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Scholarship Recipient: Amber Sayles

As a mother, student and paramedic, Amber Sayles places high value on the need to be disciplined – one of the Northern Pact’s key principles.

Sayles, a 24-year-old junior from Sycamore, has spent six years working for local fire departments, first as an emergency medical technician and more recently as a paramedic. Staying cool and focused in the moment is key when treating someone with life-threatening injuries.

The chemistry major prides herself on involvement in NIU's Honors Program, a testament to her contributions to the university community and a dedication in the classroom that has earned her a 4.0 grade-point average.

Through it all, she aims to be best person she can for herself and her daughter, doing whatever is necessary to better their lives. Keeping such a full plate in order takes discipline, as well as an internal push to make it all happen – something Sayles says is nothing new to her.

"I've always been a driven, goal-oriented person," Sayles said.

That drive to succeed earned Sayles a Northern Pact scholarship, an honor she takes to heart because the Pact’s principles of being purposeful, just, caring, disciplined and celebrative within the university community all have personal meaning to her.

"It was an extreme honor. It was really nice to be recognized by the university," Sayles offered.

Describing herself as someone who does what she needs to reach her goals, Sayles says she fell in love with fire science as a high school student. She became an EMT while volunteering with the Cortland Fire Department and later moved to the Maple Park Fire Department where she is a paramedic, CPR instructor and keeps tabs on EMT and paramedic license requirements.

That experience has led Sayles served as a guide for her career and educational focus.

"I’ve always wanted to be a doctor or be in public service,” Sayles explained, adding that she’' looking toward medical school as a future option.

In the meantime, Sayles will continue to enjoy her time on campus. The variety of organizations and opportunities at NIU keeps her pushing forward.

"NIU’s been great. I enjoy everything NIU has to offer," she said.

Three $1,000 Northern Pact scholarships are awarded to first-time undergraduate students who are considered based on an essay explaining how he or she represents one of the Pact’s principles. 

Apply online for the 2018-19 Northern Pact scholarship.


2016-2017 Northern Pact Scholarship Winner Amber Sayles.

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