Part 3: Students of NIU Business


Editor’s Note (Michelle here):  Here’s Part 3 of  “Students of NIU Business,” our new and ongoing initiative modeled after Humans of New York.  Remember if you’re an NIU Business student who wants to be featured in “Students of NIU Business,” send an email to Social Media & Marketing Intern extraordinaire Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!!

 

Part 3:  Students of NIU Business

Kayi Lawson jr mktg majorKayi Lawson, marketing major with plans to earn certificates in interactive marketing, professional selling, and information systems

“My two older sisters and my parents were born in Togo, West Africa. My parents did not have it easy when they moved to America and had to work really hard to give us what we have now. My dad received his graduate degree from the NIU COB in Information Systems. Also, my mom obtained her undergraduate degree in Information Systems while pregnant with me and caring for two young children. My father and my mother have always told us that success was not an option, it was mandatory. My oldest sister is now getting her MBA at Standford University, and the other is getting her masters in Molecular Genetics at the University of Birmingham, which is in the United Kingdom. I am a semester ahead and, in my future, I want to also get my MBA. In the end, I will owe my success to my family always pushing me to do more than what is expected.”

 

Dalton Stokes jr accy major and minor in mktgDalton Stokes, accountancy major and marketing minor

“Out of both my parents, I am the first one to go to a university. My real parents got separated when I was a little kid. It was rough not having my real father there for me. My mom has always pushed me to do my best and to always be out there doing well. I held that close to me, and tried to never disappoint her. This is a great opportunity to be in a university. Since I’m here, I can now get to where I want to go, all thanks to my mom. So I push myself to my limits to make her feel like she is accomplished, with my success. It’s a tough road getting there, and I’m happy where I am now. If you have the opportunity to go to college, take it. Big opportunities like this only come once in a life time, so take it and run with it.”

 

Ilsa Chaudhri jr accy major and minor in finance and economics

Ilsa Chaudhri, accountancy major with double-minors in finance and economics

“I think that it’s very important to pass on what you have learned to high schoolers, because we’ve been in their shoes. That was me three years ago. I wish I had more exposure or more insight from people in their transition to college. I want them to know that it’s okay to be out of your comfort zone. It’s okay to not know what you want to major in or what you want to do for the rest of your life. Just jump in and get involved! Get involved with friends, classes, and organizations. Network. Grow as a person, it’s not just about your GPA, it’s about finding out who you are and finding out what you’re passionate about. Everything else will follow.”

 

Jenee Carlson freshman business major with certificate in social entrepreneurshipJenee Carlson, freshman business major with plans to earn a certificate in social entrepreneurship

“Well, I grew up in the small town of Sycamore. I was rather sheltered, and with my dad as the principle that didn’t help much. But all joking aside, growing up my dad was always my role model and emphasized doing the right thing. I had my first job with an after school program that helped a lot with at-risk youth.

So I wanted to be a Social Worker until that job, when I realized that, emotionally, I could not handle it. That being said, I knew from then on out I want to help people in my life. So during my senior year of high school, I was introduced to the Business Leadership Academy which was run through Kish. That organization was managed by Bruce Griffith, and he became my mentor through my senior year. I worked really close with him. He introduced me to the business world, and showed me that its more than just making money. Rather, it’s about ethics and helping people, through business.

After that program, I realized I was going to be a business major, and since NIU has one of the best business schools in the country, it was a no brainer coming here. From there, I had some friends who were in Research Rookies, so I heard about it through them. That’s how I got involved with Research Rookies and the opportunity to work on the research project I’m on now. The research project is “Food Insecurity Among College Students.” We want to know if hunger is a chronic issue on campus here, and that’s what the survey is going to tell us when it goes out on the 22nd.

I really think this is an important issue to confront, as some people might not think about hunger on campus with meal plans and all. But it’s an issue that, I think, if we address it, could help out students significantly. I think it’s important to realize that if you don’t know where your next meal is going to be, it’s rather hard to be expected to perform academically. So having that perspective on this potential issue will really help the student body grow closer together.”

 

Rachel Lapidus jr mgmt major

Rachel Lapidus, management major and Business Passport student advisory board member

“The thing I am most excited about this semester is Passport Palooza week this April because I am helping to plan fun events for the college. In my free time, I like to sing, play guitar (I’m not very good yet though), watching Netflix, and cooking. Also, not a lot of people know this, but I speak Russian! I actually have found a couple people in my OMIS 351 class that do as well, which is really surprising to find in DeKalb I feel. If anyone sees me around Barsema, I basically live here, please say hi!”

 

Megan O'Brien jr accy major and marketing minorMegan O’Brien, accountancy major and marketing minor

“One of the biggest pieces of advice I have for students is to remember to take a little time for yourself every day. I think that we often get so caught up in different organizations and classes that we forget to take time for ourselves and the things that we truly enjoy doing! Whether it’s taking ten minutes to reflect on your day or taking an hour to catch up on Netflix, we all need to make sure we are allocating time for ourselves and taking a break from the stress of everyday life as a student. I wish that I had figured this out sooner in my college career because it makes such a difference in my mindset. We are busy students, but we deserve a break once in awhile too.”

 

Samantha Larson jr accy major

Samantha Larson, accountancy major

“I am always grateful for the opportunity to be studying Accounting at NIU. My parents and sisters are my big motivation. I want to be someone that my sisters can look up to. I would encourage everyone to get involved in college and find something they are passionate about. At the same time, I think students need to make time to enjoy being in college and enjoy themselves.”

 

 

Corey Meredith jr accy major and social entrepreneurship minorCorey Meredith, accountancy major and social entrepreneurship minor

“The biggest adventure of my life so far was when I studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. A year ago I had the opportunity to spend a semester at the University of Economics in Prague. While I was there I took courses on International Business, Marketing, and even an introductory Czech language course. In order to adapt, I had to immerse myself into a foreign environment and culture. This was difficult at times, but the lessons I learned about life and people were priceless. I was able to travel around to 15 different countries during the 4 months I was abroad, and the main lesson I took away was that we are all not so different. People all around the world have similar wants, dreams, and aspirations for their life. This realization has inspired me to look for the best in others, and encourage everyone to follow their dreams. Never take anything for granted because not everyone has the opportunity to do what they love!”

 

Stephanie Aboutar mgmt major and mktg minor

Stephanie Aboutar, management leadership major and marketing minor with a certificate in interactive marketing

“My check-list for success:

– Always conduct yourself in a professional manner and show respect to others.

– Keep your options open and be open minded.

 

– Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you.

– Live in the moment and do not dwell on the past.

– Treat others the way you want to be treated, you do not know their story.

– Follow your heart and dreams and make them a reality.

– Take on stress by changing the way you think about it, or removing yourself from the situation.

– The anchor holds in spite of the storm.”

 

Faith Young

Faith Young, Human Resource Management major.

