Name: Lauren Sikes
Hometown: Naperville, Illinois
Committee: Alumni/ Foundation
My name is Lauren Sikes and I am a senior nursing major. My time at NIU has been greatly influenced by my interactions with mentors and leaders on campus. Dr. Ballantine was my professor in Chemistry 110. Kate Braser was my boss at the University Honors Program. Dr. Julia Spears is my boss at the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning. One thing that each of these mentors have in common is that they demand excellence. If you've had the pleasure to meet any one of them, you'll understand how their demand for excellence became the catalyst for my success here at NIU.
Chemistry with Dr. Ballantine was one of the first classes I took at NIU. I was terrified of failing the class, but I was very fortunate to have Dr. Ballantine as a professor. He is very personable with students and provided the resources for each of us to be successful. His passion for chemistry and willingness to help students encouraged me to work hard in class. This hard work truly paid off when I was awarded with the ACS Rock River Introductory Chemistry Scholarship for earning the highest grade of all introductory chemistry students for that year.
Sophomore year, I was fortunate to have a position working as a Community Leader at the University Honors Program. I believe that it was my recommendation letter from Dr. Ballantine that strengthened my application for the position. At the Honors Program, I worked with Kate Braser to provide service programs for honors students. Before working with Kate, I had never planned programs or organized service projects. Similar to Dr. Ballantine, Kate was very personable and inspired the staff to perform to the best of our abilities. Kate and I worked together to implement a new service project, called Birthday Boxes in the DeKalb community. Birthday Boxes provided birthday gifts and parties for children who otherwise would not be able to celebrate their birthdays.
After planning programs at the University Honors Program, I began to work at the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning. Here I took a leadership position implementing the Huskie Service Scholars program. This program provides mentorship, service work and a partial tuition waiver for first generation and low income students. It is through working on this program with Dr. Julia Spears that I was truly challenged to achieve excellence. I am very proud of the success this program has had and the personal growth it has brought to me.
These mentors pushed me to work at my greatest potential. It is through these diverse experiences that I have become the proud NIU Huskie I am today.