NIU Alumni Association http://myniu.com The Northern Illinois University Alumni Association helps build lifelong relationships with NIU alumni and friends. Fri, 02 Dec 2016 19:27:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Giving Tuesday Surpasses Goals http://myniu.com/giving-tuesday-surpasses-goals/ Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:53:46 +0000 http://myniu.com/?p=32259 Thanks to alumni, donors, friends, parents, faculty and staff, nearly $115,000 was raised on #GivingTuesdayNIU.

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Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our alumni, donors, friends, parents, faculty and staff, #GivingTuesdayNIU raised $114,863 from 272 donors, surpassing our dollar and donor goals by 91 percent and 36 percent respectively.

The President’s Cabinet kicked off #GivingTuesdayNIU with a gift of $7,100 to the university’s unrestricted top-priorities fund. The deans from all seven colleges also challenged new donors and matched their donations up to $1,000.

New this year as part of the #GivingTuesdayNIU campaign was a competition among the colleges to see which college could get the most donations. The competition was fierce and it came down to the wire to see who would win the $8,000 challenge gift. In the end, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences beat out the College of Business by only three donations. Congratulations to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our third annual #GivingTuesdayNIU campaign. Click the video above to hear from some of our grateful students.

If you missed #GivingTuesdayNIU, it’s not too late to give – click here to make a gift.

#GivingTuesdayNIU

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Earth’s Future in a Warming World http://myniu.com/earths-future-warming-world/ Thu, 01 Dec 2016 14:30:25 +0000 http://myniu.com/?p=32166 At the Dec. 7 STEM Café, NIU ice expert Ross Powell will talk about the dramatic melting worldwide.

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Earth’s ice is melting, and it isn’t likely to stop anytime soon. At the next STEM Café, “Our Icy Planet: The Future of the Cryosphere in a Warming World,” NIU ice expert Ross Powell will draw on more than four decades of field research to explore the dramatic changes already being triggered worldwide as our ice dwindles.

The free event will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Eduardo’s Mexican Restaurant, 214 E. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb.

“We rely on ice to survive,” Powell says. “It provides drinking water for humans and livestock. It helps sustain agriculture. As more ice melts, billions of people will be affected. In order to understand this, you first have to understand just how pervasive ice is in the world. There’s ice in the tropics, at the poles, in our deserts. There’s ice on mountaintops and deep undersea. It’s everywhere, and we absolutely depend on it.”

Powell has built his knowledge of the “cryosphere” – the world of ice – during decades of field research around the world. Early in his career, he was the first person to use a robotic submarine to investigate glaciers that touch the ocean in Alaska, Chile and Antarctica. His presentation will feature striking photographs from these research trips.

“People have heard about melting glaciers affecting human and animal habitats around the North Pole or causing rising sea levels around the world,” he says. “But those are certainly not all of the possible effects. A loss of ice in the world could end up altering the way water circulates through our oceans and atmosphere. It will likely change civilization as we know it.”

“Powell has traveled the frozen world studying just how vital ice is to life on earth,” says Judith Dymond, who coordinates the STEM Café series. “We’re lucky to have such an established expert here at NIU to help us understand where our world is going.”

Food and drink will be available for purchase from Eduardo’s.

Monthly STEM Cafés are one of many programs offered through NIU STEAM Works, part of the university’s Center for P-20 Engagement. Each café provides an opportunity to learn about the science, technology, engineering and mathematics that are a part of our everyday lives.

All STEM Cafés are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the STEM Café link or contact Judy Dymond at jdymond@niu.edu; 779-777-7713.

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Inside Huskie Basketball http://myniu.com/inside-huskie-basketball/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:15:09 +0000 http://myniu.com/?p=32253 “Inside Huskie Basketball Radio Show” makes its debut 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8.

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bball_webNorthern Illinois University and Huskie Sports Properties are introducing a new addition to the Huskie Sports Network lineup this winter as the “Inside Huskie Basketball Radio Show” makes its debut 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8.

On 10 different Thursdays thoughout the basketball season, NIU basketball head coaches Mark Montgomery and Lisa Carlsen will join host Bill Baker, the “Voice of the Huskies,” to provide the latest news, team results and a look ahead at upcoming opponents. The show will also feature special guests, including NIU head coaches, administrators and student-athletes from both basketball programs.

Fans are invited to join Baker, Carlsen, Montgomery and Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Sean T. Frazier at Fanatico Cucina Italiana restaurant (1215 Blackhawk Road, DeKalb) to hear the show live each week and to have a chance to meet the coaches and guests.

