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NIU Today to illuminate extraordinary people on campus

May 12, 2016

Photo of an appleAs commencement excitement sweeps campus – and the spotlight focuses on our talented students, their amazing accomplishments and bright futures – NIU Today is gearing up to acknowledge the people who make the university flourish and those student success stories possible.

Beginning soon, and continuing throughout the year, we’ll highlight inspirational professors and staff for our campus community and beyond.

Faculty such as Amy Newman, the newly appointed NIU Board of Trustees Professor whose poetry wins awards and whose students gush with praise, are one of many examples of why NIU is an exceptional place to work and learn.

We’ll look at husband-and-wife team Andrew Otieno and Teresa Wasonga, whose love for their Kenyan homeland moved them to build and support a school for girls. We’ll chat with Toni Van Laarhoven, inspired by her sister to pursue a career in special education and to make schools better for special learners.

We’ll meet physicists Swapan Chattopadhyay and Omar Chmaissem, who are pushing the envelope in science and technology in a quickly evolving world. Many of their colleagues across campus recently honored for research and innovation similarly are seeking answers to modern puzzles.

NIU also is home to marvelous teachers and instructors, such as Jason Hanna, Qingkai Kong, Jeanne Isabel and Jason Akst, who challenge students not only to learn but to think critically, to see things differently and to form their own conclusions.

Many NIU employees who work behind the scenes, most of whom aren’t teachers but help to keep the university moving forward, also will step into our spotlight.

Keep an eye out beginning this June for these sharable stories.