Mitchell Huftalin

Mitchell Huftalin

#PeopleofNIU Photo by Danielle Guerra/Institutional Communications

Hometown: Winnebago, IL

Year: Anticipated graduation: May 2019

Major: Communication Studies and Spanish Business and Translation

Are you attending NIU on any scholarships? Which one(s)?
I received a merit scholarship upon being admitted to NIU, and I have received the Forward Together Forward Scholarship and the Kevin D. Knight Institutional Tuition Waiver.

Why did you choose your field of study?
I originally came to NIU as a Spanish Language & Literature major with intentions of getting a teacher licensure. When I decided I did not want to pursue education as a career, I kept my Spanish major and changed the emphasis to Business and Translation. No matter what career I chose, I knew I wanted to learn a second language to expand the amount of people I could help. I added on the Communication Studies major to learn more about what it takes to communicate effectively personally and as a group in a professional atmosphere.

How did you learn about NIU, and why did you choose to attend?
I had several family members attend NIU and I have always heard of the university growing up, as I had District Band festivals held in DeKalb. I chose to attend NIU when I learned that I could major in Spanish and also be a teacher. Though I did not ultimately go into education, I stayed because there were so many supportive people that were willing to help me figure out my goals and aspirations for my future.

Are you involved in any activities at NIU? What else do you do for fun/hobbies in your spare time?
During my first two semesters, I was involved in the Residence Hall Association (RHA) and the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH). Through RHA, I was the Public Relations Officer for Stevenson Hall Council my freshman year.

I also had a number of on-campus jobs during my first-two years at NIU. I gave tours in residence halls as a Tour Coordinator, I became an Orientation Leader during the summer of 2016, I was a Community Advisor for Stevenson Residence Hall my sophomore year, and I became a Northern Ambassador for the Admissions Office and a Student Success Team member for the First- and Second-Year Experience (FSYE) Office at the end of my second year.

Now a senior, I am still a Student Success Team member for FSYE and I am now a Northern Ambassador Student Coordinator. When I am not working, I am the Vice President of Fundraising and Leadership for the Pleiades Chapter of Mortar Board at NIU, a senior honor society. Additionally, I am a part of the Huskie Food Pantry Leadership Team and volunteer at the on-campus food pantry every Thursday night at the Chick Evans Field House.

What has been your favorite event at NIU, and why?
My favorite event at NIU is the annual NIU Cares Day. I have always had a passion for community service and loved when I heard about this event. It is very inspiring to wake up early on a Saturday morning to see all your fellow NIU students going out into the surrounding communities to help where it is needed. It is always a choice to help others, and it is so comforting to see so many NIU students make that great choice every year.

What do you like about our campus and community?
I have always admired the amount of support given to students at NIU by the community. Whether I needed help figuring out my major, getting a job on campus, or finding out how to get involved, NIU has offered me so much to help guide my decisions. No matter what I need help in, I know that someone at this university will be able to help me.

What has your experience inside the classroom been like at NIU?
I have really enjoyed my experience in the classroom at NIU. As a Spanish major, I had small class sizes that allowed me to practice the language while also getting to know other students in the same program. Even when the class sizes were in the hundreds, I still felt comfortable because the professors are always willing to help, along with any Graduate Teaching Assistants that were in the classrooms.

What is something you have experienced at NIU that you will be able to take with you into future endeavors in your field?
I believe my on-campus positions as a Northern Ambassador for Admissions and Student Success Team member for FSYE have really opened my eyes to the amount of support that this university offers to students. No one student is the same, and NIU takes pride in that. I believe NIU has definitely taught me to take everything as a unique experience, doing my best to make sure everyone feels valued and accepted in all aspects of life.

Would you recommend NIU to others and why? What’s a general piece of advice you’d give to someone starting college?
I would definitely recommend NIU to others. No matter your background, you have a place at NIU. Get out there, join some organizations, and experience everything that NIU has to offer. Though I’ve done a lot during my time here at NIU, my only regret is that I haven’t done more.

What is up next for you after your time at NIU? Any career aspirations you would like to share?
I am currently looking to attend NIU for a little bit longer as I look to get a Master of Science degree in Adult and Higher Education. If I know one thing about my future, it is that I will be helping people become the best they can be. I plan to work at a college or university to help other students like me realize their dream and help them achieve it.

Any family or other loved ones you would like to mention?
College does not come easy to everyone. I would not be here without the support of my family and friends. And of course, my fiancé, who will also graduate from NIU this upcoming May.

What is your favorite place to hang out in the DeKalb area and why?
If I am not on campus, you can either find me at Thai Pavilion in downtown DeKalb or at the local Starbucks. I can’t get enough of either of these places.

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