College Residence Halls Shape Leaders

Year in School: Senior
Major: Communicative Disorders
Hometown: Downers Grove, IL

There are so many memorable experiences I have had here at NIU that have truly shaped who I am today. One of the most influential opportunities for me was living in the Health Professions House.  The Health House is a living learning community. This means students who chose to live in a certain residence hall commit to be actively involved with events. It’s a very unique and cool place to live!


It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when I discovered the Health House that would became such a big part of my next three years. I remember seeking out the table for Health House at an Open House. There I talked to a young man who showed me a detailed scrapbook and gave me the coolest pen ever (shaped like a needle). I was so excited to live in Lincoln for my freshman year and be involved with the Health House! I wasn’t too excited about the older residence and the lack of air conditioning but I wanted the full college experience! (Ha-ha)

As a student who was interested in a highly competitive program (Speech Language Pathology), the Health House was a great time and gave me so many more opportunities that I otherwise would not have had. For instance, you live with other students who are also interested in pursuing a Health Profession so many of us had similar classes and you could network with other students to work together. A feature unique to the Health House is an event called a “Dine and Discuss”. A speaker is invited to the residence hall to speak to students about some health topic or career and to share a meal.  Many of the Dine and Discusses furthered my knowledge and make me more comfortable to reach out to faculty. Other events were just plain fun like baseball games, musical theater, and service projects which allowed me to get to know my peers and faculty advisors! Overall as a resident of the Health House it allowed me to network with my peers and faculty, learn more about a variety of health topics, gain valuable experience, and professional skills. It was a college experience that truly pushed me academically and supported my personal development.

During my first semester in the Health House I was able to earn Dean’s List (above 3.75) and receive a participation award for my active involvement in the Health House. I was so excited about my success in the Health House that I wanted to make a difference and I applied to be a Health House Ambassador! I spent my next two years living in the Health House as a House Leader in Douglas. I worked hard to mentor students, plan events, encourage participation, attend workshops, and so much more. My final year as an ambassador I was given the position of Team Leader of the health house ambassadors. During that time as an ambassador I learned more about the health field, how to encourage others, how to be a leader, and think creatively.

I could not imagine being who I am today without the Health House! It gave me skills such as building rapport, time management, networking, personal skills, and so much more to help me one day, in a graduate program, become a Speech Language Pathologist.

Courtney Schmitt

Written by Courtney Schmitt

I chose NIU because during my first visit NIU just felt like home. Everyone I met, from peers to faculty, were rooting for my personal success. NIU exceeded my expectations in the sense of community and exceptional faculty. Being a part of the Huskie family has helped me to grow academically and personally. The residence hall life gave me countless opportunities to interact with peers, become a leader, and even engage with special speakers. The faculty and professors have inspired me to work even harder and my academic advisors have done an exceptional job in guiding me every step of the way.