“I am a big advocate for getting involved in student organizations and in the community! As a transfer student, I came in with the goal of being involved in at least one student organization. I started my first semester at NIU as an executive board member for Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and as a Student Representative for the University Honors Program. I have continued my commitment to student involvement by being selected as Co-President for SHRM, member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, and Event Coordinator for Sigma Iota Epsilon, National Honorary Management Fraternity. In these roles, my main focus is to encourage other students to get involved and be leaders in all that they do! My advice to other students would be to take risks and set goals for yourself; you’ll never know all that you can achieve!”

Find the complete list so far of “Students of NIU Business” in posts labeled Part 1,  Part 2, Part 3,” and so on!

If you’re an NIU Business student who wants to be featured, let us know!  We love learning more about each and every participant!  Send an email to Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!

It’s Time To Register For The 2016 Social Impact Summit Hosted By CAUSE

CAUSE Logo

Register Now For The 2016 Social Impact Summit!

The founder and director of Global Orphan Prevention will be among the featured guests Friday, April 8, at the Social Impact Summit, located in the Barsema Alumni and Visitor Center starting at 8:30am!

REGISTER NOW! REGISTRATION CLOSES APRIL 1ST!

The event, hosted by the NIU-based Collegiate Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs, is intended to educate students (and others) about social entrepreneurialism, to inspire them to increase their societal and environmental impacts and to create a forum where individuals passionate about changing the world can network.

Tickets are $5 for NIU students and $20 for all others. Registration is available Social Impactonline. The event is sponsored by Product Development Technologies (PDT).

The event will include presentations by social entrepreneurs, including Katie Hilborn as the keynote speaker. Katie is the founder and director of Global Orphan Prevention, an international nonprofit dedicated to keeping mothers and children together through social entrepreneurship, education, and a clean birthing program.

Katie HilbornKatie grew up in St. Charles, Illinois and spent most of her adult life in the Colorado ski town of Breckenridge. Because she lived in a seasonal environment, she had the opportunity to leave the country during the off-seasons. Since beginning to travel the globe in 2006 after she graduated from university, she always incorporated a volunteer project. Now twenty-seven countries and six continents later, she has seen first-hand how the developing world lives and has made it her mission to change that.

Currently, she is working on a social entrepreneurship program to help eradicate child trafficking in Nepal. By investing in cash crops (chili and cardamom farming), her hope is that these income generating activities will help empower the marginalized indigenous populations.

For more information, check out her website, here.

This year, CAUSE will have a similar schedule with a few changes:

  1. 8:30 – 9:15am: Coffee and Pastries with opening remarks from CAUSE
  2. 9:15 – 10:00am: Keynote Speaker, Katie Hilborn
  3. 10:05 – 10:45am: Breakout Sessions #1
  4. 10:50 – 11:30am: Breakout Session #2
  5. 11:30 – 12:00pm: Lunch and Networking
  6. 12:00 – 1:15pm: Pitch With a CAUSE Competition
  7. Closing Remarks from CAUSESave The Date

There will be two rounds of breakout sessions, and guests can choose which panel to sit in on each round. Panels to choose from during the day will include:

Impact Investing Panel:

  • Somya Munjal, is a CPA, MBA, MAS and is the Chief Youth Servant at Youthful Savings.
  • Eric Wasowicz is an Investor and Advisor with Channel Clarity LLC.
  • Joe Parisi is a Co-founder of Guard Lama.
  • Greg Lernihan, is the Co-founder of Convergint Technologies.

Working In Developing Countries:

  • Katie Hilborn is the founder and director of Global Orphan Prevention.
  • Rich Johnson is the Cofounder and CEO of Spark Ventures.
  • Kurt Thurmaier is a professor and researcher at Northern Illinois University.
  • Nancy Economou is the founder and president of Watts of Love.

Technology:

  • Moira Hardek is the President and CEO of Galvanize Labs, Inc.
  • Abby Ross is the co-founder and COO of ThinkCERCA.
  • Mark Schwartz is the CEO at PDT.

Pitch With a CAUSE Competition:

  • Pitch With a CAUSE is a competition for anyone who has an idea for a business that makes a positive social or environmental impact. The competition is open to anyone who’s interested in making a submission- high schoolers, undergrads, grad students, non-students, retirees, kindergarteners, etc. Everyone is welcome. A panel of expert investors and social entrepreneurs will select the top 5 submissions to present at the Social Impact Summit on Friday, April 8th. Each group will have 5 minutes to pitch their idea followed up with 5 minutes of Q and A from the audience and panel of judges. The team selected as the winner at the 2016 Social Impact Summit will take home the $1,500 grand prize! Second place wins $1,000 and third place wins $500!

For more information on the Social Impact Summit or CAUSE in general, please email the CAUSE President, Ilsa, at ilsaachaudhri@gmail.com.

Part 2: Students of NIU Business

Editor’s Note (Michelle here):  While Louie’s on spring break, here’s Part 2 of his new and ongoing initiative modeled after Humans of New York.  Our riff is called “Students of NIU Business.”  Remember to follow the NIU Business Instagram page to keep up with the full Students of NIU Business so far, along with other pics Louie shares there!  And if you want to join in with this and be featured in “Students of NIU Business,” send an email to Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!!

 

Part 2:  Students of NIU Business

 

Loreal Taylor marketing major

Loreal Taylor, marketing major

“I am in my last year of college. I am receiving my undergraduate degree in Marketing. Currently I am an intern for Northern Illinois Athletics communication departments and I also have an internship this summer for Kohl’s. My career path is to be a retail marketing director. I love to help people achieve their goals with internship tips and interview advice.”

Please feel free to follow her on Instagram: @Iamloreal. Loreal is also on Twitter: @Lorealtokyo. If anyone wants to know more about Ms. Taylor or what she does, she has requested anyone to feel free to contact her through social media!

 

Jinay Shah jr accy with finance minor

Jinay Shah, accountancy major with finance minor

“I was born and raised in India and moved here around 5 and a half years ago in search of better education and career opportunities. Moving to the United States has been quite a rewarding experience as it has taught me to go beyond my comfort zone to meet new people, and learn the new culture. My goal is to start my own consulting/business intelligence firm to help manage risk in businesses, and with individuals in India and other developing nations. I look forward to the fun semester and a great senior year ahead!”

 

Donna Nguyen, 2015 accy grad and current LMAS student

Donna Nguyen, accountancy alumnus and current Leadership Master of Accounting Science (LMAS) major

“I graduated with my undergraduate degree in Accountancy from NIU. Immediately after I chose to attend the LMAS (Leadership Master of Accountancy Science) Program. The graduate program here does an outstanding job of preparing the students for the CPA exam as well as for the work world! I have already made so many more connections beyond the ones I had made during my undergraduate career. When I was still in undergrad, I landed various internships, attended multiple leadership conferences, and even signed a full time job with Deloitte in Chicago two years in advance. I would definitely say the time I’ve had so far at NIU has been worth it and forever memorable.”

