Zabrina Burford

Professional Services, Asian American Resource Center

Zabrina Burford

What year did you start working at NIU?

Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
I'm from the Ozarks. I live in DeKalb now.

In what department do you work?
The Asian American Resource Center within the Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Where did you attend school? What degree(s) did you earn?
I earned a B.A. in anthropology at the University of Arkansas. 

Do you have a college age or college-bound student?
I have a spring '20 college grad in my family (whew!).

Describe your typical day—what do you do while at work?
I mostly do the same things working from home that I would have done in the office, except now with a cat on my lap. I look forward to working face-to-face with the other staff and students! 

What do you like about working at NIU?
I love seeing how dedicated the people within ADEI are in trying to work from the perspective of the students' needs first.

What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
Expand your horizons! At NIU there are so many opportunities to try new things literally at your doorstep. 

What is your favorite campus event?
I love the excitement when fall semester starts. Optimism and possibilities give a bounce to our steps.

In what ways do you see your colleagues help foster student success?
I see my colleagues trying to round out the whole person to equip them for future success. College is about more than knowledge acquisition. Students experience social and emotional growth, too. 

What is your favorite memory of NIU?
I'm a big fan of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. My favorite memories are attending performances and exhibits at various venues around campus.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
I believed I had potential to be almost anything, yet I never narrowed my vision to a particular career path. However, I was sure that I wanted to be a good person who was a positive influence on those around me. Am I currently doing that? I hope so!

What community organizations are you involved in?
I have had many volunteer roles at the Newman Center in the last 20 years, and I continue to be active there. I also volunteered extensively with the Sycamore School District and AYSO while my children were enrolled, although they are both done now. I just accepted a board position this fall with Common Grounds in downtown DeKalb to help move forward the CG4 Arts Initiative.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
I love to walk in the regional forest preserves and prairies. I also try to take time to enjoy how the light changes at dusk and dawn each day. Being fully present in my surroundings, wherever I happen to be, is what relaxes me.

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