Past Accomplishments and Future Success: The Role of Mentors in the life of an NIU student

Throughout my time at NIU, I have been involved with a multitude of programs and leadership experiences that have enabled me to have an incredible collegiate experience. Among these, however, were 2 that stood out the most as they were the most unique and interrelated. The first and most beneficial to my future is the McKearn Fellows Program. Research, professional and personal development, and civic, social, and global engagement education and experience were among the highlights of the program. I was able to meet and interact with alumni that I likely would never have had the opportunity to otherwise. The McKearn Fellows Program helped open my eyes to the vast array of opportunities, and that there is a much bigger world out there than NIU, DeKalb, and even the United States. I decided to see the other side of the world and go abroad.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to not only go on one study abroad trip, but two. I traveled to The Netherlands with Dr. Bowers and the Honors Program on a trip focused on peace, justice, and the international courts. Global justice (and injustice) is an interesting topic, especially in regards to how it applies to individual and state sovereignty. After spending two and a half weeks in The Netherlands, my travels took me to Toledo, Spain in pursuit of a Spanish minor and a greater understanding of the Spanish culture. The almost 2 months I spent in Spain with Dr. Solares-Larrave and 13 other students were the most eye opening, unique, and incredible months of my life. I have been saying for the past few months that Spain stole my heart, and I can’t wait to go back. Having a knowledge of the world will benefit my greatly in the future, as well as encourage me to go back as soon as I can.
I plan to work in either international or medical sales when I graduate NIU. Whichever path I choose, my experiences at NIU will have greatly and aptly prepared me for it. My Marketing and Sales classes will prepare me for the tangible requirements of working in the real world, but my experiences in the McKearn Program and studying abroad will help me with the immeasurables, which are equally if not more important. I would like to thank everyone that has served as a mentor to me, and that has helped me out along the way. Specifically, I would like to thank Dr. and Mrs. McKearn for their foresight and generosity in the development of the McKearn Fellows Program, the entire McKearn staff, and everyone in the Honors and OSEEL offices that made it possible. I would additionally like to thank Drs. Bowers and Solares-Larrave for their encouragement and direct support of my studying abroad. Without these mentors, I would not have been able to accomplish what I have. I can only hope to one day do the same for future NIU huskies.

-J.A.K.

Create Your Own Success

Fellow Huskies,
If you are reading this, congratulations on your decision to attend NIU! You made one right choice in choosing NIU, and now it is up to you to make a second: to be successful. Success is not easily defined, as it can be subjective as happiness. Only you can say what success is. That being said, attending NIU will put you into a position to become successful, however it is defined.
Whether success for you is becoming involved, getting a 4.0, passing your classes, or being set up for a better future all starts from the same place: your demeanor. If you want to be successful, it will likely have to come from intrinsic motivation. If I was able to motivate everyone, I would in a heartbeat. Most motivation, however, comes from within you. The bottom line is if you want to be successful, it takes dedication, but you will be.
I started my college experience by getting very involved on campus. After tearing my ACL and meniscus halfway through my first semester, however, I had to shift my priorities from school and involvement to also include working through the pain and incredible inconveniences that my knee injury caused me. I was able to work through it all from the support of friends, professors, and the NIU community as a whole.
The NIU experience is much more than going to class and graduating. For me, success is taking advantage of everything that NIU has to offer and enjoy myself while doing it. This could range from research, to study abroad, to campus involvement, to jobs and internships, and also making sure to attend every football game I can. This is my definition, and I love it.
What’s yours?

-J.A.K.

Junior Year, 3rd Times a Charm

Hello! If you’re reading this, I hope you enjoy it. I’m Jeff Kamholz and this is my blog documenting my junior year at Northern Illinois University. I am a Marketing major with minors in Economics and Spanish and could not be more excited to get into my upper level business classes. I recently finished my Spanish minor- in Spain! This year will be the year that I start looking for an internship that could lead to the job I want. On top of the hope that the Cubs will make a miraculous late-season comeback, there is a lot going on in my life this year.

In beginning my third year at NIU, I am also beginning my second year as a Northern Lights Ambassador (NLA). I have the fortune of being the chair of the Alumni and Foundation Committee for the 2014-2015 year. I am looking forward to working with students and alumni and connecting them as part of the University’s plan for student career success. I am excited to serve as a liaison and representative of the students of NIU.

I was recently very fortunate enough to go on 2 study abroad programs, one to The Netherlands and the other to Spain. These experiences have only furthered my belief that NIU is the perfect place for me and that is has set me up for my future career not only in the business world, but also in life. I am extremely excited for this year and everything that it entails.

GO HUSKIES!

-J.A.K.

Dorm Life!