 

John Nazorek, sr mktg major

John Nazorek, marketing major

“Feels like yesterday I was sitting in class just a few days into Freshman year, and graduation seemed like it couldn’t come soon enough. Here I am today, 3 months before actually graduating and wishing time would slow down. I’ve gone on a lot of adventures and met so many amazing people over the past 4 years that I can’t wait to see what the future has in store. Guess it’s true, time will fly by when you’re having fun!

Advice to incoming freshman and lower level undergrads:  1) Enjoy every moment. Go out, make new friends, and get involved. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.  2) College isn’t always going to be a piece of cake. Expect the unexpected, go with the flow, and don’t stress yourself out.”

 

Shawn McGinnis, jr accy major

Shawn McGinnis, accountancy major

“I chose accounting because of my sister, she has been and still is a big influence in my life. She is a very successful accountant, so I feel like I need to do the same, and be as good as she is. When choosing a school, I wanted a university with a good business school. I was choosing between U of I and NIU. Northern stood out more in the Business and the Accounting program here. My final decision was made at an Accounting visit day. I talked to advisors and master students while getting a tour of Barsema. I was sold from then on out. Amazing Accounting program, and the career fair is bar none. Not to mention, the prep courses all have been an amazing help. With the help of ACCY 370, and all of the career fair preparation, I landed my internship with Plante Moran. I will be interning with their tax department in the Spring of 2017. A big thanks to the Accounting program and the Business school is needed. I’m doing what I want in life because of them. Delta Sigma Pi (DSP) is a great organization and I have learned a lot from the upper class Accounting majors. They really guided me in the right direction.”

 

Megan Howard, senior marketing major

Megan Howard, marketing major

“I changed majors a lot. I was in Architecture competitions in high school, where I designed a resort. I didn’t win but it was really cool. I didn’t want to be behind a computer 90% of the time, I knew that for sure. I questioned multiple things when I was getting my Marketing degree through a community college, because I couldn’t do any actual Marketing courses there. So I changed paths and got my Cosmetology license. When I found out how much I didn’t like doing that as a career, it took the fun out of it for me. So I went and became a full time banker and continued my education in Marketing here at NIU. I’m actually hoping to work for Red Bull in their Sports Marketing department, as they work with all of the extreme athletes. I fell in love with that department because I’m passionate about the extreme sports as well. I’m kind of a jack of all trades I guess. I balance everything by going to school only two days a week, then I work every other day. I do stress relief days by cooking, and now I’m getting my own place, so cooking will be easier to do. I know what I want, and I’m moving towards where I want to be. It’s that drive that really keeps me going. The best advice I could say, is to never take no for an answer, ever.”

 

Anita Iyer, jr accy major with minor in econ

 

Anita Iyer, accoutancy major and economics minor

“I chose NIU because the people I used to hang out with came here and told me all of their success stories. As for my major, I pursued it because of the influence my high school teachers gave me. The best way to succeed within NIU, personally for me, is to balance your social and academic lives. You really should join an organization that gives back to the community in some way. Service is an unbelievable way to feel accomplished and get involved at the same time.”

 

Jason Kaye freshamn marketing and OMIS double major

Jason Kaye, marketing and om&is double-major, NIU Presidential Scholar, NIU Honors Program

“I’m from Round Lake IL. I have three younger siblings, but I’m the first one in college. A big reason why I chose NIU was for the College of Business honestly. I actually took Sports Marketing in high school, and that’s kinda how I got into this career space. With that being said, I am a huge Cubs fan! The best decision I have made so far was joining Delta Sigma Pi and CAUSE. My interests are: Intramural sports, reading when I can, watching Netflix and playing video games. I try to get the most out of every day. I tend to reflect on what I accomplished each day and be proud of making myself better.”

 

Cloe Pooler accy major

Chloe Pooler, accountancy major with community leadership & civic engagement and social entrepreneurship minors

“If there’s anything I hope every student learns during their time at NIU, it’s that nothing is impossible. You can rise to any challenge you face. Have a dream that seems too difficult to make a reality in your short time in the college? Enable and empower yourself by getting involved and connected and you can make anything happen; follow your passions and you can open doors to make progress on other goals. For example, I care deeply about giving back and through CAUSE and Social Entrepreneurship classes I have accomplished my other dream of studying internationally. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your peers and faculty; we’re a Huskie family! Join groups inside the college and out, take on leadership roles, and, if you’re financing most of your education like me, apply for scholarships! Whatever you do, be fully engaged.”

 

Check out “Students of NIU Business” in posts labelled Part 1,  Part 2, Part 3,” and so on!

And if you’re an NIU Business student who wants to be featured, let us know! Send an email to Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!

Part 1: Students of NIU Business

Editor’s Note (Michelle here):  Like all NIU Business students, Louie is currently enjoying spring break.  So I thought I’d use this opportunity to share some of Louie’s excellent work, this a new and ongoing initiative he created and modeled after Humans of New York.  Our riff is called “Students of NIU Business.”  Check them out here in three separate posts so far.  Or go to the NIU Business Instagram page to keep up with the full Students of NIU Business so far, along with other pics Louie shares there!  And if you want to join in with this and be featured in “Students of NIU Business,” send an email to Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!!

 

Students of NIU Business

Amanda Zierden marketing major

 

Amanda Zierden, marketing major

Amanda is a junior Interactive Marketing major and has this to say about how she lives her life: “Hard work pays off, if you really want something you’re going to work towards it. It may be rough, but you have to follow through because it will be worth it in the end.”

 

 

Stephanie Sanchez OMIS major

Stephanie Sanchez, om&is major

“My father never went to high school, born and raised in Mexico. Mom was born here, some college but never attended a university. I’m not the first in my family to go to college, but it’s coming from that background of my parents not having a high level of education that created a lot of pride but also put a lot of pressure on my shoulders. No one was there to hold my hand and walk me through these pressures and occurrences that happen here at NIU. You jump in feet first and you figure out the world on your own. The pride however, came from being able to show my parents how their framework that they laid for me, really has paid off. My parents showed me I can do whatever I want in life. Growing up and seeing how my dad got so far without even speaking English, is incredible really. It’s honestly amazing being able to speak two languages and set myself apart from my peers.”hez, om&is major.

 

Devin Stompanato OMIS major and computer science minorDevin Stompanato, om&is major and computer science minor

“At first when I came in here I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my career. I knew I wanted to do om&is. Getting involved with Delta Sigma Pi (DSP) really helped me with what I wanted to do. Being around all of these motivated people in DSP, pushed me to do more, learn more and be better. It taught me not to settle for anything, that’s how I live my life now. You’re here and it’s so unique, some people don’t have this rare opportunity of going to college, think about that. If you can get anything just go for it, two majors, a double certificate, literally anything just go for it. I’ve used that motto to go and get involved and make me my best, no one else is going to push you forward anymore. This is all on you now, it’s real in college, it hits you right away.”