“Inside Huskie Basketball” will air live on WLBK AM 1360/FM 98.9, NIU’s flagship station, and can be heard on the TuneIn app on mobile devices and on Huskie All-Access at NIUHuskies.com.

The show will air Thursdays from Dec. 8 until Dec. 29 and then again from Jan. 5 through Feb. 23.

#Basketball

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Michie Chosen as WGN Teacher of the Month http://myniu.com/michie-wgn-teacher-month/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 19:48:04 +0000 http://myniu.com/?p=32233 Alumnus Tyler Michie is recognized for making a difference at Hoffman Estates High School.

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Tyler Michie, WGN Teacher of the Month

Tyler Michie, WGN Teacher of the Month

NIU alumnus Tyler Michie (’11) is described as a teacher who will always be remembered. And he made enough of an impression with WGN that the TV station chose him as Teacher of the Month.

While Michie inspires his students, he in turn is motivated by them when he sees them grasp a lesson.

“My favorite thing is being excited and seeing their eyes light up over some fact they didn’t know about the solar system. They say ‘Really?’ and I feed off of that,” Michie says in a WGN clip.

An astronomy and earth science teacher at Hoffman Estates High School, Michie was also recognized by WGN for his efforts outside the classroom. He promotes school spirit as a sponsor of the school’s Blue Crew and works with Gay Straight Alliance, a club that provides a safe and encouraging space for any student.

For a job well done, Michie received $1,000 from Saint Xavier University and an applause from his students.

“He is the first teacher that I’ve had where I have actually wanted to get up in the morning and go to his class,” said student Hannah Janovsky, who nominated him. “He is just one of those kind of teachers you don’t forget.”

#NIURemarkableAlum

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Entrepreneur to Be Awarded Honorary Degree http://myniu.com/social-entrepreneur-honorary-degree/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 18:00:11 +0000 http://myniu.com/?p=32221 James Fruchterman will receive an honorary doctorate for bringing technology innovations to humanity.

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James Fruchterman

James Fruchterman

NIU will confer an honorary doctorate degree this fall to James Fruchterman, who has devoted his career to bringing “Silicon Valley’s technology innovations to all of humanity, not just the richest 5 percent.”

The CEO and founder of Benetech will receive his distinction during the Graduate School commencement, scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, in the NIU Convocation Center.

A former rocket engineer who also founded two successful high-tech for-profit companies, Fruchterman grew up in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

He is also a MacArthur Fellow, recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and winner of the 2013 Migel Medal from the American Foundation for the Blind, the highest honor in the United States for service to the field of blindness.

“We are privileged to recognize Jim Fruchterman,” NIU President Doug Baker says. “He applies his skills in engineering and physics to discover, develop and deliver technology that helps people around the world to lead better and more productive lives, and he has accomplished this in a selfless way.”

“Mr. Fruchterman is truly a model of innovation, social justice and interdisciplinary problem solving,” adds Laurie Elish-Piper, dean of the NIU College of Education, which houses the Visual Disabilities Program. “What a wonderful model for our NIU students, faculty, staff and alumni to see that such a gifted individual has used his immense talents for the greater good.”

Called Arkenstone from 1989 to 2000, Benetech “combines the power of the human mind with a deep passion for social improvement, creating new technology applications that address unmet human needs.”

  • Global Literacy. People with visual and other disabilities have access to technology-based literacy solutions. Benetech also promotes systemic change to make its tools unnecessary in the future.
  • Human Rights. Benetech software, services and training keep human rights defenders safe. Its software also has become critically important in larger efforts to pursue reform, seek justice and begin the process of reconciliation.
  • Environment. Ecologists and conservationists are given tools to plan and manage their global efforts to protect natural resources.

Gaylen Kapperman, who led NIU’s Visual Disabilities Program for decades and nominated Fruchterman, is a grateful beneficiary of Fruchterman’s legacy.

“Jim established Benetech, a groundbreaking nonprofit company, to provide the software which people who are blind could use to convert printed material into a form that they could read without the help of sighted individuals,” says Kapperman, now a professor emeritus in the Department of Special and Early Education.

Kapperman subscribes to Benetech’s Bookshare, which serves 425,000 members with an online library of more than 490,000 accessible books and periodicals – available free of charge for all U.S. students with qualified disabilities, including blindness, vision impairment or another disability that interferes with reading, such as dyslexia.

