Peytonn Weaver is an elementary education major from Cottage Grove, WI
Hometown: Cottage Grove, WI
Year: Anticipated graduation year: 2021
Major: Elementary Education with an emphasis in English as a second language (ESL).
What scholarships did you receive and why did you receive them? How has the financial support impacted your experience at NIU?
I have received the Future Educators Scholarship Award, the College of Education Dean's Achievement Scholarship, and Susan J. and Harold A. Brand Scholarship for the College of Education. These scholarships have greatly impacted my experience at NIU due to the fact that I also have a brother and sister who both attend other universities. When I graduate in spring 2021, I hope to graduate with little to no college debt thanks to these wonderful scholarships from the College of Education.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
While growing up, I knew that I always wanted to work with children. However, it wasn't until my junior year of high school that I realized that I wanted to become an elementary school teacher instead of a pediatrician. Since I was fortunate enough to attend a high school that had a strong relationship with the elementary schools, I was able to TA for my third-grade teacher. This is when I fell in love with the education field and profession.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
I am majoring in Elementary Education with an emphasis in English as a second language (ESL). I chose this area for many different reasons — the largest reason being that teachers literally change the world every single day. Without teachers, we would not have the doctors, lawyers, firefighters, etc. that we have today.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
One thing that I have found pleasantly surprising about my experience at NIU is the number of opportunities that it provides for its students to succeed. For example, through the College of Education, I was able to travel to Houston through the Educate U.S. program. While in Texas, I worked with students from diverse backgrounds and was able to live the life of a teacher for a week by planning, implementing, and adapting lesson plans in a wide variety of subjects. Ultimately, this trip was life-changing, and I cannot thank NIU COE enough for this wonderful opportunity.
How have you connected with other students at NIU?
I have connected with other students at NIU by getting involved in student organizations, clubs, and finding an on-campus job. Currently, I work as a Student Coordinator for the Northern Ambassadors. This has helped me not only meet other NIU students from a wide variety of majors, but also interact with future Huskies on a daily basis! The best way to get yourself involved on campus is by attending the Student Involvement Fair at the beginning of each semester to sign yourself up for the 300+ student organizations and clubs that NIU has to offer.
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?
Out of the 300+ student organizations and clubs that NIU has to offer its students, I am currently involved in National Society of Leadership and Success, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, Mortar Board, and am vice president of Educators Rising Collegiate. Because of these experiences, I have been able to not only meet fellow Huskies, but also grow physically, mentally, and socially. In addition, I also believe that these student organizations have helped to prepare me for my future in the education field.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
My favorite class that I have taken so far at NIU is EPFE 201: Education as an Agent for Change that was taught by Dr. Molly Swick. This class allowed me to really step into "another person’s shoes" in order to see both perspectives on controversial topics such as crime, poverty, racial issues, gender issues, etc. As an education major, I felt that this class really helped me to prepare for my clinical experiences and future as a teacher. In addition, Dr. Molly truly cares for her students and is very passionate about the content that she teaches.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot on campus is the newly renovated Holmes Student Center. This is because it has so much to offer! For example, I can grab a coffee at Starbucks, buy a new NIU T-shirt at the bookstore, study by the warm fireplace, grab some chicken tenders or burger from the Huskie Grill, and go bowling with friends all in one place!
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
Since coming to college, I have learned how to manage my time between studying and making memories with my friends. Because coming to college was the first time that I was away from my family, I quickly learned that even though school comes first, there still needs to be time for student organizations and hanging out with my friends. This life balance has truly made my time at NIU successful and memorable.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
In my free time, I love to support my fellow NIU Huskies at the numerous D1 sporting events such as football, basketball, volleyball, and hockey. In addition, I also like to help support the DeKalb community by grabbing sushi from Fushi Yami and having a picnic by the East Lagoon with my friends and roommates.