 

Jacquelyn Schueler OMIS major

Jacquelyn Schueler, om&is major

“Well, I am a junior OMIS major. When I first came to NIU I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I eventually found the College of Business and became an undeclared business major for a while. Then I chose Finance. It only took a few weeks of UBUS 310 for me to realize that number crunching was not exactly what I wanted to do. And that is when I made the switch to the OMIS program and I am so glad that I did. There is a bit of friendly competition within my family to do well because my sister is a student and my Dad, Uncle, and Aunt all graduated from NIU. And that definitely pushes me to do the best that I can. They help keep me driven and grounded when life gets chaotic. I know that if I ever have problems, I have a good support system to help me out. Which is really, all you need in life.”

 

Michael Palacios NIU Business major

Michael Palacios, NIU business major and active in the Foreign Language Residency Program

“I spent some time in Japan in high school, as part of a Study Abroad program with a company called AFS. The family I stayed with while I was there ran their own small business. Seeing the way that Japanese people conducted their business, and comparing it with the way Americans do business, I realized that there was a notable difference in the way businesses are run around the world. It really intrigued me. I think it’s important to understand that the United States isn’t the only country in the world, and that one can pursue a life anywhere. NIU and the College of Business do a really great job of promoting global awareness. I chose NIU, not only because of the reputation the College of Business has, but also because of the Foreign Language Residency Program. A global perspective is a very powerful thing, and I think that American students, especially, need to work harder to achieve one. Our school is doing a very good job of helping us to do that.”

 

Kevin Mui marketing major

Kevin Mui, marketing major

“This is my 3rd year here at NIU and it has been an experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I would highly recommend transfers or freshmen to take advantage of getting involved on campus. For me, Joining Kappa Pi Beta was one of the best things I’ve done to help me transition into college. The organization definitely helped break me out of my shell. They provided me with a plethora of opportunities to develop myself into a well-rounded leader while still keeping an emphasis in maintaining academic excellence and time-management. It also helped me branch off to other organizations and take leadership roles in them. To keep me motivated, I always ask myself “Will I regret not taking advantage of these opportunities when I’m older?” My other motivating factors would be my parents. They moved here from China not knowing any english at all. They’re one of the main reasons why I grind so hard in school. They took care of me and sacrificed so much for a chance for me and my siblings to succeed and have a better future. I want them to know that I don’t take it for granted and I’ll be taking care of them one day. That will be the day I could finally be happy and relieved knowing that their sacrifices has paid off.”

 

Bhrianna Barker marketing major

 

Bhrianna Barker, marketing major

“I will be graduating this May 2016 and starting my career as an ETL with Target. Other than school and work, I enjoy reading, binge watching Netflix TV shows, and shopping for shoes. I am also a proud dog-mom of a maltese named Coco. My first language was Spanish and I will be the first person in my family to graduate college. Currently, I am the Target NIU Campus Liaison and helping find new interns and future managers for Target stores and Distribution Center. I am also President of the organization NABA, and we are still looking for spring members to join.”

 

Jeffrey Kamholz marketing major

 

Jeffrey Kamholz, marketing major

“The final frame, the ninth inning, overtime, you get the picture. I guess I want to tell a story. So, as a senior I was looking for a school that could have some scholarship opportunities and provide success for my future. The moment I stepped foot on campus I knew I had found a home. You know, I got as involved as I could my freshman year. I started to pledge Delta Sigma Pi, and joined a few organizations then right in the middle of it, I blew out my ACL. What I learned form that, 8 weeks in, I had surrounded myself with people that barley knew me but they still wanted to help out. The brothers of DSP didn’t owe me anything but they were great and helped me out. That was the theme of my time at NIU. Great students, great faculty, to great alumni. I have been able to accomplish so much because of everyone surrounding me. I guess looking back, you reminisce about everything. It’s been an incredible four years here and I hope to stay as involved as I can after graduation and as life goes on. I guess all I can say next is, Go Huskies.”

 

Sam Kusswurm finance and accy major

 

Sam Kusswurm, finance and accountancy double-major

“It’s hard to imagine, but in a few months I will be graduating from NIU and beginning my career at PwC. During every big transition it’s pretty common to think about the different choices that were made and experiences that were had. I’m really happy to say that I view my time at NIU as a great success and want to share some advice on how other students can make the most out of their time here as well. I think one of the biggest contributors to my experience at NIU was the decision to get involved, and specifically to get involved early. I wasn’t very involved in high school and wanted to change that in college. I found some amazing organizations to be apart of early on that helped me to develope as a friend, professional, and leader. Serving as President for both Delta Sigma Pi and NIU Investment Association has been incredibly rewarding. Both have given me some of my best friends as well as in the case of Delta Sigma Pi a family here on campus. I wouldn’t have received so much from them though if I hadn’t joined early, which is why I encourage everyone to try and get involved as soon as they get on campus.”

 

Check out more “Students of NIU Business” in posts labelled “Part 2,” “Part 3,” and so on!

And if you’re an NIU Business student who wants to be featured, let us know! Send an email to Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!

Hunger on College Campuses

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Editor’s Note (Michelle here!):  NIU Business freshman Jenee Carlson is also an NIU Research Rookie whose project examines campus hunger, a situation occurring on many campuses around the country.  The first part of this post invites all NIU students, faculty, and staff across the university to participate in an anonymous food-needs survey that Jenee has created. The remainder of this post contains a story I wrote after meeting with Jenee.  The story provides more detail about Jenee’s incredibly important research project and her goal to identify meaningful solutions based on your input.  Thank you for your help!!

 

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Fight Campus Hunger

Campus hunger is a harsh and far too often hidden reality afflicting many university students around the country.  (See full story below.)  At NIU, the Huskies Student Food Pantry estimates that 1,500 NIU students battle hunger.  In order to learn the full extent of hunger on campus, your input is needed.

Take NIU’s first ever university wide food-needs survey at this link:  go.niu.edu/hunger

All responses are anonymous.  Please share this post or the survey url with your fellow NIU students.  Thank you for your help!!

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full story

The Elephant in the Dining Room:  

Do NIU Students Experience Hunger?

 

For some, the recent holiday season invokes memories of food overflowing on dining room tables.  But for many on college campuses across the country, an abundance of food is far from the reality.

Several national media outlets – The Atlantic, The New York Times , Rolling Stone, among others – recently carried stories about hidden hunger and even homelessness on college campuses.   A Washington Post article entitled “More college students battle hunger as education and living costs rise” conveys the heart of the matter in the title alone and for readers here begs the question:  how many NIU students go hungry?  How often?  Once a month?  Every week?  Every day?

Getting a handle on campus hunger – a conversation gathering steam at a number of universities nationwide – is the central focus of NIU Research Rookie Jenee Carlson’s project.  Carlson’s study shines a light on an issue that often remains hidden . . . an issue for which secondary research reveals unmistakable need:

  • 48.1 million Americans (holding constant at the highest level ever) are food insecure (Feeding America)
  • 600,000 persons in northern Illinois are food insecure (Northern Illinois Food Bank)
  • 14,560 persons in DeKalb County are food insecure (Northern Illinois Food Bank)
  • 1,500 NIU campus students are thought to be food insecure (Huskies Student Food Pantry)
food-pantry

Huskies Student Food Pantry

“Initially, I wasn’t sure what ‘food insecure’ meant either,” the business freshman says in response to a question about the phrase that accompanies those rather staggering statistics.  “I’ve since learned that the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines ‘food insecure’ as a lack of nutritional food for an active, healthy life at all times.”

