Staff

Eric Armstrong

Eric Armstrong, M.B.A.
Director
earmstrong1@niu.edu

A native of the southside of Chicago, Eric holds an M.B.A. from Keller Graduate School of Management and a Bachelors in Science and Technical Management (Human Resources concentration) from DeVry University. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1999-2003 and deployed into Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 and deployed into Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Eric has worked in higher education for 10 years in various capacities from admissions to the registrar, to academic advising and for the past 4 years, working with student veterans. He loves working with students and can be found interacting with students on a daily basis on campus. He enjoys watching almost any sport, but football is king. Eric has an open door policy for all students who need to talk or exchange ideas that would help all students at NIU.


Jeffrey Salmon

Jeffrey Salmon, M.A., M.S.Ed.
Assistant Director
jsalmon1@niu.edu

A native of Geneva, Ill., Jeffrey holds a master's degree in adult & higher education from NIU and a second master's in mass communication from the University of Oklahoma. Jeffrey joined MPTSS as the graduate intern in June of 2013 before moving to his current role in February 2014. He enjoys helping students because he feels he was blessed with great academic experiences and wants to help students get the most out of their journeys. Jeffrey has worked with college students in one capacity or another for 10 years in academic and athletics settings. He’s worked as a teaching assistant, certifying official, public relations practitioner and an academic tutor. At the student affairs level, he has worked in TRiO and admissions offices. The perfect day at work for Jeffrey is a day that is busy with students needing assistance and them leaving feeling they were better because of his efforts than when they came into the office. The best advice Jeffrey would give to a NIU student is “Enjoy and take advantage of every moment possible here on campus. You are not only investing in an education at NIU, you are investing in yourself!”


Terri Gible

Terri Gibble
Office Support Specialist
tgibble@niu.edu

Terri comes to MPTSS from the Convocation Center. A native of Aurora, Ill., she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in Landscape Architecture. She worked as a Park Planner in the western suburbs and in central Illinois for 30 years. She recently moved to Sycamore, Ill., and decided to take her career in a different direction--working in office administration assisting colleagues, students and the general public. Terri enjoys helping students (and, sometimes, their parents!) navigate through their questions in order to have a successful college experience. In her free time, Terri is involved with the Sycamore History Museum, the Sycamore Park District and St. Mary’s Church. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, gardening, watching movies and traveling. Her advice to students: “Follow your passion with persistence and do not hesitate to ask for assistance along the way. Enjoy your college journey!



Laura Vivaldo Cholula

Laura Vivaldo Cholula
Graduate Assistant
lvivaldocholula1@niu.edu

Laura is continuing her education at NIU by pursuing a law degree after receiving her Bachelor's degree in Political Science with a minor with Latino & Latino studies. She comes to the MPTSS office from Elgin, Ill.. Her goal is to give back to the community using her legal education. As post-traditional student, she used the MPTSS lounge and support services. As a graduate assistant, she looks forward to assist undergraduate students and help them feel welcomed on campus. Laura's advice to students is, "Study hard and do not be afraid to ask for help. Students should take advantage of all the opportunities and resources on campus".


Angelia Faller

Angelia Faller
Graduate Assistant
asandquist@niu.edu

Angelia is pursuing her masters in school counseling. She earned her bachelor’s degree from NIU majoring in art with a minor in psychology. Over the past few years, Angelia has lived in several states including North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado. She is very excited to be entering the field of counseling and enjoys helping people. As a nontraditional commuter student, she is familiar with the planning and challenges of being a parent and a student. Time management is key! Angelia volunteers at animal shelters, loves hiking, camping, kayaking, trail running and cooking. Her favorite quote is from the book Wild, “My mom said there’s a sunrise and sunset every day and you can choose to be there or not. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.” - Cherl Strayed.


Christopher Robinson

Christopher Robinson
Graduate Assistant
crobrinson5@niu.edu

Chris is pursuing a master's degree after completing his B.S. in athletic training at NIU in the spring of 2018. From 2009-2013, he served in the United States Marine Corps and then returned home to Yorkville, Ill., to begin school at NIU. He started at Military Student Services in August of 2013 and has continued to increase his knowledge of military benefits ever since. He enjoys pretty much any activity that helps him stay healthy and in shape. Recently he started an internship at Sycamore CrossFit and has really enjoyed gaining the knowledge and experience.