I moved into New Hall East, where the Honors House is located, last year and still live there. For me, “back in the day” is right now. I chose this option because I wanted to live in one of the Living, Learning Communities (LLCs). I was torn between the Honors and the Business House, but ended up opting for the Honors House mainly because it was in New Hall, which is like a hotel. New Hall is set up in “clusters”; basically 12 people share a common area, and have their own room, while sharing a bathroom with 1 other person. Having my own room is very convenient, even though it is a bit on the smaller side.

Living in New Hall ended up being a great decision for me. I met some of my best friends, and many of the people who would go on to be in my organizations. They got me involved in campus. I recommend anyone to live in new hall, as of the convenience of the facilities and the community-based set up. If I had to make a recommendation about where to live, I would recommend New Hall or the newly renovated Grant Tower. As traditional and classic as the other dorms and residence halls can be, I would recommend the newer ones; having a new building I think gives an overall better experience.

Sometimes, my cluster and I will just spend the whole day together. That is the beauty of the cluster format; if everyone is out, either hanging out, studying, or just being social it feels like a bonded group. If you need some time to yourself, your single room is the perfect place to which to retreat. About once a week, we will all set aside some time and go to Buffalo Wilds Wings, Aspen Leaf, or anywhere really; the most important aspect is that most of our cluster hangs out together. Many of us are in the same classes, which is very helpful for homework and studying.

Because of many of the positive experiences and fun I have had, it is likely that I may stay in the dorms all 4 years I am on campus. Not having to cook, clean, and worry about rent and other bill payments makes life easier- for me, life being easier is a great thing.

 

J.A.K.

Random Acts of Kindness

Random acts of kindness are some of the most inspiring things that can be done. People with no motive doing something positive for someone else for no personal gain. There’s no reward, no publicity, and no motive other than to help others- truly awe-inspiring. International Random Acts of Kindness week is upon us (February 10-16), and I am hoping that with the I Heart NIU campaign underway that it will gain traction. If even the number of random acts of kindness increases by 1, it will all have been worth it. One act can change someone’s life for the better indefinitely.

I myself have actually been impacted greatly by the impact of a stranger. Last year I tore my ACL and was dealing with the DeKalbian winter in a knee brace and crutches- it was not pretty. I was post-surgery and crutching back to my dorm room from the bus stop when I slipped on the ice and fell. The pain itself was bearable, but the thought of getting up and having to try again and ending in futility. A random man came up and asked if I needed help. I took him up on his offer he picked me up with his bare hands (not an easy task) and helped me get situated with my crutches. He even carried by backpack back all the way to my dorm for me. Immediately after, he left. I never even found out his name and yet that simple act changed how I viewed strangers.

Since then, I have been trying to pay it forward. Whenever I am able, I try to help people that are in need. In what little free time I do have, I help out in the community with blood and food drives, and try to make it out to Feed’em Soup as much as I can. Although maybe not considered a “random” act of kindness, there is nothing better in the world than seeing the reactions of people being helped. Altruism is the reason that many people will stop going about their days to help others, or will donate their time, talent, and treasure just because.  

As for me, I just try to increase the number of smiles. The best way to do this? I’m not sure if number one, but random acts of kindness are definitely up there.

 

-J.A.K.

I heart NIU

I heart NIU because it has given me everything. Although I am only a sophomore, I have had a multitude of opportunities that have made my college experience incredible. One such opportunity was the McKearn Fellows Program, which allowed me to create and carry out my own research program. I was able to use this to create a nonprofit fundraising model, which I was then able to share with local nonprofits in a hope to improve their fundraising efforts. Being able to see my work put into practice was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

 

I heart NIU because it has also helped me greatly plan out my future. Aside from being an NLA, I am also a TLC Peer Leader and a Marketing Intern for the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. Having this internship has affirmed my decision to go into marketing, be it interactive or sales (I am leaning toward sales). I also have had other opportunities, but the most promising one right now is looking like studying abroad this summer. I plan to go to Toledo, Spain to finish my Spanish minor as well as explorer another culture and go to the country that I have wanted to for years. If I am lucky, I am also hoping to go to China with the inaugural trip there with the Honors Program!

 

I heart NIU because it is more than just a school. It has become a second home for me. I have met friends and connections I will have for life, and I have no one but NIU to thank for that. I do not know exactly where the future will take me, but I do know one thing: my NIU education will prepare me for whatever lies ahead.

 

J.A.K.

Fun & Safety

I am involved with several organizations on campus that take up much of my free time. One of them is my professional, co-ed business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. Aside from the great professional network it provides, the people in it are among my best friends. Not a single day passes where I am not doing something with at least one brother. We do things such as intramurals, community service, host professional events, raise money for causes (recently for breast cancer) and many other activities.

I am also an avid NIU football fan. I have been to every game (except Idaho and Massachusetts) and I am definitely hoping for that BCS bowl berth. Everyone should come out to our last home football game on Tuesday November 26. We are currently ranked #15 in the nation and after that big win over Ball State, we should move up!

