Jose Ortega

Jose Ortega

Jose Ortega is a biomedical engineering major from Cicero, IL

Hometown: Cicero, IL

Year: Expected graduation: May 2023

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Transfer from: Morton College

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
As a child, you will see many careers such as doctors, lawyers, teachers and other things. In my case, there were so many options, I just did not know what to pick or where to start. I fell in love with math in middle school. I looked up to my math teacher because he made math so fun, and I loved to be the best in math. Then in high school, I fell in love with different science classes such as anatomy, physics and chemistry. At this point, I thought to myself, do I want a career in math or science? I did not choose my major until I got my associate degree at Morton College and transferred to NIU. There were many majors to choose from at NIU. I chose biomedical engineering and it has been awesome!

What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
I am majoring in biomedical engineering. I chose this course of study because it incorporates both math and science, which I love very much. We are living in a society with rapidly advancing technology, so majoring in this course of study will help many people in the future.

What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
NIU is very welcoming. Most of the professors I have had are amazing. They care about your future and want you to succeed.

How have you connected with other students virtually to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
Every online class runs differently. Last semester I met a lot of great people in math class because our professor would put us in breakout rooms that let us work with each other to get the work done.

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 joined the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). Here I have met other engineering students who are taking (or have taken) the same classes as me, and it is very helpful.

Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
Linh Nguyen was my Chemistry 110 professor and she is awesome! She gave lectures to help us out with homework and answered every question as completely as possible. She is very organized and knowledgeable.

Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
It easily has to be the central quad. I fell in love with that spot my first time on campus. I sat on a park bench and admired the beauty of nature. It's very peaceful, too.

What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
College is a fun experience where you come to learn and start preparing for your future. There is no rush for you to pick a major. Everyone has their own passion, so find a career in that. 

Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
Every professor teaches differently. I learned to adapt to different learning environments, and I have to work with what I have and give it all my all.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
Talking with my girlfriend helps me relax so much because she is my peace. School can become overwhelming but with her words of encouragement, I can overcome anything.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
Northern Illinois University is my home and I'm not going anywhere!

Jose Ortega near Altgeld Hall

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