Erin Hernandez

Erin Hernandez

#PeopleofNIU Photo by Wade Duerkes/Institutional Communications

Hometown: Chicago

Year: Senior

Major: Political Science and Spanish

Why did you choose NIU?

As a first generation college student, I chose NIU because I wanted to broaden my horizons outside of Chicago and I was interested in NIU's language programs and the political science program. I had friends at NIU and I have family that have graduated from NIU so I wanted to keep that tradition going.

Why should other students choose NIU?

NIU has a great community and you will always find somewhere to fit in. There are over 300 organizations students can join. There are summer trips you can take part in and grant program opportunities. I also like to think that NIU really takes time to listen to students.

I found my home in Dream Action NIU, a student-led organization that advocates for undocumented students. I've made so many friends through Dream Action and I've become more civically engaged. I've participated in student activism and I've lobbied to help improve conditions for students that are undocumented and that has helped me learn a lot about political activism.

What are you studying and why?

I’m studying political science because I love to study politics; I'm interested in why the average American voter votes a certain way, the history of politics, the political movements, it all really interests me ever since I was in high school. When I graduated from high school I applied for an internship at a government office, and from that internship I decided this is where I want to be, this is why I want to study political science, why I want to study statistical data and how it all relates to the legislation that’s being put forward or the reason why people vote a certain way.

What do you like most about NIU?

I've made long-lasting relationships with so many people here at NIU, including a lot of faculty and staff who have helped me become aware of other opportunities and have mentored me into the student that I am today. Heading into graduation, I feel prepared with the knowledge and skills needed for the real world thanks to my professors who encouraged me and motivated me to achieve my goals. I’ve done so much volunteering and work here at NIU and NIU has helped me financially and has helped me grow as a student.

What most surprised you about NIU?

My parents had never been to college, so I didn’t have that background knowledge and I had to rely on other family to gain that knowledge. I was most surprised with the level of independence that we get as students but also, with how helpful everyone is. If you have a problem someone is always there to see if you need help. I think that is what surprised me the most. The change in environment but also the change in people.

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