S.Ed.
A native of Geneva, Ill., Jeffrey holds a master's degree in adult and higher education from NIU and a second master's in mass communication from the University of Oklahoma. Jeffrey originally joined the MPTSS office in June of 2013. He enjoys helping students because he feels he was blessed with great academic experiences and wants to help students get the most out of their journeys. Jeffrey has worked with college students in one capacity or another for 10 years in academic and athletics settings. He’s worked as a teaching assistant, certifying official, public relations practitioner and an academic tutor. At the student affairs level, he has worked in TRiO and admissions offices. The perfect day at work for Jeffrey is a day that is busy with students needing assistance and them leaving feeling they were better because of his efforts than when they came into the office. The best advice Jeffrey would give to a NIU student is "Enjoy and take advantage of every moment possible here on campus. You are not only investing in an education at NIU, you are investing in yourself!"
Office Support Specialist
Terri comes to MPTSS from the Convocation Center. A native of Aurora, Ill., she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in Landscape Architecture. She worked as a Park Planner in the western suburbs and in central Illinois for 30 years. She recently moved to Sycamore, Ill., and decided to take her career in a different direction--working in office administration assisting colleagues, students and the general public. Terri enjoys helping students (and, sometimes, their parents!) navigate through their questions in order to have a successful college experience. In her free time, Terri is involved with the Sycamore History Museum, the Sycamore Park District and St. Mary’s Church. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, gardening, watching movies and traveling. Her advice to students: "Follow your passion with persistence and do not hesitate to ask for assistance along the way. Enjoy your college journey!"
VA Student Benefits Counselor
Tucker, a native Texan, has lived in a western suburb of Chicago for the last eight years. After graduating from high school, Tucker enlisted into the United States Army Military Police Corps, where as an enlisted soldier he deployed once in support of Operation Enduring Freedom conducting overseas detainee operations. Tucker received an A.G.S., an A.A., and an A.A.S. in master automotive service technology from College of DuPage, and currently attends NIU studying business administration. His lifelong passion as a car enthusiast has motivated him to explore career opportunities within the automotive performance, racing, restoration, auction and service industries. Tucker also enjoys assisting veteran and post-traditional students in and outside of class, and looks forward to doing so as a new member of the Huskie family.
VA Student Benefits Counselor
Sommer has lived in a western suburb of Chicago her whole life. Her favorite hobby is basketball and is an avid coffee drinker. She loves to travel and tries to travel to a new place every year. She is a sophomore at NIU pursing her B.A. in psychology with a minor in sociology and a criminal certificate. Her hopes are to become part of the FBI as a behavioral analyst. She has always been passionate about helping people and crime, so this is the perfect mix. She is currently serving in the Illinois Army National Guard as a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialist.
VA Student Benefits Counselor
Craig holds an electrical engineering degree from the University of Michigan. He is pursuing a psychology degree from NIU. He served in the Navy from 2000–2013 as a nuclear trained electrician aboard submarines. He has worked in the engineering field since he left the Navy, but has returned to school to pursue helping those who suffer from PTSD. His goal is to ensure everyone that comes to the office is equipped with the knowledge required to have a fun and productive time while in school. In his spare time he is highly active in the NIU Tabletop Club.
Devin C. Smith
VA Student Benefits Counselor
Devin Christopher Smith is a native of North Carolina. After living in North Carolina for most of his life, he decided to come move Illinois to be closer to the city of Chicago. He is currently a senior studying Spanish with an emphasis in business and translation and minors in Latin and Latino Studies. After graduation, he plans to find a business where he can use his translation skills. Devin's hobbies include cycling, gaming and learning languages. His goal in life is to learn four different languages and become fluent in each one. He will be able to assist students in our office who wish to converse in Spanish.
Laura Vivaldo Cholula
Laura is continuing her education at NIU by pursuing a law degree after receiving her bachelor's degree in political science with a minor with Latino and Latino studies. She comes to the MPTSS office from Elgin, Ill.. Her goal is to give back to the community using her legal education. As post-traditional student, she used the MPTSS lounge and support services. As a graduate assistant, she looks forward to assist undergraduate students and help them feel welcomed on campus. Laura's advice to students is, "study hard and do not be afraid to ask for help. Students should take advantage of all the opportunities and resources on campus".
Marissa is a first-year graduate student pursuing an M.S.Ed in Higher Education and Student Affairs. She recently graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in Psychology. She believes that each individual student and their needs and experiences are a priority. Marissa studied abroad in Finland and aspires to advise future students wishing to study abroad. She loves to travel and be a part of what the world has to offer. In her free time, Marissa spends time on the ice figure skating. She also enjoys drawing and painting as well as completing puzzles. Her advice is to never underestimate how capable you are.
Nia is a second-year graduate student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs master’s program. She completed her B.A. in psychology at Northern Illinois University in the spring of 2018. As a post-traditional/first generational student, she hopes to continue supporting the academic and personal development of students as they navigate their educational pathways. In her free time, Nia is a G.E.D tutor with the Goodwill Industries of DeKalb and mentors three undergraduate students. She is a strong advocate of mentoring because of the knowledge and skills students can learn from mentors, but also because mentoring provides professional socialization and personal support to facilitate success in school and beyond.
Chris is pursuing a master's degree after completing his B.S. in athletic training at NIU in the spring of 2018. From 2009-2013, he served in the United States Marine Corps and then returned home to Yorkville, Ill., to begin school at NIU. He started at Military Student Services in August of 2013 and has continued to increase his knowledge of military benefits ever since. He enjoys pretty much any activity that helps him stay healthy and in shape. Recently he started an internship at Sycamore CrossFit and has really enjoyed gaining the knowledge and experience.
Princess is currently pursuing a B.S. in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Computer Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to enlist in the Army and join the Army Corps of Engineers. Princess was born in Landstuhl, Germany, as a natural-born American citizen. She is a member of Society of Women Engineers and Engineers without Borders. She joined the MPTSS team in the fall of 2017.