Megan Nordstrom is a communicative disorders major with emphasis on speech-language pathology, from Galva, IL
Hometown: Galva, IL
Year: Expected graduation: May 2022
Major: Communicative disorders, emphasis in speech-language pathology
What scholarships did you receive and why did you receive them? How has the financial support impacted your experience at NIU?
Currently, I am receiving two scholarships from NIU. I am receiving a housing grant from Huskie Marching Band and the NIU Scholars Scholarship. In high school, I worked really hard on my study habits, test-taking skills and organization. Spending so much time improving those skills when I was younger allowed me to receive scholarships that allow me to continue my education. In high school, I was in marching band. I wanted to continue this activity in college as well. All members of the NIU Huskie Marching Band are eligible to receive scholarships for every year they are involved. After I am done with college, I will have much less of a financial burden, thanks to the generous donors of the scholarships I am receiving.
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 remember being indecisive about this topic when I was younger, up until junior year of high school. A few ideas I had were veterinarian, elementary school teacher, musician and biomedical engineer. I eventually decided that I would pursue speech-language pathology with hopes of practicing in an elementary school.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
I am majoring in communicative disorders with an emphasis on speech-language pathology. I am double-minoring in deafness and family and child studies. Helping others is genuinely something that I love to do, and I wanted to pursue a career where doing so would be my primary focus. I was able to job-shadow a speech pathologist at my local elementary school throughout my senior year of high school, and I fell in love with the profession.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
I love the sense of community on campus. Everywhere I go, I always see somebody I know! This was important to me when choosing what college to attend. My hometown is small, and everyone knows each other. I have loved having a continuation of a strong sense of community since coming to NIU; it is really comforting to me.
How have you connected with other students at NIU?
I got involved on campus! First, I joined Huskie Marching Band and then other clubs and organizations across campus. Getting involved is the best thing I have done in college so far. I have met so many amazing people who inspire me and push me to do my best.
Are you involved in any student organizations or extra-curricular activities? If so, which ones? How have they added to your experience as a Huskie?
Currently, I am the president of NIU Music & Memory, president of the DeKalb National Stuttering Association, vice president of the Communicative Disorders Student Association (COMDSA), and one of the mellophone section leaders for Huskie Marching Band. I am also involved in Autism Caregivers Group and pep band. I am extremely grateful to have been involved in all of these organizations, especially as a student leader of many. Being a leader in campus organizations has taught me professionalism, communication and discipline. I also enjoy communicating with the faculty advisors for the executive boards I serve on. It is a great way to learn more from professionals outside of the classroom.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
I have a couple! Dr. Allison Gladfelter inspires me to become the best student and speech pathologist I can be. I have taken both phonetics and language development with her. In class, she has her students think of the material not only as coursework, but also about how they would use it as a practicing clinician in the most effective way possible.
Dr. Thomas Bough is another one of my favorite professors. He has shown me support since I visited NIU as a junior in high school. He is always encouraging to his students and truly wants them to succeed. More than half of the marching band is composed of non-music majors, and Dr. Bough has many teaching points that can be applied outside of marching band, which I really appreciate.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
I love the fourth floor of the Founder's Memorial Library. It is a silent study floor, and I appreciate that when I have an upcoming exam. There is also a great view of campus from the seats by the windows.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
Don't limit yourself! College is a great time to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Also, apply for as many scholarships as you can. NIU has many scholarship opportunities for students to take advantage of.
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
Coming to college and currently, learning how I personally deal with change, is something I have not struggled with before freshman year. I moved to college, and I had to adjust to living on my own and taking care of myself. When classes switched to an online format in spring 2020, I struggled a lot for the first few weeks. It was very hard for me to adapt to the changed world we are now living in and figure out how to learn in an online format. I eventually found a system that worked for me, and it made my classes much easier. Moving forward, I will use the skills I have learned in the past few months to help me continue into the fall 2020 semester. I will be continuing to learn about dealing with change in my life, and I am glad that I have a strong support system of family and friends to help me through it.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I love to either catch up on my favorite Netflix shows, go for walks (especially by the East Lagoon) or grab coffee at the Holmes Student Center.