Joel Filmore

Clinical Professor, Interdisciplinary Health Professions, College of Health and Human Sciences

Joel Filmore

What year did you start working at NIU?
2011-2013; 2022

Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?

Where did you attend college and what degree(s) have you earned?
UI-Chicago, psychology
Roosevelt University, clinical psychology
NIU, counselor education and supervision

In which department(s) do you teach?
School of Interdisciplinary Health Professions

What do you like about working at NIU?
I love the sense of community that permeates throughout NIU. As a student, I felt welcomed and was constantly surprised by how people often treated me like I'd always been there, even if they had just met me. I have degrees from three universities, but NIU, and DeKalb, are home. My experience here as a student was so profound that my husband and I decided to buy our first, and only, home here back in 2016, despite the fact that I worked in Chicago. I enjoyed being in DeKalb and attending NIU so much that I didn't mind the commute to Chicago for work.

What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
Take advantage of all that NIU has to offer, get involved, join groups and make a difference. Some universities are impersonal and treat you like a number. At NIU, you are treated like family. Your educational experience will only be enhanced by the amount of involvement you have within the community.

Tell us about a research or engaged learning project you have led.
While I don't focus too heavily on research in my professional career, I recently had my first college textbook published, An Introduction to 21st Century Counseling: A Multicultural and Social Justice Perspective. This co-edited book focused on the research around preparing the next generation of counseling professionals but utilizing the most current data on inclusive learning.

What do you hope students take away from your class?
My hope is that after taking my courses, students find their own passion for what they hope the future holds. I am a firm believer that we become the person we are, each and every day, based on the choices we make. Choosing to be a helping professional can be incredibly stressful and you don't always feel appreciated, but the reward of seeing someone you've supported find their place in the world makes it all worth it. So, if you don't like the person you are or where your life has landed, make different choices and become the person you want to be.

What is your favorite campus event?
I attend every NIU/Sox event! There is something about the energy the NIU folks bring to this yearly event. You can always find me eating hotdogs and burgers before the game, and I'll be the guy jumping, yelling and screaming the loudest while wearing my red and black.

What is your favorite memory of NIU?
My favorite memory of NIU was walking into the College of Education for my student interview and having Dr. Scott Wickman walk up to me, smiling, and say, “Welcome Joel, we're excited to see you.” I was blown away because I'd never met him, yet he knew exactly who I was. I knew in that moment I was in the right place.

Who has influenced your professional path?
I would say that Dr. Wickman was definitely the largest influencer of who I am as a professional. He gave me permission to be myself, unapologetically, and supported my vision of what being a professional meant to me.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
I wanted to be an actor/entertainer. While I am not doing that, I know that who I am today, and what I am doing, is exactly who I am supposed to be and what I was meant to do. The truth is that my life led me to my career, I just didn't know it at the time. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, even the bad stuff, but if we allow ourselves the opportunity to listen to the universe then we'll find our direction.

Are you a member of or hold a position within a professional organization? If so, what organization? What is the purpose of that organization and how does being part of this organization benefit you in your role at NIU?
I am a member of the American Counseling Association, as well as a past-president of the LGBTQIA division. The ACA is the national organization for professional counselors and counseling educators. Through my participation with this organization not only have I grown as a professional, but I received opportunities that I never would have had if I had not been a member. The two books that I have published came directly out of my involvement with the national organization.

What community organizations are you involved in?
I currently volunteer with Naperville Pride. As a queer person of color, it is important to me to not only give back, but also to be visible so that actively, and passively, I can be a role model for individuals out there who are considered (or feel) “less than” to show them that there are people who look like them or have traveled similar paths as them and were able to achieve great things with their lives.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
I am an avid gamer (video) as well as a reader of science-fiction fantasy. As a child, I used these mediums to escape into other worlds and dream of a better future. While I no longer need to dream of a better future, my passion for gaming and reading keep me dreaming.

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