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NIU ACCESS names new PAL assistant director

September 14, 2012
Nirmala John

Nirmala John

Northern Illinois University’s ACCESS has appointed Nirmala John assistant director for Peer Assisted Learning (PAL).

Having spent more than 25 years serving as supervisor for the Tutoring Center at Harper College in Palatine, John will oversee the PAL tutoring centers located in Douglas Hall, Lincoln Hall, New Residence Hall and Founders Memorial Library. She also will be responsible for one-on-one, appointment-based tutoring as well as group tutoring.

Shevawn Eaton, director of NIU ACCESS, said she feels lucky to have someone with John’s experience helping solidify the campus tutoring programs.

“When we interviewed Nimi, we all knew from the moment she got here that she was going to be a good fit for this job,” Eaton said. “She comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and a warm and kind personality. I have seen how students are drawn to her, and it’s obvious there is a mutual respect.”

John credits her personal experiences on the job and as a mother for her ability to relate to students.

“My experience as a mom helps me empathize with students,” John said. “I can understand their struggles and needs. Sometimes all the students need is a little TLC, a nudge or a pat on the back for them to achieve their academic goals.”

John takes over the position previously held by Hillard Hebda, who retired in June.

For more information on ACCESS tutoring programs, call (815) 753-0203 or visit