Instructor in School of Nursing
What year did you start working at NIU?
Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
I grew up in Schaumburg, Illinois, and now live in Gilberts, Illinois.
Where did you attend college and what degree(s) have you earned?
NIU, B.S. in nursing
NIU, Master of Science with a concentration in nursing education
University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, Ph.D. in nursing
What do you like about working at NIU?
The environment and the people. There is a great mix of people from various backgrounds who all work or go to school at NIU. It’s great to be part of a diverse campus. Everyone is welcoming and kind.
What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
To take advantage of the resources available. I have worked with the great people at the University Writing Center as well as Dr. Beth McGowan in the library. The campus is beautiful, so take a moment to go out and enjoy the area.
Tell us about a research or engaged learning project you have led.
I just completed my Ph.D. in nursing. For my dissertation research, I conducted a quasi-experimental study examining the breastfeeding attitudes of prelicensure nursing students using an evidence-based breastfeeding module. I have also been involved with some small research projects within the School of Nursing. Now with school completed, I will increase my own research and look for projects to collaborate on within the College of Health and Human Sciences.
What do you hope students take away from your class?
I would like each and every student to take away knowledge and understanding of the course concepts. However, more importantly, I would like each student to learn how to provide compassionate and competent care to every patient they care for in their career. Too many of us live in a bubble of our own experiences and may fail to see what others go though. Being in a diverse and inclusive environment in my classroom and at NIU will hopefully expand their understanding of where people come from. Only then can we get past our own biases and give equitable care to all. The health care environment suffers from significant disparities of care, especially in the maternity care setting. We need to do better as a country.
What is your favorite campus event?
As an educator, I have participated numerous times at STEM Fest and love it each time. As a medical and science-based educator, anything STEM is exciting. It is great to see how technology can affect the world. STEM Fest displays a great collaboration between staff and students at NIU. Remembering back to my time as an undergrad student, I always enjoyed tailgating at football games.
What is your favorite memory of NIU?
I have so many, both as a student and an educator. As a student, I enjoyed the close-knit relationships I developed in the nursing program. We all went through the challenging program and succeeded but also had time for fun. I was a member of Mortar Board and the Student Nurses Organization (SNO) as an undergrad. Those organizations promoted academic performance and community involvement. SNO was so much fun, and I enjoyed becoming friends outside of my nursing cohort. Lastly, I loved going out with friends. Hate to say I have many fond memories at Amnesia, Otto’s and Molly’s. Some of the local bars are still around. Can't forget about Ollie's—still go there to this day!
Who has influenced your professional path?
Numerous faculty over the years have impacted my professional path and led me back to the classroom. Very few are still around from my undergrad days. I am thrilled to work alongside one instructor and a few who mentored me in my master’s program. I was a member of Mortar Board and the Student Nurses Organization (SNO) as an undergrad. Those organizations promoted my leadership skills and attention to detail needed in an executive board role. My desire to keep learning and improving my care has always propelled me to ask questions. Earning my master’s and doctoral degrees have made me a better nurse and a better person. Now, my students continue to inspire me to be better, to learn more knowledge to pass on to them in the classroom and model the type of nurse I hope they become, compassionate and accepting of others.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a nurse, at least back to middle school. So, I am living my dream. But what helped me stay in my profession is the constant desire to learn more and improve my care. Taking on new roles in maternal and infant care, from my specialty at the beside to my doctorate in nursing, have allowed me to not get "burnt out" and leave the profession.
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 multiple professional organizations but do not currently hold any executive board positions. My jobs and schoolwork prevented me from getting more involved up to now. However, I am the faculty advisor for the Student Nurses Organization (SNO) here at NIU. I love my role and how it allows me to interact with the nursing students. SNO is all about the nursing program, community involvement and supporting the role of the nurse. The monthly meetings and various events bring a sense of community to a very challenging academic program. Being able to be a part of it as a faculty member is fantastic; it is full circle from when I was in the SNO as a student.
What community organizations are you involved in?
Much of my involvement is at NIU with SNO and helping in the School of Nursing. Outside of the DeKalb area, I spend the bulk of my time with my family and up to just recently with my other job. That leaves me very little time for other community organizations.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I love to hang out at home with my family and my dogs. I enjoy reading. Often, I combine my love of the outdoors (not winter though) and reading by going out on my deck with a good book on a beautiful day. Each morning I enjoy walking my dogs around my neighborhood. My husband and I often take our dogs for long walks in the forest preserves by our home. Other things I do for fun with my family include going to the movies and Great America. I love roller coasters!
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
I am happy to be an NIU alum—not just for one degree but two—and love working at NIU inspiring new nurses.