It bears repeating:  “1,500 food insecure” represents the number of NIU students thought to be battling hunger.  Right here.  Right now.  Compounding the problem, as noted in the Washington Post story, is that food insecurity is often shrouded in shame and students are often reluctant to talk openly about it.

To address this, Carlson launched NIU’s first ever food-needs survey.  Her overriding goal is to learn the extent of hunger on NIU’s campus and to formulate meaningful solutions for students based on what she learns directly from them.

“NIU students themselves are the key to understanding what’s really happening in their lives,” Carlson says.  “Together, we can figure this out.  Even though the survey-takers are anonymous, no student is alone in this fight.”

NIU Research Rookie Jenee Carlson and her NIU Business faculty mentor Dennis Barsema

NIU Research Rookie Jenee Carlson and her NIU Business faculty mentor Dennis Barsema discuss Carlson’s campus hunger project.

 

Not even Carlson.

For this project, she works with a number of like-minded individuals, many of them well-versed in making an impact.  They range from a highly accomplished faculty mentor to experts seasoned in the battle against hunger.

“After Jenee introduced herself to me to discuss research ideas, the first thing she said was:  ‘I want the work to make a genuine impact’,” Dennis Barsema recalls.

Barsema happens to be a strong advocate for making a difference, and Research Rookies provides a perfect venue to make meaningful things occur.  NIU’s Research Rookies program links together undergraduate first-year, sophomore, and first-semester transfer students with faculty mentors in their major or area of interest to conduct a small-scale research project.

Beyond serving as Carlson’s Research Rookie faculty mentor, Barsema’s long list of accomplishments also includes founding the social entrepreneurship program in NIU’s College of Business.

The field of social entrepreneurship and its underpinnings of doing business differently have gained not only traction but momentum and not only in classrooms but within actual firms across the country in a variety of industries.  Socially responsible organizations measure the impact of everything they do in three key areas known as the triple bottom line:  People, Planet, and Profit.  Ultimately, then, as a management department faculty member, Barsema focuses on redefining what it means for an enterprise to be successful.  Beyond profits, success now must also include, and give prominence to, making a positive impact in people’s lives and in the life of the planet.

Faculty mentor Dennis Barsema and NIU Business freshman Jenee Carlson in the NIU College of Business

Faculty mentor Dennis Barsema and NIU Business freshman Jenee Carlson in the NIU College of Business

 

“Jenee’s intention to make a difference is compelling,” Barsema adds, his smile of appreciation nearly audible.

“She’s taking on a very big issue that requires her to work with a wide variety of people; both learning from them and contributing to the larger effort.  As with most complex problems, lasting impact has a greater chance of occurring when talented and committed individuals collaborate together.”

Shortly after Carlson contacted Barsema out of the blue in Fall 2015 (a first-semester freshman at the time), her path to creating an impact opened up even more.

“I knew about Mr. Barsema and his teaching focus.  It’s incredible that I was able to meet with him especially when he didn’t even know me,” Carlson says.  “I’m very grateful that he agreed to be my mentor.  And it’s because of Mr. Barsema that I’ve met a lot of other really great people, too.”

In fact, barely two weeks into her Research Rookie project, Carlson began working side by side with key members (including a CEO) of organizations at the forefront of fighting hunger.

“I’m learning a huge amount from Dennis and from Julie Yurko, the CEO of Northern Illinois Food Bank,” Carlson says, “and Kelly Brasseur, who is a dietitian and also with Northern Illinois Food Bank.  I’m also collaborating on campus with Kathy Zuidema, the founder of the Huskies Student Food Pantry, which is a member of the College and University Food Bank Alliance.”

“All of these individuals are amazing people who care so much and have accomplished so many things, including overcoming their own challenges at various times in their lives.  It’s really tremendous to learn from them and join forces with them.  It’s really humbling.”

And energizing.

Carlson’s typical day includes meetings and phone updates with all four individuals, often at the same time.  Together, they created a food-needs assessment questionnaire customized for NIU, the first of its kind for the university.

Typically food banks such as Northern Illinois Food Bank or Feeding America (the national organizing charity) develop and administer these surveys.  And historically, these assessments tend to cover the county or city levels only.

For Carlson’s campus hunger project, however, she and her collaborators crafted the survey specifically to address the college student population.  In fact, theirs represents one of very few food-needs assessments in the country to target higher education students on a university campus.

“We find ourselves in the position of trying to understand student hunger without a comprehensive national study that breaks the information out by campus,” Northern Illinois Food Bank CEO Julie Yurko says, then adds, “The data – and the solutions – cannot arrive soon enough.  This makes Jenee’s research project vitally important.”

Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief charity, organizes 200 food banks across the country – including the Northern Illinois Food Bank — into a powerful national network.  Through this network, food banks then provide support and nourishment to their coverage areas, which include local food pantries on the ground where community members feel the impact most immediately.

Enter Kathy Zuidema of the Huskies Student Food Pantry.  By day, Zuidema is a full-time employer relations specialist in NIU’s Career Services division.  By night (otherwise known as her personal time), Zuidema takes it upon herself to operate the Huskies Student Food Pantry.  In fact, she founded it.  When asked why, she immediately replies, “I felt compelled.”

food-pantry-2Zuidema goes on to say that her daily interactions with NIU students continue to reveal huge, unmet needs.  Primary among them:  students go without eating – “often for a couple of days on end” – and many battle hunger on a constant or near-constant basis.

“It’s incredible that Kathy created the Huskies Student Food Pantry on her own,” Brasseur says, Northern Illinois Food Bank dietitian and also an NIU alumna.  “It’s such an important beginning.  Yet what we still don’t know is what happens when the pantry isn’t open.  What do students eat when – or if – they are able to find food?”

Think back to those times when you experienced hunger pangs that kept you awake all night and you begin to have a sense of the situation.  Yet in its worst form, chronic hunger does the consuming … consuming every moment.  Eating away at your energy, focus, health and well-being long into an indefinite stretch of days.   Devouring even your choices.  If you could eat absolutely anything at all, you would – empty calories or not.

“Campus hunger is a large, hidden problem that needs attention,” Zuidema says, conveying an insight she’s gained from being on the front line as an evening and weekend warrior when it comes to actual Huskies Student Food Pantry operations and planning. “We don’t usually associate chronic hunger with food-rich nations or universities.  But it’s quite real in the United States.  It’s very real for many campus students right here. ”

Indeed, it’s quite real for many college-level students across the country.