Taylor Spooner
Graduate Assistant
tspooner1@niu.edu

Taylor comes to the MPTSS office from Aurora, Ill. She completed her bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Sciences, and minored in both Deaf Rehabilitation and Psychology at Northern Illinois University. She has chosen to continue her education at NIU by pursuing her law degree. Her goal is to eventually give back to her local community by becoming a public interest attorney. As a transfer student herself, she hopes that by working in the MPTSS office that she can connect students with valuable resources in order to help their transition to NIU's campus. Taylor's advice to NIU students is, "Take every opportunity possible, and get involved in a club or organization. By trying new thing's on campus you learn more about yourself and you can meet incredible people along the way".


Zachary Alexander
VA Student Benefits Counselor
zalexander@niu.edu

Zachary Alexander is a computer science major who enjoys helping others. In 2012, he joined the United States Marine Corps and enlisted as a Cyber Network Specialist. He was lucky enough to be stationed in Okinawa, Japan for two years. In 2016, he returned home to Rockford, Ill., and started attending Rock Valley College, where he earned his Associate's Degree in 2018.


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Justin Hoffman
VA Student Benefits Counselor

Justin is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology. After completing his B.S., he plans on pursuing a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology. During the years of 2007-12, he served in the United States Marine Corps and then returned home to Illinois. He completed his Associates in Science at College of DuPage before transferring to Northern Illinois University and starting work as a benefits counselor with the Military and Post-Traditional Student Services in October of 2017. Experienced as a family readiness officer’s assistant, he comes into the office with a good background in military family services and is excited to learn about student military benefits. Justin enjoys staying active and the outdoors whenever he has free time and trains for triathlons year around. Active on the executive board of the NIU Exercise Science Club, he is also looking forward to seeing the growth of the club over the next year.


eduardo rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez
VA Student Benefits Counselor
erodriguez5@niu.edu

Eduardo is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Operations Management and Information Systems. His parents immigrated into the United States from Mexico for a better life. Eduardo joined the Army National Guard in June of 2016. He is a field artilleryman. With the National Guard paying for his school he hopes to get his B.A., work for some time and return to college to get his master’s degree. One of his favorite quotes is from Muhammad Ali "I hated every minute of training, but I said don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion."

 


Austin McDaniel
VA Student Benefits Counselor

Austin McDaniel is senior at NIU and currently pursuing a BA in History with a minor in Russian and currently holds an associates degree from the Community College of the Air Force. He joined the Air Force in 2010 and transferred to the Air Force Reserves in 2017 in order to pursue his education full time. Having navigated the waters of VA benefits himself he looks forward to assisting others with their benefits needs and questions.


Amy Esmendan
VA Student Benefits Counselor

Amy Esmenda is a first-year benefits counselor who is majoring in psychology. In 1197, she enlisted in the United States Army. She was a Chemical Operations Specialist. For two years, she stationed in Korea. She moved to Illinois four years ago and pursued her associate's degree at Kishwaukee College.


Yaroslav Sobal
VA Student Benefits Counselor

Yaroslav is a junior at NIU and is currently pursuing a B.A. degree in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on policy. From 2010-13, Yaroslav served in the U.S. Army, and continues to serve in the Illinois National Guard today. During Yaroslav’s active military time, he was stationed overseas in Germany, Latvia, and spent a year-long deployment to Paktika province Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. His hobbies are outdoor activities such a cycling, camping and hiking. His goal is to provide vital information to post-traditional NIU students to aid their transition to the Huskie family and provide sustainable support to students enhancing their NIU experience.


Nicholas Swanson
VA Student Benefits Counselor
nswanson2@niu.edu

Nicholas is currently pursuing a B.S. in computer science and psychology. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) NCO from 2005–2014. During his time in the military he was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Nicholas has worked as a tutor for the Student-Athlete Support Services and continues to work with the Department of Computer Science as a teaching assistant. He is also a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) chapter as a webmaster. He started working with the Military and Post-Traditional Student Services in June of 2018 and has continued to learn from the experience ever since. His hobbies include reading, programming and biking.


princess jeremie

Princess Jeremie
Student Intern

Princess is currently pursuing a B.S. in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Computer Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to enlist in the Army and join the Army Corps of Engineers. Princess was born in Landstuhl, Germany, as a natural-born American citizen. She is a member of Society of Women Engineers and Engineers without Borders. She joined the MPTSS team in the fall of 2017.


Contact Us

MPTSS Lounge and Support Services
Campus Life Building, room 170
815-753-9999
ocntss@niu.edu 
815-752-9999 (FAX)



Military Student Benefits Counseling
Campus Life Building 240
815-753-0691
mss@niu.edu
815-753-0943 (FAX)