Diana Jarocki

Diana Jarocki

#PeopleofNIU Photo by Danielle Guerra/Institutional Communications

Hometown: Libertyville, IL

Major: Communicative Disorders

Transfer from: Loyola University

Are you attending NIU on any scholarships? Which one(s)?
Yes, the NIU Foundation Impact Scholarship, Honors Fellow stipend and Community Health Endowment.

What is your major, and why did you choose your field of study?
My major is communicative disorders with an emphasis in audiology. I genuinely have a drive to help others. That being said, I also wanted to choose an area of study where I would be able to leave my mark, whether that was on a small or large scale. I also always knew I had a passion for people and, specifically, the more health-focused side of things. Putting that all together, I knew I needed something challenging, and also based around human well-being.

How did you learn about NIU, and why did you choose to attend?
I learned about NIU from my brother and three cousins that all attended here at the same time in the fall of 2016. I was attending another university I quickly learned was not for me. I had to explore options that would allow me to pursue my passions, while at the same time allow me to grow as an individual. My family assured me they were given great opportunities during their time there, and they had a tremendous support system. I took their word for it and transferred from Loyola University a semester later. I haven’t looked back since. Today, I not only have tremendous opportunities academically here, but I have also discovered a fire within me that I do not expect will be going out anytime in the near future.

Are you involved in any activities at NIU? What else do you do for fun/hobbies in your spare time?
I’m the vice president of the Communicative Disorders Student Association (COMDSA), vice president of scholarship for Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, a peer mentor and member of the advisory committee within the AHCD college, a fellow in the NIU Honors Program, a member of Deaf Pride, a mentor in the Transfer2Tranfer Program and a teaching assistant on COMD classes. I’m also part of Tau Sigma Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and am involved in research through my own independent study. In my spare time, I absolutely love to experiment with baking and going to shelters to play with puppies (who doesn’t?). Also, like many individuals, I love kicking back and watching my favorite shows on Netflix.

What has been your favorite event at NIU, and why?
My favorite event at NIU thus far has been the Diversity Dialogue with Jane Elliott, the pioneer of the famous “Blue Eye Brown Eye” experiment. Not only was it fascinating to have a celebrity in the world of psychology in DeKalb, but it was inspiring to hear her journey post experiment. She highlighted the importance of anti-racism and the importance of taking the time to listen to the perspectives of others.

What do you like about our campus and community?
What I like about our campus and community is how diverse it is. Everyone here shares a set of a unique experiences, and that all comes together and is truly seen inside and outside the classroom. Though there are differences, it strengthens the community rather than breaks it down, and that is something so beautiful to see.

What has your experience inside the classroom been like at NIU?
My experiences inside the classroom here have been unique and truly amazing. I notice that in this school specifically, the professors don’t only see you as a paying student, but as an individual, first and foremost. They take the time to get to know you and your strengths, and, in turn, help you succeed.

What is something you have experienced at NIU that you will be able to take with you into future endeavors in your field?
I have had a lot of experience in research that I will be able to take directly with me into the field. I started off as a research assistant my sophomore year looking at speech kinematics and finished off my career here doing my own independent study and honors capstone focusing on the pediatric population and vestibular anomalies. Though I may only be helping a few people here, the techniques and knowledge I have acquired will hopefully assist me on a global scale in the future.

Would you recommend NIU to others and why? What’s a general piece of advice you’d give to someone starting college?
I would absolutely recommend NIU to anyone considering it. Here, you are not only a student, but a person as well. Students are able to utilize their strengths and maximize potential because of the faculty, staff and general community. No one wants to see you fail, and people are always willing to reach out a helping hand. A general piece of advice I would give someone starting college is to never say “what if” or “I’ll do it later.” If you have an opportunity, jump on it. It will not only make you more proactive and successful as a student, but also as a general member of society.

What is up next for you after your time at NIU? Any career aspirations you would like to share?
Up next, I will be going to graduate school to acquire my doctorate in audiology, hopefully at Northwestern University. Post-graduation, I would like to end up at a pediatric research hospital practicing vestibular audiology.

Who are your role models?
There are so many. First and foremost, my parents. They came here to America not knowing a lick of English and managed to raise three children in the American school system, opened their own businesses and constantly broke through barriers. Additionally, professors, such as Allison Gladfelter, Blythe Kitner and Madelyn Anderson, are role models because of the genuine concern and passion they have for their students, as well as the passion they have within their own fields and profession.

Diana Jarocki, a May 2019 graduate, was a first finalist for the 2018 Lincoln Laureate Award.


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