Dakota Montavon is a transfer management major from DeKalb, IL
Hometown: DeKalb, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2023
Transfer from: Kishwaukee Community College
What scholarships did you receive and why did you receive them? How has the financial support impacted your experience at NIU?
I received the Dennis and Stacey Barsema Endowment in Social Entrepreneurship, the Robert M. Youngmeyer Scholarship Endowment and the Steven and Elizabeth Young Family Scholarship.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
I wanted to be a professional dancer. I pursued that before taking the initial leap to NIU.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
My major is management with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and social responsibility. I’m also pursuing a professional sales certificate. I had a mentor at Kish encourage me to pursue business. I knew I wanted to make a difference, but I had no idea how to channel my intentions. This degree path has steered me in the right direction to start leaving a lasting legacy.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
How supportive my instructors have been. I'm excited to take these relationships with my teachers into the future and form lasting friendships/mentorships.
How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
Recently, one of my management classes created a group chat so that we could attend the NIU career fair together as a team. We'll go from table to table supporting one another and giving each other the confidence to do our best.
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?
The Global Circular Challenge through the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics. Dr. Mooney submitted a group of my peers and I into this challenge!
What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
The Department of Management, because they provided me with resources and connections to further my career goals. The Department of Marketing, because everyone is so close/supportive there. The sales program has felt like an amazing family environment, and with them I've been able to sharpen my skills as a future business professional.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
Chuck Howlett. He's had a tremendous impact on my ability to communicate with others effectively and continues to push me outside my comfort zone. He teaches the professional selling class at Barsema Hall.
How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
There is power in showing up—in our relationships, careers and vocations. Classes are no different. You get what you give. I'm never the same person when I leave class. I always leave a little better because I have attended class.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
Cast Iron Coffee. It's so inviting, warm and calming, and they have some of the best coffee in the community. It's an amazing study spot.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
Take your time. Don't feel pressured to go right away if it's not the right fit currently. Pursue what you are curious and passionate about, and if school is calling you, then pursue it. I didn't know I wanted to go back to school until I was in my late 20s.
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
Allow myself to be a student. Most of my college experience, I've been working full time as well as being a full-time student. It's been challenging to be as involved as I wish to be. I finally was able to save enough to feel comfortable moving to a part-time job for the semester. Now I can be the student I've always dreamed of being. I am able to form relationships with my peers/teachers and take advantage of all the resources NIU has to offer.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I love hiking, rock climbing, reading and taking spontaneous adventures with my girlfriend. I also have a guilty pleasure of watching dads play video games on Twitch.tv.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
It's taken a long road to get here, but I am so grateful to be a Huskie. It's truly felt like home these past few years, and I will look back on my experiences here fondly. My second chance in college was a moment I won't forget. Thank you.