“As a blind person,” Kapperman says, “I use that source of information on nearly a daily basis.”

Stacy Kelly, associate professor in NIU’s Visual Disabilities Program, calls Fruchterman’s honor “richly deserved.”

“Jim is a person whose efforts have resulted in the provision of social good on a large scale,” Kelly says. “This is an opportunity for NIU to embrace the remarkable work of one of ‘our own’ Illinois natives.”

#NIURemarkableAlum

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Volleyball Heads to Missouri for NCAA Tourney http://myniu.com/volleyball-heads-missouri-ncaa-tourney/ Tue, 29 Nov 2016 18:49:34 +0000 http://myniu.com/?p=32203 The NIU volleyball team is heading to Missouri for the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship.

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After winning its first Mid-American Conference championship since 2001, the NIU volleyball team has learned that it will be heading to Missouri for the first round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship. The Huskies will take on Southeastern Conference co-champions Mizzou on Thursday, Dec. 1, and will appear alongside Iowa State University and Purdue University in Columbia, Missouri. The Huskies and Tigers will play at 6:30 p.m. CST.

“We’re excited to continue our season and play against a really good program in SEC champion Missouri,” said head coach Ray Gooden. “Anyone that we’re going to play against this time of year is going to be a really good team, so we’re excited to play against those guys.”

The Huskies, alongside family and fans, learned their postseason fate at Fatty’s Pub & Grille in the Novak Room during the team’s watch party on Sunday. View the tournament bracket and interactive bracket here.

“Thanks to Fatty’s and our admin for allowing this to happen. We had our team, our friends and our families, as well as supports of NIU volleyball and Huskie athletics. It really just shows our family atmosphere in the department at another level,” Gooden added, “and we’re proud and thankful for the activities tonight.”

NIU closed the regular season and the first leg of its postseason journey with a 25-5 record, including a 15-1 mark in MAC play, to clinch a share of the MAC title alongside Miami University (Ohio). The Huskies ran the table in the conference tournament, sweeping Ohio University and the Miami RedHawks in the semifinal and final rounds, respectively.

Senior Jenna Radtke (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson) was named the MAC’s Player of the Year prior to the MAC tournament, while classmate Mary Grace Kelly (Strongsville, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) earned MAC tournament MVP honors after leading NIU in kills (23). Meg Wolowicz (Manitowoc, Wis./Manitowoc Lincoln) and Lauren Zielinski (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) claimed Honorable Mention All-MAC accolades behind Kelly’s and Radtke’s first-team merits.

“It’s a great feeling to see our team on board. We’ve all been watching this for a long time, and to finally see NIU on the screen against Missouri is a great feeling,” said Wolowicz. “I’ve always dreamed of playing in the NCAA tournament, and to have that come true with this group of girls is amazing.”

As a team, NIU led the conference in blocks per set (2.67), hitting percentage (.263), opponents hitting percentage (.173) and total blocks (.294), putting the Huskies among the top 50 in the country in all four categories. 

Northern Illinois University is making its seventh NCAA tournament appearance all-time and its first since 2011. Gooden, the 2016 MAC Coach of the Year, has led NIU to the tournament twice. He has won the award five times, including four times in the past six seasons.

In its previous six appearances in the NCAA postseason, NIU has posted a 3-6 record, last winning a first-round match versus Florida State University in 1998 at Louisville, Kentucky. NIU fell to Miami (Fla.) in four sets, 17-25, 25-21, 12-25, 24-26, in 2011.

Information regarding the host site, including ticket information, will be posted at NIUHuskies.com as information becomes available.

Follow NIU Volleyball on Twitter @NIUVOLLEYBALL and Instagram @niuvolley. Like the team’s Facebook page, “NIU Volleyball,” and read the program’s news at NIUHuskies.com.

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Alumni Honored as Up-and-Coming Attorneys http://myniu.com/up-and-coming-attorneys/ Tue, 29 Nov 2016 16:40:12 +0000 http://myniu.com/?p=32174 Karoline Carstens, Elizabeth Shine Hermes and Adam R. Vaught are honored as “40 under 40” up-and-coming attorneys.

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Karoline Carstens

Karoline Carstens

College of Law alumni Karoline Carstens (’06), Elizabeth Shine Hermes (’03) and Adam R. Vaught (’05) have been honored as “40 under 40” attorneys by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

The Law Bulletin publishing company conducts the “40 under 40” survey annually to determine who they believe are the up-and-coming young attorneys in Illinois under the age of 40. Forty attorneys are chosen – from hundreds of nominations each year – based on professional achievements, passion and a desire to help the community.

