Music admissions coordinator, School of Music
What year did you start working at NIU?
Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
Sycamore, Illinois, and Sycamore, Illinois.
In what department do you work?
School of Music, College of Visual and Performing Arts
Where did you attend school? What degree(s) did you earn?
Illinois Wesleyan University (business administration, minor in French and Francophone studies); Northern Illinois University (graduate certificate in public management; Master of Public Administration, nonprofit management expected 2022).
Describe your typical day—what do you do while at work?
In the School of Music, there are some days that are more "typical" than others. Over the past 10 months, I have been adjusting to my new role in the School of Music after two years of working for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. There are some similarities between the two positions, including working with students who are interested in either majoring in music or finding a way to be involved with music at NIU - such as all of our ensembles being open to all majors. However, there have been new initiatives within the school, allowing and requiring me to wear many different hats. I've had a lot of opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in the school and across campus for marketing materials - the best being the Mission and Mini Mish photo shoot - and to develop a variety of other systems and processes to aid and engage prospective students as they visit, apply, audition and enroll with the School of Music.
What do you like about working at NIU?
I grew up at NIU, especially within the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Whether it was attending Huskie Pup Camp, Summer in the Arts theatre camps, or Community School of Arts voice lessons, or being around campus with my dad, NIU has always been home. Although I went away for college, having the opportunity to return and work for an institution that played such a large role in my fundamental years has been such a great opportunity. I enjoy working with students to share the different opportunities and experiences at NIU, helping them through the college experience. I want to be the kind of counselor I had in my college search process, so being able to help students find their home at NIU is so special, especially because I have such a strong connection and am a part of this amazing Huskie family. Wherever life takes you, NIU will always welcome you home.
What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
Ask questions and get to know the faculty and staff. We're here to help! Some of the most valuable learning experiences in my college career came from going to office hours, connecting with faculty and asking questions. Everyone wants to see you succeed. So, while there's a lot of work you as a student have to put in, asking for help is one of the best skills to develop.
Also, learn to adapt. I'm a planner, but what I learned in college was that nothing ever goes according to plan, and that's ok. Being able to adapt, while easier said than done and sometimes challenging or disorienting, will help you appreciate the new experiences that come your way. You'll often learn something really important about yourself in the process. Which also circles back to that first piece of advice - ask questions. We've all needed some extra guidance at one point or another, especially when we have to adapt, but Huskies Never Quit.
What is your favorite campus event?
It's not so much an event as it is just being around the Music Building for rehearsals. Walking through the halls and hearing students make amazing music...it's a great feeling.
In what ways do you see your colleagues help foster student success?
Our music faculty is amazing. When you're a music major, you're not just attending classes. You're involved in ensembles and work with your area faculty member during lessons every week. The support, collaboration and creativity that faculty invest in our students and their experiences is inspiring.
I've also been very fortunate to have many colleagues I look to as friends and mentors - it helps us all learn and grow, which we can then translate into how we work with students.
What is your favorite memory of NIU?
It goes back a a good 10 years now...yikes! I've met some of my best friends at NIU through theatre camp. I've been in some of their weddings and they're going to be in mine in the next few months. I treasure those memories of being crazy campers who have turned into lifelong friends, regardless of the distance.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
What did I want to be? Depended on the day, it seems! I still don't really know what I want to do when I grow up. I do love working with nonprofits and educational institutions - something that I discovered more in my college internship experiences. Being involved with nonprofits and volunteering has been a fundamental piece of my life, so working with nonprofits and going into the world to do good work is the biggest part of the dream job. Though getting paid to travel the world and eat delicious food is always a good option, too.
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've held different department committee roles within my different positions at NIU and have some connections to organizations through my graduate program. I am looking forward to increasing my involvement with organizations both in and outside NIU.
What community organizations are you involved in?
Currently I am looking to do more volunteering in the community. My work and graduate school schedule have changed pretty frequently in the last few years, especially with a lot of travelling, so I haven't had a set time to be able to go and volunteer. However, I'm starting to be able to set more of a consistent routine so I'm excited to be a volunteer in the Sycamore/DeKalb community again.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I love to bake and I'm learning how to paint. However, most often I spend time with Ian, my fiance, to relax and recharge. We love playing games with our friends. Some friends are local, so dinner and game nights are always great. However, a lot of our family members and friends are across the state and Midwest, so lately (especially with current circumstances) it's been a lot of virtual Jackbox sessions or hanging out in a large group call doing our own thing but still being together.