Arielle Willman

Arielle Willman

Arielle Willman is a special education major from Yorkville, IL

Hometown: Yorkville, IL

Year: Expected graduation: 2024

Major: Special 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?
Growing up, I loved to play school with my siblings. I used to make a pretend school and make my two siblings participate in school with me. I would be the teacher and make them be the students. I knew from a young age that I wanted to pursue teaching.

What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
My major is special education. I have been surrounded by many individuals in my life who are living with a disability. My high school dance coach was also the special education teacher at the high school. I got to spend a lot of time with her students. They grew to become some of my friends and inspired me to take the path into special education. 

What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
NIU has an amazing community surrounding it. Everyone loves it here and what they have to offer. Sports bring everyone together!

How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
I met my roommates on NIU’s Facebook roommate finder. These two girls have become my best friends. Without them, I don’t know what I’d do. We constantly make each other laugh and spend so much time together. I have met many other students in my classes through assignments and group work. 

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 am a member of the Silverette Dance Team here at NIU. I have made so many new friends from being part of this amazing group of women and have experienced so many amazing things. I was able to dance at Soldier Field and perform at the MAC Championship this year at the Detroit Lions field. I have made so many relationships from being on this team. Our coach is an amazing woman who does so much for us and cares for every single one of us. 

Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
My first year here, I had Bartholomew Binski as my English professor. He was one of the most caring and helpful professors I’ve had so far at NIU. He always put my needs first.

Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot would definitely be the Holmes Student Center! It’s a great place for me to get work done and enjoy a coffee.

What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
Pick a school that fulfills your needs and is inclusive and supportive of all individuals.

Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
I had to learn that not all college professors are the same. They are all unique and helpful in their own way.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
I usually like to hang out with my roommates or boyfriend. We all love to watch movies or go get food together.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
I love it here at NIU and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

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