Luis Barbosa is an elementary education major from Carpentersville, IL
Hometown: Carpentersville, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2024
Major: Elementary Education
Transfer from: Elgin Community College
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 younger, I wanted to be a teacher. As the years went on, my path shifted from wanting to be a math teacher to a special education teacher. I decided to major in teaching because I want to help kids achieve their dreams and goals. As for being a special education major specifically, I was in special education when I was younger, so I wanted to give back to the community that helped me.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
My major is elementary education with an emphasis in special education. I have always wanted to inspire and teach younger kids. I want them to achieve their goals in life. The special education part is because I was in it, and I wanted to help and give back to that community.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
Coming to NIU, I never thought I would succeed here because it was a new place and away from home. As I started my classes, I have found it pleasantly surprising that the teachers really care about you and your success. The students and community were very welcoming of new students who were lost and confused.
How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
That’s actually the best part of being an education major. When you start your "professionals," you have a lot of classes with the same people. Also, with your emphasis, you will be with those specific people the rest of your time at NIU.
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’m involved with Educators Rising, the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) and TRIO. I’m also a mentor in the Transfer2Transfer Mentoring Program. It has added to my experience because I get to meet new people and have new experiences that I wouldn't have had otherwise.
What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
The main resource I have used is the NIU Disability Resource Center. I have a learning disability, and they have helped make sure I’m succeeding in my classes.
What Honors Program opportunities or support have helped you get closer to your academic or career goals so far?
I just joined the Honors Program this past spring, so I haven't been in long enough for the opportunities or support. Starting this school year, I will definitely check out the resources they provide for students.
What do you enjoy the most about the Honors Program?
I have enjoyed the program because they have resources for everything you can imagine. I also like that the advisors are easy to talk to and will help you find experiences and get financial help.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
I have had so many good professors since arriving here in fall 2021. I would say my favorite so far is Vicki Collins. She taught ETR 434 - Assessing Students with Special Needs. She was my favorite because she helped me learn the material very well and she really cared about students’ success in the classroom.
How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
I have benefited by going to class because sometimes you get points for attending and the lectures are very helpful when it comes to studying for tests. Attending class means you won’t miss much, especially if something is due or there are changes to an assignment.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
For meeting up with friends or getting a bite to eat, I would definitely say the Holmes Student Center because they have something for everyone. For studying, I would say my best spot is the fourth floor of the library because it’s usually very quiet.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
I would say take a tour of the college first. While you might like it on paper, it’s not the same as taking a tour. Another one would be to go to class. You’re paying for it, so why not show up?
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
I had to learn how to live on my own and not rely on my parents for anything.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
To relax or recharge I usually watch Netflix or Hulu. I also enjoy going for walks with my nephew and my dog.