To put it mildly, Suzanne Degges-White is experienced at dealing with reporters.
Degges-White, who is chair of Counseling and Higher Education in the College of Education, has been featured in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle, interviewed by campus public radio station WNIJ and has been a regular contributor to newscasts on Rockford television, and on Chicago television stations like Fox-32. She can also be heard sharing her thoughts with WBBM News Radio and the Afternoon News on WGN Radio. She also regularly pops up in major magazines and on various websites.
She has spoken on topics ranging from why we grieve the breakups of power couples, to how to talk politics with family and friends, to how to deal with conflict during COVID-19. Over the years she has been featured on television and radio, in print or online hundreds of times discussing dozens of topics.
But nothing quite prepared her for a phone call on Friday, June 4, when a producer from Good Morning America called her to ask if she would mind be interviewed for a piece the following morning. She got on GMA’s radar after being prominently featured in the New York Times earlier in the week discussing how to manage one’s “friendscape” following COVID.
With only 45 minutes notice she recruited Mary Kay Soesbe, Office Support Specialist to CAHE, into service to help her artfully arrange the area behind her desk that would serve as her Zoom backdrop and then took the call and discussed how the pandemic presented an opportunity to figure out which friendships in our lives we want to devote more time and energy to and which we might need to weed out.
The piece aired nationally the next morning as a cover story and was featured on the GMA website. It was later picked up on the local newscasts of ABC affiliates in Columbus, Ohio; Las Vegas, Nevada; Savanna, Georgia; and Los Angeles.
“It was one of the biggest thrills of my professional life to be able to share my research on a national stage. It’s always gratifying when my academic research makes a difference to folks outside of my discipline and in everyday life,” said Degges-White.
It was also thrilling for her friends, family and colleagues to see Degges-White featured on a national network.
“Suzanne has a tremendous ability to connect with people and share insights in a way that is both entertaining and insightful,” said Joe King, associate director of Institutional Communications. “She is one of those individuals who truly showcases the excellence we have on the faculty here at NIU, so it was exciting to see her representing the university on such a big stage.”
Faculty interested in sharing their expertise with media can contact Joe King at 815-762-7425.