Justin Wilson

Justin Wilson

#PeopleofNIU Photo by Wade Duerkes/Institutional Communications

Hometown: Dixon

Major: Marketing major

Are you attending NIU on any scholarships? Which one(s)?
I have been fortunate enough to receive several scholarships, such as the Dennis and Stacey Barsema Social Entrepreneurship Award, the Wesley J. Welch Memorial Award, and the Nick and Kim Calamos Expendable Fund this past year to assist in financing my education.

What is your major, and why did you choose your field of study?
I’m majoring in Marketing with minors in Nonprofit and NGO Studies and Social Entrepreneurship. I chose to study these areas because I have a strong interest in advertisement and digital marketing and want to make an impact in whatever career I have.

How did you learn about NIU, and why did you choose to attend?
I come from a Huskie Family. I am the ninth person in my family to attend Northern Illinois University and I have always loved the DeKalb community. I come from Dixon, which is just under an hour west of DeKalb—so it’s not too close to home but not too far away.

Are you involved in any activities at NIU? What else do you do for fun/hobbies in your spare time?
I currently serve as the VP of Marketing for the Collegiate Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs (CAUSE). I also attend worship at Grace Place Campus ministry and volunteer in the Study Abroad Office as a Peer Advisor. Outside of NIU, I love to spend time traveling, hiking and kayaking. 

What do you like about our campus and community?
My favorite thing about our campus is the East Lagoon. Whether you want to go ice skating or just relax in your hammock, it’s a beautiful spot to hang out. I also love how our community is supportive of NIU. There are many different programs that are partnered with the community to help students grow.

What has your experience inside the classroom been like at NIU?
I’ve had so many wonderful professors who are passionate about their field of study and love to help students grow professionally. They are always there to help if you need further explanation or career advice. Within all of my classes we have professionals in the field come in and talk to us and share insight with us, which is extremely beneficial.

What is something you have experienced at NIU that you will be able to take with you into future endeavors in your field?
There are many different opportunities for students to get experience within their field. Last spring, I participated in the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership/NNGO Internship Program and was able to intern with Adventure Works of DeKalb County for the semester. I’ve learned so much about development and nonprofit marketing, which I will take with me after I graduate from NIU. 

I also took a leap of faith and applied to the Global Internship and Leadership Development program, and ended up having the amazing opportunity to represent NIU in Bucerias, Mexico! Participating in GILD not only allowed me to have a new perspective of Mexico and have real-life global marketing experience, but it also allowed me to meet new people throughout the College of Business and the University that I wouldn’t have crossed paths with otherwise. I also have a unique experience to tell other students about and future employers.

The best advice for a student considering the GILD program is to give it your all. Make sure to jump at every opportunity to explore the community, ask questions with the Human Connections staff, learn as much as you can and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You will truly love your experience in Mexico if you dive in and take everything Mexico has to offer.

Would you recommend NIU to others and why? What’s a general piece of advice you’d give to someone starting college?
Absolutely! I think that NIU is a phenomenal school that has so many different things to offer. Really find out what you are interested in and continue to study and learn more. I came in knowing I wanted to major in Marketing and now I am minoring in two different things and pursuing a certificate. NIU has so many different subjects to study, so find what you are passionate about and dive in.

Regardless of your major, there are so many different opportunities that help you apply what you have learned in the classroom to real-life experiences. Take every opportunity that you see and get involved! Whether it is a professional organization or a club that sparks your interest, join and meet new people. You never know the opportunities that might exist within an organization and how it could help you in the future!

What is up next for you after your time at NIU? Any career aspirations you would like to share?
After graduation, I hope to find a career in digital marketing within the nonprofit sector or the social space, where I can make an impact. I hope to travel more and explore all the world has to offer.

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