James Keppler is a business administration and finance major from Aurora, IL
Hometown: Aurora, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2023
What scholarships did you receive and why did you receive them? How has the financial support impacted your experience at NIU?
I received an NIU merit scholarship as a freshman, and I also received the Huskie Marching Band scholarship. The financial support gave me the freedom to try new things while at NIU, and it also allowed me to focus more on schoolwork and extracurriculars that I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise.
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 growing up, I knew I liked to deal with numbers. I always succeeded in my math classes in grade school, and I knew I wanted to do something with numbers. I chose finance as one of my majors because it challenged me to use concepts I learned in grade school and take them to a whole new level by applying them to business functions.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
I am pursuing a double major in business administration and finance. I originally was set on business administration because I liked having the option to take a multitude of business classes in different departments. I also chose finance after my first semester because I knew I wanted to focus on that in my career.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
The most pleasant surprise about my experience here has been the faculty support. As I made more connections with my professors throughout my journey, I have been able to make connections and have genuine conversations with them that don't necessarily relate to classwork. This has been extremely beneficial because a lot of professors here have worked in their respective field, so chances are they have other connections.
How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
Being brutally truthful, the first semester of college can be very challenging! After my first semester, I started seeing familiar people in more of my classes, and that was the first way I started to make friends. As you go on, you'll meet more people just by seeing them in more of your classes. Getting together to work on assignments is a great starting point, and from there it can turn out to be a great way to make friends!
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 have been involved in the Huskie Marching Band and NIU Pep Band for my entire college journey. I am also a member of the Dean's Student Advisory Board for the College of Business, a member of the NIU CFA Research Competition team, an analyst for the NIU Student Managed Portfolio and a finance peer tutor. Being involved in so much has been a great way for me to stay connected to the university. Being able to show my school pride in each activity has helped me stay engaged with my professors and peers. Also, being able to give back by being a peer tutor is a great way for me to show my gratitude to the department and the school!
What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
The Department of Management has been a great resource. I have had a great experience in my classes for the business administration side, and the professors and advisors have been great resources to lean on in times when I needed the most help.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
My overall favorite instructor has been Dr. Gina Nicolosi. She teaches the Student Managed Portfolio, and while I have had her as a professor for a short time, the way she teaches really resonates with me. She is also the faculty advisor for the CFA Research Challenge team, so I am looking forward to working with her more when the competition starts!
How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
Attending class regularly enables you to make those connections with peers and professors. Attending college online in 2020/2021 was nice because it allowed me to be home with my family, but I really felt the repercussions of what I was missing out on when I came back to campus in the fall of 2021. Having that connection with peers is just so necessary to succeed nowadays, in my opinion!
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot on campus is out behind Barsema Hall. At the end of the day when the sun is going down, there are not many people out there and it is just so quiet and peaceful, which is a great way to end the day!
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
Even though you might be set on one school, apply to more if you can, to get a feel for the market. Don't be closed off to other opportunities because every school has different scholarships and programs, so don't settle when you don't have to.
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
Making friends was definitely something I had to learn to do differently. College is the best time to get comfortable being uncomfortable. As an introvert myself, it's important to ask questions and ask for help when you need it, whether that be with professors or peers.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
My favorite thing to do to relax is go on a walk and listen to music. Music is a great way to channel out your thoughts. I have playlists for different moods I'm in, and I have found it to be a great way to calm down, relax and recharge after a long day!