NIU students learn from experience - – Rockford’s News Leader

NIU students learn from experience

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Some of the best advice for Northern Illinois Students students might be found outside of the classroom, through mentoring programs. NIU is trying out a new campus-wide opportunity.

Take Norman Goldstein and Lizzy de Guia. The two just met a month ago. They were paired together as part of NIU's new Student-Alumni Mentoring Program. From the outside looking in, they seem like polar opposites. Norm graduated in 1967 as a Finance major. Lizzy is studying Nursing, but Norm says out in the working world there are universal skills in every career.

"To learn how to interact with people, how to network, how to be in a social situation, how to get comfortable with people." -he says.

Lizzy says the opportunity adds to her college experience.

"I'm learning how to conduct myself better. Also, it's nice just having a support system, someone who can just email me before my tests and say 'Good luck, you're going to do great!'" -she explains.

70 students are in the program so far, but administrators want it to grow eventually making many connections between the school's 20,000 students and 220,000 alumni.

"We're just hoping that students feel a sense of connection to Northern that they have Huskie pride, that they continue to see themselves here." -says NIU Associate Vice Provost for Engaged Learning Julia Spears.

Students aren't just learning from NIU graduates. The university also offers Peer-Mentoring programs. A couple pairs of students have been working together since the Fall semester, like sophomore Tara Keast and her mentor, senior Lauren Nale. Tara recently changed her educational focus from Nursing to the same major as Lauren, occupational therapy.

"It's been so helpful, I don't think I would've changed my major if I hadn't had somebody to talk to." -Tara explains.

Damian Almarez is new to NIU. He and Luis Lopez are the same year, sophomores, but Damian's getting invaluable guidance from Luis.

"We're both Engineering students, we're both Latinos, we have similar stories. He can relate to me, I can relate to him and in general we learn from each other. I've learned a lot from him he's learned from me too." -Luis says.

If you're interested in joining a mentoring program at NIU, click here.

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