Contact: Mark McGowan, NIU Office of Public Affairs
September 24, 2009
DeKalb, Ill. — Northern Illinois University’s chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars has earned Bronze STAR status from the national honors organization for high-achieving freshmen and sophomores.
Requirements for bronze status include an induction ceremony for new members, creating an on-campus membership recruitment campaign and sending at least one officer to NSCS leadership training.
“Bronze is just the beginning,” said Mark Rosenbaum, a marketing professor in the College of Business who has served as chapter adviser for two years. “I would like to build the chapter and raise our status in the organization, based upon our engagement in the community. My goal for next year is to have one community event per month.”
Status levels, which also include platinum, gold and silver, also are determined by chapter program success, community service, member engagement and on-campus involvement.
For NIU’s chapter, which formed in 2000 and inducted more than 165 new members Sunday, community service is the top goal.
And it’s already in progress. Students in the NSCS chapter promote the benefits of higher education to young teens at Clinton Rosette Middle School.
“It’s a way for the smartest at NIU to give back to the community,” Rosenbaum said.
Lucia Pantalena, a senior elementary education major from Carol Stream, brought the Planning to Achieve Collegiate Excellence (PACE) program to NIU last year. The Clinton Rosette students met after school with their NIU mentors from 2:45 to 4 p.m. Thursdays.
“The main goal of mentoring is to help them to want to go to high school and to pursue a college education. We are the ones who can make an impact on kids. We have good things to say about going to college. We have excelled,” said Pantalena, who is student-teaching this semester in Schaumburg.
“There are students who live in DeKalb who might not have stepped foot on campus before. Going to college isn’t such a familiar topic as people might think,” she added. “You would think that they had grown up going to football games and experiencing the college life, being so near to campus, but they didn’t.”
Pantalena was exposed to Clinton Rosette when she became a Big Sister to a young girl who was a student there.
“I had brought lunch to my Little Sister there before. I had visited her there. I had a feel for the environment,” she said. “I scheduled a meeting with the guidance counselor and principal and just sat down with them.”
Six mentors were paired with students last spring. They kept notebooks of topics discussed and progress made, and stayed in touch with Pantalena through e-mail to update her on the weekly encounters.
A guidance counselor at Clinton Rosette already has called Pantalena this fall to report that students are asking about a mentoring program for the new school year.
“Mentoring is a big commitment,” she said, “but you get to know a child really well in a very short period of time.”
Other benefits of NSCS membership include access to myriad scholarships, academic travel, career resources and leadership and networking opportunities.
Membership is by invitation only and based on grade point average and class standing. More than 625,000 students are members of 235 chapters located in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
For more information about NIU’s chapter, visit http://www.sa.niu.edu/nscs.html.
# # #