Office support specialist, College of Engineering and Engineering Technology
What year did you start working at NIU?
Jan. 11, to be exact.
Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
Lockport, Illinois, is my hometown. I now live in DeKalb.
In what department do you work?
College of Engineering and Engineering Technology business office
Where did you attend school? What degree(s) did you earn?
I attended NIU and received my B.S. degree in instructional technology, training and evaluation. I will be graduating this spring with my M.S.Ed. degree in higher education and student affairs.
If you attended college, were you a first-generation student?
I was a first-generation student.
Describe your typical day—what do you do while at work?
While at work, I am primarily doing most of the purchasing for College of Engineering and Engineering Technology departments, as well as for our students' senior design capstone projects. I help manage the budget for our college and departments, as well. I also assist our business manager and help our students and staff members when they need help.
What do you like about working at NIU?
I really do love our students. The students were actually the reason I decided to get my master's degree in higher education. I want to continue working with our students, to help them as they navigate their college careers and go out into the world as proud Huskies!
What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
I would advise students to interact with their faculty or staff advisors on a regular basis, to join a student organization to build new friendships and relationships, and to challenge faculty on their beliefs and ideals, so that you can learn and grow with them. No faculty or staff member should ever make you feel as if you can't say something or report something to the right people. Also, make sure that you do not lose focus of how important your role is in your education at NIU.
What is your favorite campus event?
My favorite campus event is graduation. I enjoy being able to pass out the name cards to our graduates and say a final farewell to them as they officially become alumni. There is just something about seeing them smile and seeing how proud they are of their accomplishments.
In what ways do you see your colleagues help foster student success?
We all have different roles in helping our students succeed. The staff in our college really care and are willing to go above and beyond their job duties on a daily basis that does not get recognized. They help with special programs in their departments and the college. They work late to get their jobs done. They do more than required to make sure our students have everything they need and don't have to worry about their paperwork getting completed or if their concerns are being addressed. So, a very special shout-out to the CEET staff for everything they do and for working together to do the best we all can.
What is your favorite memory of NIU?
My favorite memory of NIU was the day I graduated with my first degree. There were many people who didn't think I could do it, and there was a point where I didn't think I could do it. It took me a long time and a lot of discipline to get it done while working for NIU full time, but I did it. I got to walk that stage and celebrate with my family. It was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life, and I'll be able to celebrate again when I graduate this spring with my master's degree. It was a lot of work to balance work, school and a personal life, and many sacrifices had to be made to reach my goals. But I reached them, thanks to the support of my friends and family, especially my mom.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
When I was growing up, I wanted to be a teacher or a forensic scientist. I currently work in higher education and decided to make it a career after learning how much I can help students meet their goals. I also saw a disconnect between faculty and students, primarily in advising, that helped me decide a career in higher education was my calling.
What community organizations are you involved in?
In the NIU community, I'm active on the student conduct board and a staff advisor for Phi Kappa Sigma. Outside of NIU, I'm working with the Liam Foundation out of Rockford. It's a new foundation dedicated to assisting the LGBTQ+ community in the Rockford area by helping them search and apply for grants and other funding.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
To relax, I like to read, watch movies, binge a show on Netflix, go for a hike and travel. In the summer, I love to go scuba diving around the area. Nothing is more relaxing than being 40-100 feet below the surface and seeing the world through a whole new perspective. You can relax in the silence and beauty of a completely different world.