Emelina Johnson is an audiology doctoral student from Lombard, IL
Hometown: Mendota, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2023
Major: Doctor of Audiology program
Transfer from: College of DuPage
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
My career path changed every year while I was growing up. My main goal was to help people, so it ultimately came down to audiology or physical therapy. I realized that I was more interested in audiology than anything else and have never looked back!
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
I’m in my third year of the Doctor of Audiology program. My parents are Deaf, so I grew up in two communities, the hearing community and the Deaf community. I learned a lot about Deaf culture, and as I got older, I learned more about how technology is changing people's views on the Deaf community. I decided to become an audiologist to advocate for the Deaf, educate parents about the culture and give them more options than some are given now.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
The opportunities that NIU provides, especially within the Au.D. program. We are very hands-on when we are in the clinic, from the very beginning. I've had external preceptors comment on how well-prepared NIU students are for clinic. We have the opportunity to explore our interests in our field through external rotations, conferences, guest speakers and humanitarian trips. It is really a well-rounded experience that has exceeded all of my expectations.
How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
Getting involved! It is the best way to connect with people. NIU has so many clubs and activities that you're guaranteed to find one based on your interests. Look within the department; there's likely to be a club related to your major. That's the best way to make friends and form study groups.
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! In my undergrad I was a member of the Communicative Disorders Student Association, NIU Signing Huskies-ASL Club and Mortar Board Honor Society. Now, I am a member of the Student Academy of Audiology and am still involved with the NIU Equestrian Team. Through these clubs I have met so many people, developed professionally and learned more about my major outside of school. The Equestrian Team has been my favorite. I never thought I'd be a "lifer," but here I am! I've learned so much, had the chance to compete and coach, and have met so many of my closest friends through the team.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
It's so hard to pick just one; each of my professors have had such an impact on my life. While I've grown so much with each preceptor in clinic, I've always struggled to come out of my shell. Dr. Blythe Kitner has really pushed me to socialize and speak up whenever I need to. I was with her in the clinic last semester, and she made me feel confident in my clinical skills and when speaking to patients.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite place is the East Lagoon; it is always so quiet and relaxing. Whenever I walk or run, I make sure to go around the lagoon. Also, whenever I need a break from schoolwork, I go to the lagoon to read or just hang out.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
Find a college that aligns with your interests and values. Somewhere you can join any club/activity you're interested in. Two of the reasons I chose NIU for undergrad and grad school was because it was close to home and I could be on the Equestrian Team. I knew that I would be most comfortable here if I had those two things. Choose somewhere that makes you feel most comfortable.
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
Not so much coming to college, but I learned a lot when transitioning from undergrad to grad school. I had to completely change my study habits and time management. Now, I can't live without a schedule and have to look a week ahead before deciding which assignments I need to be working on.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I'm usually either at school or work. But in between I like to watch a lot of Netflix, go to the barn at school or at home to see our horse, and hang out with friends/family.