Karoline Carstens, an associate at the Alton law firm of Simmons Hanly Conroy, handles a large caseload for the asbestos and mesothelioma litigation team. She has assisted in recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for her clients and has worked every step of the legal process from initial inquiries through discovery and deposition to preparation for trial.

Elizabeth Shine Hermes

Elizabeth Shine Hermes

Elizabeth Shine Hermes, a partner at the law firm of Odelson & Sterk Ltd., based in Evergreen Park, Illinois, devotes her practice to municipal law and property tax law. She counsels municipal clients on a variety of matters, such as property tax issues, land use and zoning, economic development, intergovernmental agreements, annexation and contracts, as well as the drafting of resolutions, ordinances, agreements and policies.

Adam R. Vaught, a partner at the Chicago-based law firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, focuses his practice in professional liability defense, with emphasis in counseling and the defense of attorneys and law firms in malpractice and disciplinary matters. He also has a significant appellate practice and serves as a board member for the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association.

Adam R. Vaught

Adam R. Vaught

“We are thrilled to see our alumni recognized for their contributions,” says Eric Dannenmaier, dean of the NIU College of Law. “They join an impressive list of NIU alums and faculty recognized for their efforts in their areas of practice as well as in their respective communities.”

As the only public law school in northern Illinois, NIU College of Law has been named a top law school nationally for diversity, value and careers in public interest/government service. Its graduates enter a variety of legal and public service careers, including more than 90 alumni who are active or retired judges. In addition to practicing law, many graduates choose careers as leaders in government and business where the J.D. degree is a recognized advantage.

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President Weighs in on Campus Reorganization http://myniu.com/campus-reorganization/ Tue, 29 Nov 2016 15:07:35 +0000 http://myniu.com/?p=32150 NIU begins steps to initiate consolidation of university functions as it faces massive state cuts and declining enrollment.

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The Northern Illinois University campus community got a look Monday at the next phase of a plan that will shape the campus for years to come. It’s called Program Prioritization, and it’s a review of all academic and administrative programs at NIU. President Doug Baker and Provost Lisa Freeman released their responses to task force reports that came out last May.

The in-depth evaluation of all university functions is being accomplished under two challenging factors that have to be addressed, according to Baker: declining enrollment and massive cuts in state support for the school. Baker supports most of the recommendations made by the task force, including consolidating a number of university functions in areas like undergraduate services and cultural diversity programs. Baker disagreed with some findings, such as those affecting the law school and reducing student-athlete academic support services.

The report from Baker covers recommendations from the Program Prioritization Administrative Task Force, while Freeman is addressing recommendations from the Program Prioritization Academic Task Force.

Baker’s report recaps each of the 236 administrative programs reviewed and states whether or not he agrees or disagrees with the recommendation. Where appropriate, it discusses next steps. In some instances, the report will discuss actions already taken. For instance, it recaps the creation of the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office, an idea that the president endorsed and all involved supported, so it was pursued without delay.

His report also explains which programs have been set aside for “complex conversations.” In those instances, it was determined that decisions could potentially be applied across multiple programs, colleges or divisions, and more time was needed to ensure that all of the issues were explored in appropriate depth. In each of those cases, Monday’s update provided a deadline for when a report on those conversations is due.

Freeman’s report recaps and comments on recommendations made regarding academic programs. Particular attention is paid to ways that programs within Academic Affairs might cooperate with other divisions to strengthen academic priorities.

Unlike the report regarding administrative programs, Freeman’s report contains few final decisions.

“Because recommendations by the task force would directly affect curriculum, they must go through our standard curricular process and shared governance,” Freeman explained. “That is the only way that programs can be created or eliminated, and Program Prioritization does not change that.”

That is not to say, however, that recommendations from the Academic Task Force have not already had an impact. In some cases, academic units agreed with suggested changes and pursued them without waiting for the final report. For instance, the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology voluntarily eliminated several undersubscribed minors within its technology program, working through the existing channels to do so. Similarly, a new master’s degree in accountancy is working its way through the curricular process as a result of recommendations from the task force.

The full reports are available online to the campus community. A final president’s report is due in May, but most departments have deadlines for changes set well before then.

