Kenny Hernandez is a English and communication studies double major from Bolingbrook, IL
Hometown: Bolingbrook, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2025
What scholarships did you receive and why did you receive them? How has the financial support impacted your experience at NIU?
I received the NIU Merit Scholarship for my high school performance, and I've recently earned the Orville and Adra Baker Scholarship for my performance in the English department. The financial support has been greatly appreciated in motivating me to continue making the most of the opportunity I've been given here.
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 an artist. I've since gone on another path, but I still want to harness that creativity in my future career as a writer.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
I am majoring in English, focusing on writing. English was always my favorite subject in school, and I especially found a certain fondness for creative writing. I am also a communication studies major, with a corporate and business focus. English is my passion and pairs especially well with a communication studies degree in the professional world.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
I've thoroughly enjoyed spending my time on campus. There are many places you can sit down, listen to some music, and just study, read or even take a breather before your next class. You might even run into someone you know!
How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
I started to engage more in my classes. In the English department, I was surrounded by many people who shared my passions, and I found many great people to call my friends. The great thing is that as I've continued through my major, I've run into many of the same people and still meet tons of cool people.
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 a tutor at the Writers' Workshop. I've enjoyed taking on the experience and aiding the students who come in for help. It helped me to not only see myself as a student here, but also as a member of the community.
What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
The English department and communication department have been great successes. Many professors have been a great help and done a great job of motivating me to keep up my education and consider future careers and opportunities.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
Dr. Joe Bonomo for English 304, Writing About the Arts. His teaching style invited me to think about the process of writing criticism in a novel way. Through the workshop setting in his class, I was constantly invited to look to my peers for inspiration and was considered an equal even though I was one of the youngest people in the class. I had a great deal of fun with the writing process, and I've walked away proud of each essay I wrote for that class.
How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
For most courses, attending class regularly sets you on the fast track to success. Days when you are confused about a reading or struggling on an assignment are the days when showing up to class can help you out. Most teachers are there to help!
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
I love studying in Watson Hall. It's always very quiet there, perfect for reading.
What advice would you give to a student who is researching colleges to apply to?
Northern Illinois University has a great deal of passionate professors and students who make the experience great. If you have passion, you can make a great future for yourself here!
Why is a college education important to you?
I want to have a career I am proud of in the future, and a college education is a huge step toward achieving that goal.
What strategies do you use to manage your time between the responsibilities of school, work, friends and family?
Planning ahead to give myself time to relax. I'm aware of how easy it is to get stressed out about all of my responsibilities, so I treat myself every now and then to rest.
How do you stay informed about events and services that are available on campus?
I always check my email in the mornings.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I love to play games, especially Overwatch. I also love to go for walks, listen to music and do a bit of drawing.
Please tell us about your job and hobbies.
I love to read and write (as could be guessed from my major). I work as a tutor for the Writers' Workshop and as a part-time sales associate at Kohl's.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
I'm really proud not only of how I've been able to see great success in my time here at NIU, but also how I've been able to call DeKalb my home.