According to the Center for Law and Social Policy (referenced in the January 2016 Atlantic story on campus hunger), nearly 50% of American high-school students qualify for free meals or reduced-priced meals.  A reality that for this group of individuals, CLASP notes, “…doesn’t tend to change when they go to college.”

At NIU, more than 1,500 students have used the Huskies Student Food Pantry since it opened a year and a half ago.  To this stat, Zuidema also counts easily 60-75 students who continue to visit the pantry during its twice monthly operations from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at its current location in the Grace Place Campus Ministry building.  

“I was amazed to learn from Kathy how many of my peers utilize the Huskies Student Food Pantry,” Research Rookie Jenee Carlson says.  “Then I volunteered and saw for myself.”

As campuses around the country look to address the complex issue of student hunger – caused by the perfect storm of a variety of factors, including economic realities, changing demographics, hikes in the cost of living as well as tuition and university living expenses – the number of food pantries on campuses has increased dramatically.  According to the College and University Food Bank Alliance, only four existed in 2008.  Fast forward just seven years to 2015 and the number jumps to 199 food pantries in operation on college campuses.

With growth like this the odds are very good that, without even realizing it, you probably know a student who has no idea when they will eat next.

“The choice for students shouldn’t come down to buying a book or buying food.  It shouldn’t be a daily choice between stressing about where the next meal will come from and being able to focus on learning,” NIU business freshman Jenee Carlson says.

 

**************************************************************************************

Help Fight Hunger  

NIU students: 

  1. Take an anonymous food-needs survey at this link: go.niu.edu/hunger
  2. Or complete the survey on a tablet on March 3rd or April 7th at the Huskies Student Food Pantry, which operates from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and is located in the Grace Place Campus Ministry building.

 NIU faculty and staff: 

  1. Tell your students about this project and share the link to the anonymous food-needs survey:  go.niu.edu/hunger
  2. Encourage your students to complete the survey.
  3. Complete the survey yourself.

Everyone:  Show your support for the Huskies Student Food Pantry.   If you have the means, be a donor to the Huskies Student Food Pantry.

Thank you!!

 

How Students Of NIU Gave Me A More Open Mind

As some of you may know, I have been interviewing different students around NIU. Mainly in the College of Business. This is a new operation that we put into effect at the beginning of this spring semester, and what started as a small simple project, has turned into an eye-opening experience that really has changed my view on life, in the most positive way possible. These are the Students of NIU.

When you take time out of someone else’s day, you’re starting to step into uncharted territory. Time is one of the most valuable things we have. It’s one of the only things in our lives that is certain, time will keep moving. That being said, seeing how people use their time, and what they have done in their time so far, is simply amazing. From students being the only person in their family to get an education to moving to the United States literally weeks ago. Everyone has a unique story to tell, and I love listening.

This project has taken on a whole new meaning for me. I’m no longer interviewing people, I’m learning about my fellow students and forming new friends. We live in a society where everything moves so fast, and if you don’t stop to talk to your peers, you may never meet anyone beyond your class schedule. Isn’t that a scary thought? Seven billion people and counting in this world, and we only talk to the people that we have to. People’s lives are so amazing when you think about it. Some people have been to different parts of the world, learned new languages, and ventured off into uncharted territory that we happen to call home. To me, that’s incredible. It’s also incredible that someone could go their whole lives not interacting with one another, and not getting to tell their story, simply because no one asked.

At times, I thought to myself, “These people don’t want to talk to some stranger. Even if they did, they’re too busy.” I was wrong, and I’m glad I was wrong. Talking to people could seem like such an easy and mundane task, but in reality, it’s a way to relieve stress, take a step back from your own life, and reflect. I don’t think anyone is perfect in anything they do. There is always room to grow and to learn something new from someone else. I truly believe that the only way to get better and work our way to being “perfect,” is to learn a little piece from each person you meet, on what they do well. Not only did each of you highlight something in life that you did well, but you also made yourselves better by gaining knowledge from one another. But don’t worry about being perfect; it can’t be that fun when you think about it. Once you consider yourself all knowing, that’s the moment you’ll stop learning.

We take so much time to form relationships with people and then we’re so quick to get comfortable, never branching out to meet new people. It’s interesting how hard it is for people to talk about themselves when I ask. Try it right now, what can you tell me about yourself? Isn’t hard it? But once I start, “peeling back the layers” of these scholars, is when I really start to see why everyone we live around is so special and unique. Everyone has unique outlooks on life, and special mottos they live by. So what’s your story? What drives you? What gets you out of bed in the morning? Is it as simple as, “well, because I have to.” I just don’t buy that anymore. I think people are deep, unique, and inspired creatures waiting to express their story. Every one of us has the opportunity to uncover that treasure of a new friend, right now. Take the time to talk to someone new sometime soon. You really would be surprised how alike we all are, and what we can learn from each other is endless really.

I think I will leave you all with a quote that I have written in the front of my journal. This quote comes from Tim Augustine, and I wrote it down at a conference in Schaumburg for Delta Sigma Pi:

“The motto that has made me successful, but also has kept me humble throughout my career is to always be the least knowledgeable person in the room at all times, but be smart enough to get by. What I mean by this is surround yourself with people who are more intelligent and better at specific things, than you. That way, you’ll never stop learning, and, more importantly, you’ll never run out of things to talk about.” – Tim Augustine

Remember to keep being awesome everyone,

Louie

Make Dreams Happen

Editor’s note (Michelle here):  I’m thrilled to post the latest installment of “Life After Graduation.” In this post, marketing alumnus (student-athlete alumnus!) Troy White shares his thoughtful insights on his journey to date after graduating from NIU Business.  Thank you, Troy, as always for taking the time to share your very thoughtful words of wisdom with me and all of us!  Keep making a difference as you so truly do!

Career Bio

Sometimes the journey isn’t a straight line—but you grow a lot and gain a lot by persevering.  My path to the Chicago White Sox had a couple of twists and turns.

When I graduated I began to communicate with various professional sports organizations about my desire to work in the industry. I was informed by many that there weren’t any positions available at the time. After receiving this disappointing news, I began working as a Staffing Consultant at an employment services company in downtown Chicago. Approximately 10 months into this position, I was offered a business development opportunity with a business intelligence firm, which I accepted.

Then in July 2013—I’ll never forget this—I navigated through my email inbox and stumbled across a message I had sent to a professional sports team. It was like a wake-up call…I realized again how passionate I am about working in sports.

I contacted my former NIU baseball coach, Ed Mathey, and informed him of my goal and dream to work in sports. Ed was supportive and stated that he would assist in any way possible. My family has supported my passion throughout my life and helped me to tailor a new message, which I sent out again to professional sports organizations.

The revamped letter garnered a reply from Christine O’Reilly, Vice President of Community Relations with the Chicago White Sox. She indicated that the White Sox organization has yearly internships and said it’s a great way to “get your foot in the door.” I was instructed to let her know if an internship was of interest, and then she would forward my resume and message to Moira Foy, the Vice President of Human Resources. Without hesitation, I responded “YES, I would greatly appreciate it if you would forward my credentials.” It was an opportunity I could not pass up, even with the risk it posed.

