Kobe Baumgartner is a nutrition, dietetics and wellness major from Peotone, IL
Hometown: Peotone, IL
Year: Anticipated graduation year: 2023
Major: Nutrition, dietetics and wellness
What scholarships did you receive and why did you receive them? How has the financial support impacted your experience at NIU?
I received the Huskie Excellence Merit Scholarship for my high academic achievement in high school. Additionally, I was awarded the AIM High Scholarship my freshman and sophomore years, and I won the Balanced Man Scholarship sponsored by Sigma Phi Epsilon my junior year. All of these scholarships have allowed me to focus on succeeding academically without having to worry too much about the financial struggles associated with pursuing a degree.
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, I originally wanted to be a ninja turtle. Once this bubble was burst, I would tell people I wanted to be a chef because I enjoyed cooking, baking and, of course, eating with my family. While I am not in culinary school, I am still pursuing a career that involves food.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
My major is nutrition, dietetics and wellness with a minor in biological sciences. I was originally majoring in biology on the pre-medicine track with a minor in nutrition. My plan was to go to medical school after undergrad and become an endocrinologist to treat people with Type 1 diabetes, as I have been living with diabetes since I was 12 years old. After about a year, I realized my original plan was not how I wanted to achieve my goals, so I looked more into my minor and decided to pursue a career as a registered dietitian to become a certified diabetes care and education specialist.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
I have had many pleasant surprises arise during my time at NIU. Reflecting back on my past four years, I am most surprised by how many amazing experiences I have acquired here. Thanks to all of the opportunities NIU has presented me with, I have been able to grow into a tenacious and accomplished individual.
How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
Luckily, I have had some awesome professors that have made it their duty to foster an environment that promotes connection and collaboration. Additionally, I have participated in many different organizations and events on campus to meet new people and form new friendships.
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?
My student involvement includes Student Dietetic Association president and Wellness Crew leader/certified peer educator for Student Wellness. Both of these positions have taught me about the importance of strong leadership, organization, community service and collaboration. Additionally, I have participated in NIU's Signing Huskies, Bread for the World, Kappa Omicron Nu and Sigma Phi Epsilon throughout the years to diversify myself and become more involved on campus.
What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
NIU Student Wellness has had the most impactful influence on my success here at NIU. As a student, I have taken their advice and guidance with me through the years to help ensure I stay on track for success while taking care of myself. As a member of the Wellness Crew, it has provided me with opportunities that have supported my professional growth and development. Resources like the Writing Center and Career Services have also been great in helping me succeed.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
One of my favorite instructors has been Dr. Julie Patterson. I have had Dr. Patterson for NUTR 310, 409, 410 and 429. In all of these courses, whether in person or virtual, she has made the success and well-being of her students her top priority. Additionally, her passion and love for nutrition has truly inspired me to never stop learning, growing and helping others.
How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
Attending class regularly has allowed me to remain engaged in my coursework and be successful. Also, going to class promotes connection and collaboration amongst myself and my peers.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot on campus is the Recreation Center. I enjoy working out at the rec to help keep myself healthy and destress. I enjoy being at the rec so much that I actually work there as a group fitness instructor. For over two years now, I have taught Dance Fitness one to two nights a week for students to attend.
What advice would you give to a student who is researching colleges to apply to?
I think visiting the college or area is very important. It is so hard to get a feel for the college from their website or a virtual open house. Once you are actually on the campus, you can better visualize whether or not it is the right fit for you.
Why is a college education important to you?
Entering the field of health care has been a goal of mine since the start of high school. In order to do this, a college education is necessary. Even after obtaining a college education, it is important to continue learning. This may look like pursuing a master's degree, a specific certification or conducting research. Whatever it is, furthering the advancement of your respective field is a responsibility all health care professionals and students bear.
What strategies do you use to manage your time between the responsibilities of school, work, friends and family?
At the beginning of each semester, I look over the syllabi for my classes and write down all my assignments in my planner. Then, I create time-blocks to ensure I have time to complete all my schoolwork, along with my work responsibilities, my social life and self-care.
How do you stay informed about events and services that are available on campus?
Reviewing the weekly announcements sent to our school email is a great way to remain informed about events and services available on campus. Also, looking over the bulletin boards in the Holmes Student Center, DuSable Hall and other buildings on campus is a good way to learn about what is going on, too.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
To relax and recharge, I will go to the Recreation Center to get out some of my pent-up energy from sitting at my laptop all day. I also try to stop working on schoolwork later at night to spend time with my fiancé or friends playing games, going out to eat or exploring the DeKalb/Sycamore area.
Please tell us about your job and hobbies.
I have two on-campus jobs. I work at NIU Recreation as a group fitness instructor for Dance Fitness, and I work as a certified peer educator/Wellness Crew leader for Student Wellness. Student Wellness focuses on providing activities and events to students that promote harm reduction behaviors, stress management strategies and the use of campus resources. In the past, we have provided paint nights, De-stress Fest and Procrastination Café, and we plan to keep providing similar and better opportunities to students to help them take care of themselves and succeed in college. My hobbies outside of work include being active, exploring new restaurants and businesses, anything Marvel or superhero related, and traveling. My fiancé and I are trying to make it to all 50 states, and we have made it to 14 so far. Also, I like to cook and learn new recipes, and I am a big coffee fanatic.
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