Meet Brandon Medrano, pictured on the right. Medrano is passionate about helping children who have different learning needs. He worked last summer to develop a stronger understanding of children with special needs, and is now actively working towards his degree in special education. The Greenebaum Memorial Fund has helped pay for part of Medrano’s tuition, reducing stress on Medrano and his family.
“Throughout my experience at ISU, the one thing I have learned is that there is always a way to give back to the community,” said Kristina Wiemer ‘19. The recent psychology grad has taken advantage of every volunteering opportunity she has been given including participating in two alternative spring break trips and being a college mentor for kids. “ISU has given me the opportunity to focus on giving back to others, and has inspired me to pursue a career where I can focus on helping children, teachers, families, and schools to hopefully make a difference in the overall community.” Leaders like Wiemer are paving the way for a more positive world. After graduation Wiemer plans to attend Northern Illinois University to earn a Ph.D. in school psychology.
Emma Horath ’19 has been an incredibly driven student while at ISU. During her time on campus, she was a photographer for the Vidette and University Marketing Communications, and president of Women In Business. Horath won the Caterpillar Outstanding Student in Organizational Leadership Scholarship in 2018 for her efforts and has already accepted a position to work for Groupon in her hometown of Chicago following her May graduation. Horath’s primary focus has been helping Women in Business grow and expand to the size it is today. Horath is an excellent example of how students can grab leadership positions to make themselves stand out.
Nathan Stukenberg ’19 recently graduated with a degree in cyber security. Stukenberg proved himself as a leader throughout his time at ISU by being a member of the Honors Program and ISU Cross Country Club, and serving as ISU Triathlon Club treasurer and ISU Security and Hacking Club vice president. The proud alum graduated with a job offer from Discover Financial Services working in their Cyber Security department. Stukenberg said, “At Illinois State I learned that networking with people in all majors is a great way to expand your network and social circle.”
Bryce Pietrowiak ’19 has taken advantage of every opportunity given to her at ISU. Not only was she the president of Business Week her senior year, but Pietrowiak also served as the College of Business marketing intern and social media intern at the same time. Getting involved in student and professional organizations gave Pietrowiak the chance to gain real world experiences before stepping off campus. This recent graduate has proven herself to be a standout leader and exceptional student. Thanks to her hard work, Pietrowiak has big post-graduation plans—she has already accepted a position at Oracle in Chicago.
Katie Helander has been one busy student the past three years but her craziest year has yet to come. The junior public relations major has been on the executive board for the ISU chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America for two years, holding positions such as secretary and most recently president. For her senior year she will be traveling to Queretaro, Mexico to complete an internship this fall. If that isn’t exciting enough, Helander will also be flying to Groningen, Netherlands this coming spring to complete her certificate in international communication. Helander’s next school year will be life changing for her and we couldn’t be prouder to call her a Redbird.
Dramatic is an understatement when it comes to describing Daija Nealy ’19. The acting grad and Texas native has big dreams for herself and is on her way to obtaining them. Nealy has been involved in multiple productions with the School of Theater and Dance. She is an international conversation partner and served as a company member for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival touring company for two years. Nealy was awarded the Friends of the Arts Scholarship as well as the Redbird Scholarship and a Talent Scholarship. When she crossed the commencement stage early this month, Nealy became the first member of her family to graduate with a four-year degree. Students like Nealy are putting themselves out there to get involved and further advance their passions.
Music has always come naturally for Derek Zimmerman ’19 and has been his passion for most of his life. Coming to ISU, he knew he would be studying tuba performance as a music major, but ended up discovering another passion for business during his time here. As a double major in music and finance, Zimmerman has multiple options for his future career plans; music performance or working full-time in the business world. “Having just completed my time at ISU I am realizing that my career didn’t start when I left ISU, but my career started as soon as I stepped on campus. The mentors I have worked under, and the opportunities I have been given have only been possible by going to ISU,” said Zimmerman.
Recent graduate Carrie Happel ’19 is excited to see where her ISU experiences will take her in the coming months. A well-known leader in the College of Business (COB), Happel has taken her creativity to another level. This past year, Happel was vice president of marketing for Business Week as well as a mentor for incoming business students. Happel was a founding member of the Adobe Ambassador team, on which she later served as team leader. As the spring 2019 marketing intern for the COB, Happel was able to expand her marketing skills beyond traditional learning. These are some of the opportunities students at ISU have that enable them to excel in the professional world.
Collin Marcum ’19 has major Redbird pride and is excited to continue his time in the Bloomington-Normal area following graduation. The senior graduated as a double major in human resource management and history and plans to work in a human resources position. Marcum wasted no time when it came to getting involved on ISU’s campus. Marcum held the position of vice president of the Society for Human Resource Management, was a student housing resident assistant for two years and also worked as a service area desk manager in the resident halls. He also earned quite a few scholarships during his time here at ISU that motivated him in his studies, two of them being the Outstanding Junior in Management Scholarship and the Growmark-Vern McGinnis Endowed Leadership Scholarship. Marcum stated that his favorite memory of ISU was being given the opportunity to co-lead the Illinois Society for Human Resources Student Conference his senior year. Students like Collin Marcum use the opportunities they have to make a name for themselves on campus and off.
Illinois State University students benefit from donor support through the scholarships they receive, talented faculty who enhance their learning opportunities, innovative learning spaces they visit, and programs that support their career dreams. The University is currently engaged in Redbirds Rising, a $150 million comprehensive campaign to bolster students’ experiences on campus. To contribute to the students, faculty, facilities, and programs that make Illinois State a leading U.S university, visit Giving.IllinoisState.edu/donate.