Recently, NIU Police Chief Tom Phillips came and spoke about safety on campus. Among the things he talked about were being safe at night, always using the buddy system, and not walking and texting. He gave many examples and statistics about how NIU is one of the safest collegiate campuses and gave examples from his days at UIC and U of C. He also explained that walking and texting at night is one of the easiest ways to walk into a dangerous situation. Staying safe is relatively easy; is just requires a level head and common sense.

As I type, a tornado is raging through Illinois so I am going to seek shelter.

Be safe everyone.

 

J.A.K.

Engaged Learning

Over the summer, I was involved with a program known as the McKearn Fellows program. My cohort and I represented the first students to represent the program, as it was in its initial summer. The McKearn Fellows Program allowed us to design and execute our own research program over the course of 8 weeks. On top of this, we were given the opportunity to meet with distinguished alumni and build our own personal networks. My research program, which consisted of improving the efficacy of nonprofit fundraising, was given to local nonprofits and they were going to try to apply my findings to their own business. This program was engaged learning to the extreme. I learned how to properly format a research paper (over 25 pages!), gained meaningful networking skill, and also experience great mentorship from those in the OSEEL office. I honestly do not think I could have designed a more experiential learning program if I tried.

I look forward to seeing where the McKearn program goes in the future and am excited for the implications it could have for future scholars and Fellows. I am also looking forward to being more involved in my marketing internship through the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce as well as the Northern Lights Ambassadors program. Both of these provide me ample opportunities to succeed as well as expand my own network and knowledge in their respective areas of discipline.

My major is marketing with an emphasis in professional sales, so all of these contacts I am accumulating in my network will prove to be very beneficial in the future. I will have had research experience, etiquette training, in-the-field sales/marketing experience and perhaps most importantly, a very fond attachment to NIU that will last the rest of my life.

BCS, here we come. Go Huskies!

 

J.A.K.

Beginning of the Year

Hello!

As previously mentioned, I am a marketing major with several minors. I am in the process of completing my lower division business classes right now. I am enrolled in ECON 260 (Microeconomics), ACCY 206 (financial accounting), UBUS 223 (business statistics), and FLSP 301 and 311, Spanish language grammar and speaking respectively. I am also a Peer Leader for the Social Entrepreneurship themed learning community, which is taught by Dennis Barsema and Dr. Christine Mooney. I am looking forward into finally getting into classes in my major and minors because those subjects are what interest me most.

My introductory economics and accounting classes will give me an insight into what the upper level classes and the real world in those fields will be like. Statistics and my Spanish classes are going to give me more of a challenge, but I look forward to giving it my best shot.

In the future, I will be taking the ominous 9 credit hours class required of all business students, UBUS 310. I will also be finishing my Spanish and Economics minors, as well as getting a specialization in Professional Sales. I look forward to the upper level Marketing classes, especially the sales ones!

My favorite class at NIU so far has been HIST-387, the History of Genocide. Taught by Dr. J.D. Bowers, Associate Vice Provost for University Honors, this class taught and advocated under the slogan of “Never Again”. It fulfilled my Honors seminar requirement, but also allowed me to take part in a class that I had very much interested in. I look forward to other classes such as this that are not necessarily in my discipline, but show me other aspects of the world. I also thoroughly enjoyed Business Law; though having the stigma of potentially being boring, it was one of the most fascinating classes that I have taken so far at NIU. I want to explore upper level classes in other disciplines to broaden my horizon and learn as much as I can.

That’s all for now, folks.

 

-J.A.K

Some info about Jeff!

Hello to anyone reading this!

My name is Jeff Kamholz and this academic year (2013-2014) I have the privilege to be a Northern Lights Ambassador. I am a marketing major in the College of Business. I will be serving on the Alumni & Foundation Committee. I am from Tinley Park, IL where my parents live with my little brother and our dog. I am a huge baseball and football fan (Go Huskies) and I go to any Cubs’ or Bears’ games that I can.

I chose NIU because it provides an affordable education, it was close to home, and it has a great business program. Little did I realize, however, that NIU would come to mean so much more to me than just an education; it has become a second home. I wanted to be an NLA because I think that many first-year students are in the same position that I was. Coming to NIU, I knew 3 people and I really only talked to one of them. Several NLAs helped me get involved in many of the organizations that I am currently in; they opened doors for me that I would never have even known about. I want to be able to provide that to students that may not know many people but know that they want to get involved. I am really looking forward to working with students, faculty, and alumni to create an environment at NIU that will make people want to be more involved.

My experiences in being in a wide variety of clubs and organizations have given me hope that everyone will embrace being a part of something larger then themselves: the Huskie Family.

 

That’s all for now folks,

-JAK