Assistant Director of Internal Communications, Web and Internal Communications
What year did you start working at NIU?
Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
I grew up in Sycamore, Illinois, and currently live in Caledonia, Illinois.
In what department do you work?
Web and Internal Communications
Where did you attend school? What degree(s) did you earn?
I attended NIU and earned a B.S.Ed. from the School of Art and Design. Class of 2010!
If you attended college, were you a first-generation student?
Yes. I was the first person in my family to attend college.
Describe your typical day—what do you do while at work?
I work with a variety of campus partners to promote upcoming events; universitywide initiatives and policies; and the accomplishments of our faculty, staff and students. Much of my day is spent attending meetings, formatting emails, designing graphics and writing for a variety of projects. I oversee the weekly announcements, NIU Today, the NIU calendar and the EMMC clearinghouse, so my week is typically busy and full. I enjoy the fact that each day brings new challenges as the university is continually exploring new ideas, improving processes and planning exciting things for Huskies to do.
What do you like about working at NIU?
The university is a wonderful place to work because it is full of great people with great ideas. I have met some of the most inspiring people during my time here. I also appreciate the institution's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion—it's great to work for a place where you feel included and valued. And lastly, I'm grateful for the benefits of having affordable health insurance, a work-life balance and a two-week break for the holidays. It's rare for an employer to provide the amazing benefits we have.
What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
You'll never regret having a college education. It's definitely worth all the time, effort and energy you are putting into it. I can't imagine my life without my NIU degree; well, I can, but it's definitely not a life that is as great as the one I am living. Take advantage of your time at NIU by learning all you can from your professors and peers. You'll form great friendships and relationships during your time here, and those bonds will carry on for years to come. Also, don't be afraid to reach out for help—we all need it every once in a while.
What is your favorite campus event?
I have several. I enjoy the annual sales that take place in several departments on campus, whether it be the ceramics sale that the students in the ceramics program host or the plant sale hosted by the Communiversity Gardens. They are a great way to support Huskies, and who doesn't appreciate a new coffee mug or plant for their garden? I also really enjoy the annual Day of Giving event hosted by the NIU Foundation—it's always inspiring to see faculty, staff, alumni and the community come together to support the university.
In what ways do you see your colleagues help foster student success?
There are too many to list. Every employee at the university works incredibly hard and gives a lot of their time to provide our students with a wonderful experience at NIU. It's really a group effort to ensure that students are learning in a welcoming, clean, safe and fun environment.
What is your favorite memory of NIU?
I started working at NIU immediately after earning my degree from here. I was hired in an extra-help role and was only supposed to work for 900 hours over the course of a summer. But it turns out that I enjoyed working here, and I was able to get a full-time position—so my favorite memory has to be actually getting hired.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
Growing up I wanted to be an artist. I have my degree in art education, but I never went on to teach. In ways, I feel like I am an artist if I use term loosely. My job allows me to be creative, and I use a lot of my artistic skills in the way I perform my job. I am where I am in life because I took advantage of opportunities as they were presented to me.
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?
Nothing official. Mostly secret societies and online communities for higher education marketing professionals. It's helpful to have a network of peers you can reach out to for ideas and strategies that are working well on other colleges campuses.
What community organizations are you involved in?
I just moved to a new town and haven't had a chance to explore many community organizations here. Although I now live in a neighborhood with a "neighborhood watch" program, so I guess I am technically involved in that by default.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I'm definitely middle-aged. When the weather is nice, I'm usually gardening, swimming in the pool, doing home improvement projects or hanging out with my partner and our two dogs. When it's cold outside, I like to build fires in the fireplace, read books and watch Netflix. I also enjoy spending time making art with my niece and playing basketball with my nephews (who are much better at making baskets than I am).