Mind you, I was still employed at the business intelligence firm and performing well. To go from a secure opportunity with great benefits to a paid internship with no certainty, exhibits my passion and confidence in my work ethic.

In August, I interviewed for one of the 10 sales internship positions and earned the opportunity. Let’s fast forward to the month of February 2015, when a full-time sales employee accepted a position outside of the company and another employee assumed his position. This meant that there was now ONE full-time opportunity available within the Client Services division of the White Sox organization. All sales interns were informed of the opportunity and invited to apply. This was an exciting time, because one of us was going to earn a full-time position. After the interviews were conducted, we all patiently waited for our individual meetings to find out who earned the position.

Through all my hard work, dedication and previous experience I was chosen to join the Client Service team. So two years into my journey, I had finally achieved my goal! I wouldn’t have accomplished this without the constant support from my family, friends and Ed Mathey. It’s also important that I believed in myself and took the risk to start as an intern with the White Sox.

Did you know right away as a student what you wanted to do in business?

I only knew that I wanted to have a career in the sports industry. My exact position and responsibilities were not as certain. And even though my career didn’t begin in sports right away, the skill set and knowledge I obtained from my previous experiences proved to be instrumental to my current successes.

How do you show up in the world?

It’s important that I’m seen as reliable, hard-working, competitive and authentic. I want people in my life to know that if something needs to get done that I’m the person capable of making it happen. My participation in sports and family upbringing has instilled a desire to achieve greatness. In whatever endeavors I undertake, I’m going to work hard to achieve success otherwise I’m wasting my time and everyone else’s. No matter what level of success I achieve, it’s important to retain authenticity and to remain humble.

With your background and now a career in sports, you’ve seen good teamwork up close.  What components make a team good or even great?

As a former collegiate athlete and now working in sports, teamwork is crucial to success. Teamwork in school, business and on the field has similarities. Every good team must have accountability. If a member is deviating from the plan, it needs to be addressed and that individual needs to understand that it’s not personal but rather realize the importance of his/her contributions. Good teamwork requires picking up or covering for a teammate to ensure that the group doesn’t miss a beat (i.e. selflessness). Lastly, no individual can be “bigger” than the goal. No matter what your title or position is, everyone is contributing to the team effort and no one person is more important than the group and its goal.

In what way is NIU Business uncommon?

There are multiple aspects that make NIU Business unique. However, the support that the faculty provides its students is astounding! The NIU College of Business does a tremendous job of supporting their students’ extracurricular activities and taking a genuine interest in their lives. Many times I would have conversations with faculty members about things that were unrelated to what was mentioned in class or even NIU or the College of Business. This personal touch and genuine interest is what I will always remember.

How do you stay hungry?

Simply, I set goals. It’s amazing how impactful it is to your success when you write down your goals or create a vision board. I like setting some lofty goals, because every day I wake up, I know it’s time to go to work if there’s something to be accomplished. As odd as it may sound, I appreciate failure. I’ve failed all throughout my young life, but that helps to provide motivation. There is much to learn from an individual who has failed, including how he/she reacts to failure. Will they pity themselves or is he/she going to use that failure as a motivating factor? The latter is my mindset, which is why I set goals that I truly want, without watering them down into what I can ”more than likely” accomplish. The knowledge you gain on the journey to your goals is invaluable…even if it takes 1, 2 or even 10 years longer to get there than you originally expected.

Tell us your “WHY?”

Many factors motivate me in my life; some internal and some external. The greatest external factor is my drive to show my family and friends appreciation for all of the support and love they have shown throughout my life. I want my family to take pride in the way they raised me and the type of young man I have become and the man I will become. I can never repay them for all the time, money, love and energy they expended on my behalf, so showing them that it wasn’t in vain is my way of paying them back. In terms of internal drivers, I simply want to become successful in every aspect of my life. My competitive spirit won’t allow me to become complacent. There is always another goal to achieve.

 

Celebrating 2015 & Propelling Forward into 2016

 

Editor’s Note:  Happy 2016 from NIU Business!  The academic semester begins January 19, 2016.  (Don’t forget NIU Business scholarship applications are due January 20, 2016!) Before that time we want to briefly celebrate some of the significant things we achieved in 2015 — together!

 

NIU BUSINESS:  YEAR 2015 IN REVIEW

1.  New Program in Entrepreneurship.  The Mike & Kristina McGrath Entrepreneurship Initiative was created with a generous $1 million investment from Mike & Kristina McGrath.

2.  Scholarships.  Available NIU Business scholarships totaled $650,000.  In 2015, more than 20 new scholarships were created and included:  The Robert and Catherine Rothkopf Leadership Scholarship, and the Dr. Denise Schoenbachler Leadership Award in MIS/SAP Integration, created by honorary alumnus Chris Millington and his wife Lorraine.

3.  National News Coverage.  Last year, 14 national news stories featured the excellence of NIU Business faculty research and the college programs.

4.  Student-Created Conferences.  Year 2015 saw at least three student-created conferences, all of them high profile and high impact.  They are:  the Social Impact Summit; Pitch with a CAUSE, and; the BELIEF Week series of events.

5.  Partnerships.  NIU Business entered into 5 partnerships with community colleges to offer a joint business degree designed to help working students and non-traditionals earn their degree.

6.  Guest Speakers.  More than 200 guest speakers — all highly accomplished professionals from a variety of organizations — shared lessons learned with NIU Business students.

7.  Abundance in Faculty Excellence.  

    • 2015 Beta Alpha Psi Outstanding Dean
    • Fulbright Specialist for International Peace
    • Beta Gamma Sigma Medallion for Entrepreneurship
    • Top 50 ranking for top-tier research productivity
    • Editor-in-chief of an academic journal
    • James E. Thompson named professorship

8.  Spectacular & Uncommon Students

9.  Sharing Lessons Learned

10 Best in Class – Rankings

  • NIU Business has ranked favorably for more than two decades, since the beginning of the U.S. News list
  • Part-Time MBA ranked among the best programs by U.S. News for 3 consecutive years
  • Master of Accounting Science ranked #9 nationally by Accounting Degree Review
  • Undergraduate and Graduate accountancy programs ranked among Top 25 nationally by Public Accounting Report
  • NIU’s SAP TERP10 exam students achieved a 70% pass rate, exceeding the national average

 

We could list MUCH more.  Instead, we invite you to share your top NIU Business happenings in 2015!  List them in the comments section of this post, and we’ll update our 2015 highlights!

NIU Business Teaming with Friends

Editor’s note:  During the busy-ness of finals week, take a breather between exams and studying and check out this guest post from senior management major Daniella Vintika. Daniella (pictured in the center, below) describes one of the most meaningful things she’s experienced in the NIU College of Business:  building true relationships and friendships. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Daniella, and congratulations to you and your friends on graduating in just a handful of days!  

by Daniella Vintika

I started at Northern Illinois College of Business two years ago.  I came from a community college, so I entered NIU as a junior.  It was the first time I took courses at a university.  I decided to commute to NIU because I live about thirty minutes away, and it just made the most sense with my finances. NIU was an intimidating place for me at first.  I was a little scared and nervous because I didn’t know a single person at the College of Business, but luckily that was going to change for me.