Story compiled from NIU Today and Northern Public Radio

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Guaranteed Job in Visual Disabilities http://myniu.com/guaranteed-job-visual-disabilities/ Mon, 28 Nov 2016 21:52:08 +0000 http://myniu.com/?p=32146 For college graduates interested in new careers with guaranteed employment and emotional rewards, the future is now at NIU.

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For five college graduates interested in new careers with guaranteed employment and emotional rewards, the future is now at NIU.

Thanks to a five-year $1.25 million grant recently awarded to NIU by the U.S. Department of Education, the Visual Disabilities Program of the College of Education’s Department of Special and Early Education (SEED) has launched a new master’s degree. Beginning this fall – and in another format next summer – the program provides specialized training in assistive technology used by people with visual impairments.

Most of the federal dollars go directly to recruiting students to NIU for this high-need area of specialization. Graduates will receive the Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist designation (CATIS) – the new national standard – from the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.

NIU’s program also offers a unique opportunity to professionals already working in the field of visual disabilities who want an additional credential. Two options for the program are available. The first, Project VITALL (Visually Impaired and Assistive Technology for All), will be taught over two years during fall and spring semesters to people with bachelor’s degrees in any field. The second, Camp VITALL, will be taught over two summers for currently licensed professionals in vision. This includes teachers of students with visual impairments (TVI), certified orientation and mobility specialists, and certified vision rehabilitation therapists.

“NIU is the first university offering a course of study toward this,” said Stacy Kelly, an associate professor in SEED and an alumna of the program. “Individuals who choose this career path experience a sense of fulfillment not commonly found in other careers. These teachers play a significant role in the lives of children who are visually impaired and their families.”

And they are desperately needed as the U.S. continues to experience a critical national shortage of teachers for students who are blind. Unfortunately, the number of those entering the profession will never catch up to the number of those who need services.

Project VITALL encourages students in its cohorts to complete licensure for teaching children who are visually impaired (which takes 16 months) and to obtain dual certification in CATIS.

Classes are taught face to face on the NIU campus in DeKalb. Generous financial aid – all tuition and fees as well as health insurance and a stipend of $5,520 per calendar year – is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified applicants.

Camp VITALL, which provides the CATIS credential without interrupting the employment of teachers August through June, includes full tuition, fees and a $920-per-summer stipend for two consecutive summer sessions.

On-campus courses take place over eight weeks in the summer of 2017; the 12-week internship is completed in the summer of 2018.

For more information on either program, contact Kelly at 815-753-4301 or skelly@niu.edu.

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Pirtle Named Among 10 Best Attorneys http://myniu.com/pirtle-named-among-10-best-attorneys/ Mon, 28 Nov 2016 19:57:34 +0000 http://myniu.com/?p=32140 Attorney Julie M. Pirtle is recognized as a “10 Best Family Law Attorney for Client Satisfaction” in Illinois.

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Julie M. Pirtle

Julie M. Pirtle

Julie M. Pirtle, a partner of the Elgin law firm of Pucci | Pirtle LLC, has been recognized as a 2016 “10 Best Family Law Attorney for Client Satisfaction” in Illinois by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys (AIOFLA).

This award exemplifies Pirtle’s exceptional performance within the family law arena, including the outstanding attention and support she provides to her clients.

The AIOFLA is a third-party attorney rating organization. On an annual basis, the AIOFLA recognizes the “10 Best Family Law Attorneys” in each state based on their professional achievement and client service. Attorneys who are selected to the “10 Best” list are chosen through a comprehensive selection process, which includes client and peer nominations, extensive research and the AIOFLA’s independent evaluation.

“I am humbled to receive this recognition from the AIOFLA. At Pucci | Pirtle, we work hard to ensure our clients receive high-quality, tailored services and the individual attention they deserve, no matter how simple or complex their legal matter may be,” says Pirtle.

Pirtle graduated with a B.S. in sociology from Northern Illinois University, where she then went on to attend the NIU College of Law to obtain her J.D. She concentrates her legal practice in family law matters, including divorce and child custody. She also handles residential real estate transactions.

In 2015, The National Advocates named Pirtle a “Top 40 Under 40 Attorney,” and she is a “Top Rated Divorce Attorney” on AVVO based on exceptional client reviews and peer recommendations. Pirtle maintains memberships to numerous legal organizations, such as the Kane County Bar Association, McHenry County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association, where she has served on the Young Lawyer’s Division Section Council.

#NIURemarkableAlum

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