Jocelyn Alba

Jocelyn Alba

Jocelyn Alba is a transfer communicative disorders major from Hanover Park, IL

Hometown: Hanover Park, IL

Year: Expected graduation: 2024

Transfer from: Elgin Community College

Why did you choose to attend NIU?
I chose to attend NIU because it’s close to home and affordable for my family. It also had the major that I wanted to study and many on-campus clubs to get involved in.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
When I was growing up, everyone told me I would be a good teacher. However, I knew I wanted to work in the health care field, specifically with children. In high school I thought I would be a nurse and got my certified nursing assistant certificate (CNA) through a high school course. I worked in nursing homes throughout college as a CNA. Now, I’m pursuing a slightly different career: I’m majoring in communicative disorders to become a speech pathologist.

What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
One big reason I wanted to be a speech pathologist is that when my sibling went through speech therapy, I found there was a big need for bilingual speech therapists. I switched from believing I wanted to be a nurse to wanting to be a speech therapist for this reason. After working a second job in a summer camp with children ages 3-6, I found I wanted a field of study where I could work more with children, helping them in Spanish and English.

What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
One thing I have found pleasantly surprising about NIU is that it has a mariachi program. I have been a part of mariachi most of my life, playing violin from middle school until now. I like being able to represent my culture by playing its music.

How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
I often find that through the clubs/activities I’m in, I find people in my major or who have similar interests. We can often study for tests together because we have the same classes.

Are you involved in any student organizations, mentoring programs or extra-curricular activities? If so, which ones? How have they added to your experience as a Huskie?
I am involved in a few student organizations at NIU that have helped me meet new people and make connections on campus, as well as do what I love. Additionally, they help prepare me for my area of study and graduate school. These organizations include leadership roles in Music and Memory and the Hispanic Association of Bilingual Language Acquisition. I am vice president of both organizations. I am also part of the Communicative Disorders Student Association (COMDSA) and the Adela de la Torre Latino Honor Society, as well as a METAS mentor, a community advisor (CA) and a violin player in NIU mariachi.

What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you feel safe, supported and successful? And how?
I feel the offices that have helped me the most are the Latino Resource Center and the housing department. The Latino Resource Center is a great place to learn about resources on campus and the best ways to be successful, as well as to connect with others from similar backgrounds.

Are there transfer-specific resources, offices or services that you use to help you succeed at NIU?
Transfer-specific resources that helped me at NIU included academic advising, which helped me know how to best transfer my credits and made sure I was transitioning okay to NIU.

Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
One of my favorite professors at NIU was Allison Gladfelter, my instructor for phonetics. Although it was a hard course, she wanted to see everyone succeed and gave good instructions on how to help — not just in class but also in our careers as speech pathologists.

How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
I definitely have benefitted from attending class regularly. One of the ways I learn best is by being in person, taking notes and asking questions to clarify things that confuse me. For me, learning can often only be successfully achieved by attending class and being in person.

Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot on campus is the Holmes Student Center because I can go there to study or to have fun and relax. I can even go to the student center to eat. What drew me there are all the different activities you can do and how it is a very open and welcoming space.

What advice would you give to a student who is researching colleges to apply to?
One piece of advice I would give students is to make sure all your credits transfer over in the way you want them to, especially if you are in community college looking to transfer. I decided to go to community college before coming to NIU, but I made sure that what I wanted to study was here at NIU and made sure to pick my classes according to NIU’s requirements for what I wanted to major in. Also, make sure that the college has not just the major you are interested in, but also the resources to make you successful in that area of study.

Why is a college education important to you?
A college education is important to me because my parents worked so hard to make sure I had a better future than they did. My father is an immigrant who did not get the chance to go to college and wanted to give me that opportunity. I also need a college education to learn more about the area I’m passionate about. I always wanted to go to college to learn and expand my knowledge because I have always liked school.

What strategies do you use to manage your time between the responsibilities of school, work, friends and family?
One strategy I use to manage my time is using a planner, so I don’t forget anything. I use this to manage my time and see what assignments and activities I have, as well as how much time I have in between everything.

How do you stay informed about events and services that are available on campus?
I stay informed mostly through social media about events on campus. Almost every organization has an Instagram platform they update with events and other things happening on campus.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
I often take a nap or watch a movie on my computer to relax. Another activity I like to do to relax is play pool at the student center.

Please tell us about your job and hobbies.
My job on campus as a community advisor allows me to connect with many new students and help them to the best of my ability. I am also a METAS mentor and try my best to help my mentee succeed in their classes. Some of my hobbies include playing violin and watching movies/shows.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
I am grateful that NIU has given me the opportunity to be a part of its community. I see a brighter future thanks to the opportunity to learn and study here at NIU.

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