Shakaria Smith

Student success coach, TRIO Student Support Services

Shakaria Smith

What year did you start working at NIU?

Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
My hometown is Chicago. I currently live in DeKalb.

In what department do you work?
TRIO Student Support Services

Where did you attend school? What degree(s) did you earn?
I attended Northern Illinois University for both my bachelor's and master's degrees. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in family and child studies, family and individual development, and a Master of Science degree in education, adult and higher education

If you attended college, were you a first-generation student?

Describe your typical day—what do you do while at work?
A typical day for me at work consists of recruiting, programming and outreach to current and prospective NIU students. 

What do you like about working at NIU?
I love the student culture on the campus of NIU. It is very exciting working with such a wide range of students. 

What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
I would advise students who are currently attending NIU to get involved on campus; NIU offers a variety of student organizations. Student involvement opens to many networking opportunities for students. Student involvement also helps students gain a variety of transferable skills. 

What is your favorite campus event?
My favorite campus event is NIU Cares Day. NIU Cares Days gives NIU students the opportunity to give back to the community. 

In what ways do you see your colleagues help foster student success?
Creating an inclusive and safe space for students. 

What is your favorite memory of NIU?
Graduating from NIU. Being the first in my family to graduate from college was a great accomplishment. 

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
Growing up as a child I always knew I loved helping others. Helping others has always been very rewarding to me. I did not know in particular what I wanted to do as a career. It was not until I became very involved on campus as an undergraduate that I realized I wanted to work in higher education. I wanted to be able to impact students and help them succeed while being a student at NIU.  

What do you do to relax or recharge?
I love to hang around my friends and watch reality television shows. 

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
I am a member of the "Enchanting" Eta Delta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. 

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