The first semester was challenging, taking courses like UBUS 310 and 311 together.  This is something you’ll hear from almost every business student who has taken the courses.  I learned fairly quickly that I was going to have to do a lot of teamwork. Basically every class I took had at least one team project if not more during the semester and some team assignments lasted all semester long. I knew that if I wanted to be successful during these next two years and get good grades I would need to make friends with the teammates in class. I was nervous at first relying on a group of people I had never met before and I knew nothing about their work ethic to do well in class (and I’m sure the same was true for them!) but being able to work with people you don’t know is a must for success. I will say I was pleasantly surprised with the results the majority of the time.

Throughout the semesters, I made genuine friends with individuals on these teams. They became more than teammates.  They became people I could talk to about things other than school and get advice from about any subject in life and count on them for help when I needed it. Not everyone in every team I was in was a great worker or a great friend, but I could count at least one person if not more from each group who I would want to work with again in the future or continue a friendship. The relationships that didn’t end up working in some teams taught me how to handle different situations and that’s also very important. It was exciting to feel like I wasn’t alone at school and that I had true friends there with me along the way.

As friends we would look out for each other and really cared about each other’s progress. We would always check up on one another to make sure everyone remembered when due dates were coming up and give each other tips on how we could do assignments better. We worked together a lot through the semesters, creating study guides as a group to make the work load easier. We were all going through the same thing, day to day, and knew that helping each other out really helped us all out in the end. Although, it was hard work most of the time through the semesters here we also had alot of fun as well. We would hangout outside of school, go out together and let loose after long weeks of school work. We would work hard and play hard, even though it seemed like we were working more than playing. The friendships I created here have made my college experience at NIU truly a really great one.

These friendships opened me up to new things and always caused me to think about things differently, from a different perspective.  Having these teams in college prepared me for the future, because I am much better now at opening up and creating relationships. I now know how to deal with different group situations whether they are good or bad. I recognize being able to handle this is very important in any career.  I’ve learned from professors and guest speakers that you will have to work as a team many times in your life and I feel prepared and much more confident to do so thanks to the real life experiences I have had here at NIU’s College of Business. These semesters would have been much more difficult if I wasn’t able to have these friendships and I feel so thankful for that.

I graduate this December and now I have a great network of individuals who I call friends. Some of my friends are looking for jobs and some have jobs already and have offered to help me get at job at the company they work for. I think that alone tells you that they are a good friend because they want to see you succeed along with them. I cannot stress enough how important it is to build relationships wherever you go in life.  I didn’t realize the significance of this when I first entered NIU but I know how this is really true.  It will teach you a lot no matter what the experience itself is like. This learning experience has been the best part of being a student here at NIU and although I am sad to leave and everyone is going their separate ways I hope that I can keep contact with my friends and continue to build these friendships even more and long after graduation.

 

 

Be Unreasonable … go after your dreams

Editor’s note (Michelle here):  In this Thanksgiving season, it brings me great joy to share this Life After Graduation profile from 2015 OM&IS alumnus Jacob Ferguson, another wonderful and recently graduated alumn.  Not too very long ago Jacob managed all things social media for the College of Business accounts, including the Student Voices weblog.  As you read this post, you’ll soon discover that Jacob continues to be true to who he is and what he believes. Thank you, Jacob, for sharing your wisdom and journey so far!  Keep living into your passions and making an incredible difference!  Happy season of gratitude!

 

Quick Career Bio

 (Start date: 3 months after graduation.) I currently have the honor and privilege to serve as a Corps Member at City Year in Chicago along with over 200 other individuals in an effort to help students and schools succeed. We work to bridge the gap in high-poverty communities between the support that students need, and what their schools are designed and resourced to provide.  With City Year, I work full-time on a team with other Corps Members and our Team Leader. Together, we provide students with academic support and after school programming focusing on the areas of attendance, behavior, and course performance.

You chose a different path after graduation…

I decided to choose a job that allowed me to make a difference and give back to my community right after college because it is something that has always been important to me and close to my heart. At a young age I learned the importance of volunteerism.  That value has remained important to me through the years. Another reason is that I personally know there will never be another time in my life when I have as few commitments as I do now. Also, I’m of the belief that if I serve now, I am increasing the odds that these types of issues will not be around when I am older.

Who is your hero and why?

This answer changes daily. There are probably a million people that I can say come to mind when asked this question, but the one that sticks out the most in mind my is my mother Cheryl.  My father passed away when I was in high school, and she really took it upon herself to ensure that we got everything we needed to succeed. She has always
challenged me to do my best and has been an intricate part in helping me to become the man I am today. I honestly don’t know where I would be without her and all that she has done for me.

Describe your most meaningful/favorite experience at NIU.

I would have to say being involved.  There were so many opportunities and experiences that I was able to take advantage of simply as a result of being involved. NIU already has a student organization for nearly everything, and if they don’t, they highly encourage you to create your own. In many ways, being involved is also where I learned and grew the most during my time at NIU. It provides a great opportunity to apply the skills that I learned in the classroom. It’s something that I believe every student should take advantage of.

What did you learn about yourself at NIU?

I learned a lot about who I am and the person that I aspire to be. I had the opportunity to experience a lot of different things: from traveling to other countries to taking a stand against social issues. Each experience has made me better in some way. I think a lot about what my life would have been like had I not attended NIU, and I can honestly say that going to NIU was one of the best decisions that I ever made.

Name three things you want to do in life:

1.  Hike the Appalachian Trail.  An alumnus and friend from NIU actually did this after graduation.  Ever since I talked to him about doing it, it has moved to the top of my bucket list. The thrill of being engulfed by nature, having time away from the world to reflect and grow as a person and building relationships with people you would otherwise have never had the opportunity to meet really resonates with me. I am actually considering doing this after my year of service with City Year is up.

2.  Paddle board in Bora Bora.  This is a recent addition to my bucket list, but I mean come on…how awesome does this sound? Plus, sleeping in an over-water bungalow sounds like an extraordinary experience.

3.  Sky dive. This is probably the most realistic item on my bucket list of the three. I think it is fair to say that I will have this one crossed off by next summer.

Tell us your “WHY?”

I’m just a young individual from Chicago trying to build my legacy and be remembered for the impact that I have on others and on the world. I view my life as a series of adventures. Some are longer and far more thrilling than others, but they all ultimately help to depict the journey. And they all are guided by a mantra that we followed as students in an NIU student group—NIU CAUSE—that I participated in with so many friends and kindred spirits. That mantra is “be unreasonable.”  Be unreasonable enough to believe that you can make a positive impact in the world. Be unreasonable enough to go after your dreams.