Zoe Halatek

Zoe Halatek

Zoe Halatek is a medical laboratory sciences major from Joliet, IL

Hometown: Joliet, IL

Year: Expected graduation: 2026

Major: Medical laboratory sciences

What scholarships did you receive and why did you receive them? How has the financial support impacted your experience at NIU?
I am a recipient of the Honors Excellence Award. It was awarded to me because of my leadership and school spirit within the Honors Program and NIU. The extra financial support has allowed me to cut back on hours at work so I can focus on my studies.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
Growing up, I wanted to be a lawyer, but I realized I wanted to pursue medical laboratory sciences because I want to help save lives, and biology and science interest me more than law does.

What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
My major is medical laboratory sciences. My passion for it stems from when I job-shadowed a medical laboratory scientist in the summer of 2022. It made me realize I wanted to help people and provide quality health care.

What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
I have been pleasantly surprised by the sense of community at NIU. I love our school spirit and my classmates' warm and welcoming dispositions.

How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
I make the best friendships by meeting people in my classes or labs. We study outside of class, hang out or just kill time between classes together. Also, I met some good friends and my future roommate at the Honors Program’s Lorado Taft retreat at the beginning of my freshman year.

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 have been a part of the NIU Residence Hall Association. We were a group dedicated to fixing residence hall problems and throwing events to raise school spirit. I had the opportunity to run an event last Valentine's Day to help with students' mental health. Students could make a valentine for a friend, leave a valentine for a stranger and/or take a valentine made by another student. I had a great experience running this event and seeing the happiness on people’s faces. I look forward to throwing this event again to make sure my peers feel a little more cared for as part of the community.

What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
The financial aid office helped break down my aid package and explained everything clearly to me so I could understand this important information.

What Honors Program opportunities or support have helped you get closer to your academic or career goals so far?
With the support of the honors scholarship I receive, it is easier to put my schoolwork first.

What do you enjoy the most about the Honors Program?
The events are my favorite part of the Honors Program. Honors events are a low-pressure setting to make connections. You already have something in common with everybody there, and the events typically have a smaller number of guests, making it easy to make friends.

Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
My favorite instructor has been Professor Madelyn Anderson of my Fundamentals of Communication class. She always took the time to make sure everyone understood the material, and she always helped if you were struggling with a writing assignment. Professor Anderson also gave great tips to help me become a better public speaker, something that doesn't come easy to me.

How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
I find that attending class on a regular basis helps me retain information and form an interest in what the professor is teaching.

Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot on campus is the fourth floor of Founders Memorial Library overlooking the MLK Commons. I love to study or hang out with friends there because the view is beautiful and calming. Seeing other people going about their day below makes me remember why I chose to attend NIU: the people.

What advice would you give to a student who is researching colleges to apply to?
I would tell students applying to colleges to go where you feel you belong. Trust your gut and remember the qualities that make you feel like you're at home.

Why is a college education important to you?
A college education is important to develop important skills that will benefit me throughout my life and career. Additionally, college is a great opportunity to form lasting and meaningful relationships and connections that will help build my future career.

What strategies do you use to manage your time between the responsibilities of school, work, friends and family?
I use a planner to keep track of my schedule and make sure I budget enough time for everything I value.

How do you stay informed about events and services that are available on campus?
The honors newsletter has proven the most helpful for me to keep informed of events provided by the university and the Honors Program.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
After a long day of classes and work, I find a good book or embroidering helps me relax, especially with music playing and a cup of tea by my side. These get my mind off the day I had, or anything upcoming that I might stress or worry about.

Please tell us about your job and hobbies.
Outside of my classwork, I am a customer service representative at Domino's Pizza. I am also anticipating a second position as a student administrative assistant in the College of Health and Human Sciences. At Domino's, I make pizzas and provide high-quality customer service with a welcoming attitude. In my free time, I enjoy embroidering. Lately, I have been embroidering my backpack, and I plan to embroider my apron next. I also love to bake, read and spend time with my friends.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
I am thankful for the opportunities the Honors Program has provided to help me succeed. Being an honors ambassador is a great experience to help the Huskie community.

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