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NLU Partners To Prepare High Schoolers For Teaching Careers High School District 214 in Northwest Suburbs, NLU launch Educator Prep program

D214 Educator Prep

NLU educators and administrators were at Rolling Meadows High School for High School District 214’s launch of the Educator Prep program. They witnessed two dozen students indicate their interest in teaching by joining the program.

National Louis University and High School District 214 in Chicago’s Northwest suburbs partnered to launch a first-of-its-kind in the nation program called Educator Prep.

It allows high school students, as early as freshman year, to declare their intention to become teachers, and supports them through high school and then college, through to employment as an educator in a primary or secondary school.

Educator Prep begins with a sequence of high school courses that provide students with an orientation to the career of education, opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge required to be an educator, authentic opportunities to observe and teach in a variety of classroom environments, and opportunities to gain early college credit in courses related to education.

After graduating from high school, students are able to continue in Educator Prep with NLU or another postsecondary partner. They will have the opportunity to gain a bachelor’s degree and teaching certification related to their career area of interest. Students will also receive continued professional support from and develop relationships with the program’s primary and secondary partners through clinicals, observations and professional development activities.

Students continuing the Educator Prep program at the postsecondary level will be guaranteed a student teaching placement in District 214 or one of its partner districts. Upon successful completion of student teaching, students will be guaranteed employment interviews with the primary and secondary partners if openings exist.

“Educator Prep ensures we can identify and develop the next generation of high quality teachers while also continuing to build the middle class in our communities,” wrote D214 Superintendent David Schuler.


Avoid Fragrances; Make Universities Safe for Chemically Sensitive May is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Month

By Peter Ploegmann, NLU Library and Learning Support Specialist and ADA Specialist

One Sunday last August, my wife and I were looking for a new place to live. Scents from the other apartments and laundry facilities in the building where we lived were making my wife ill. As a result, she was no longer able to be in the building for extended periods of time.

At one open house, within about two minutes of entering, we had to leave due to the aroma of air freshener. Even this limited exposure caused my wife to have a severe reaction. She had to recuperate outside for a while before we could get in the car and leave. She remained symptomatic throughout the rest of the day and week.

According to, over 48 million Americans are affected by Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). People with this condition react adversely, including life-threatening reactions, when in the presence of chemicals found in body sprays, hand lotions, perfumes, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, candles, air fresheners, cleaning products, among others. People with MCS react quickly to chemicals in the environment, yet continued exposure to these chemicals is likely harmful to everyone.

May is MCS awareness month, and even with such a high number of people affected, little is known in the general public regarding the number of toxins present in many of the chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis. Here are some facts regarding MCS, also termed Environmental Illness (EI), worth considering:

  • One in five people in the US experience adverse health effects from synthetic fragrance exposure.
  • The majority of chemicals in shampoos, detergents, and other consumer products have not been tested and proved to be safe.
  • Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. The EPA has named indoor air quality as one of the top five environmental risks to public health.

In the physical spaces of our campuses at NLU, it is important to remember that students and faculty members share the same air space. Although MCS sufferers face the same danger as those with peanut allergies or Celiac’s disease, avoiding the triggers is far more difficult. The products used by every person near them could cause a serious reaction.

To create safer learning spaces for everyone, please consider not wearing fragrant products like cologne, perfume, fragrant lotions, essential oils or body sprays while at school. Let’s work toward making NLU a safe and accessible place for everyone.

For more information, see:

Pioneer, Reach Awards Presented at Elegant NLU Event Speakers inspired attendees at gala fundraiser



Jacqueline Samuel, from left, Amanda Leftwich, Arne Duncan and Matthew King posed for a photo at the Reach Awards. Duncan received the Pioneer Award, while the others received the Reach Award.

NLU alumni, donors and friends arrived at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel Tuesday to honor one of the United States’ most influential education leaders and three NLU alumni who are exercising their knowledge and leadership in ways that bring positive change to communities.

As guests arrived, they greeted classmates and friends during a cocktail hour dramatized by the Sofitel’s sleek architecture. After they took their seats in a huge ballroom beautified by pink orchid sprays on the tables, Emcee Karen Jordan, an anchor at ABC7 News, introduced NLU President Nivine Megahed.


Mike Koldyke, founder of the Golden Apple Foundation, Patricia Koldyke, Illinois First Lady Diana Rauner and NLU President Nivine Megahed celebrated NLU’s successes at the Reach Awards.

“Education, more than ever, is our strongest vehicle for economic opportunity. It is our strongest hope for social equity,” Megahed said, explaining how NLU has created the Harrison Professional Pathways as a quality program, at an affordable price point, to help students from modest-income homes attain their bachelor’s degrees.

She also told guests about how NLU educators created the Adaptive Cycles of Teaching instructional design to place aspiring teachers in the classroom, then use technology and expert educational leaders to give them feedback loops about how they performed. As a result, students performed significantly better than expected both on written tests and in classroom confidence.

“We do this work at NLU because we believe it’s our moral obligation to be sure every student has a great education,” she declared.


NLU Board President Scott Smith, left, congratulates former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan upon receiving NLU’s Pioneer Award.”We do this work at NLU because we believe it’s our moral obligation to be sure every student has a great education,” she declared.

Guests feasted on filet mignon and creme brûlée during the dinner, which then gave way to the awards portion of the event.

Matthew King

Matthew King, the Reach award winner from NLU’s National College of Education and a change agent in education, is executive director and principal of EPIC Academy College Prep Charter High School since 2009. In accepting the award, he referenced the popular anecdote about a man throwing beached starfish back into the sea. When a bystander opines that he can’t possibly make a difference because there are far too many thousands of starfish, the man tosses one in the water and replies, “It made a difference for that one.”

King declared that NLU and OneGoal would abandon a “toss one in the water” approach because it’s random and lacks strategy. Instead, they would study the data, find out why starfish get beached and find more efficient ways to get them back in the water. And their goal would be to help 100 percent of the starfish thrive, he indicated, just as NLU and EPIC strive to help all students succeed.

Jacqueline Samuels

Last summer, Jackie Samuels, the Reach award winner in the College of Professional Studies and Advancement, surveyed 126 people in the South Chicago neighborhood, where she works as senior program director for Claretian Associates, a housing and human services provider. Of those surveyed, 51% indicated they had witnessed a shooting.

“If you had to live with that kind of trouble, what would your life look like?” she asked, noting that even everyday activities like going to school or to the park put residents at risk. Then she posed a more philosophical question to her listeners: “How do we heal our communities?”

With her activities as director of the Chicago Public Schools’ Safe Passage program, the Southeast Chicago Coalition for the Arts and South Chicago/South Shore Ceasefire, as well as a quality of life plan for the South Chicago area, Samuels is determined to be part of the healing process.

“I will not tolerate the injustices of the world, because NLU has strengthened my voice,” she declared.

Amanda Leftwich

After acknowledging she has struggled with learning challenges all her life, Amanda Leftwich, winner of the P.A.C.E. Reach award, thanked her parents for doing diligent research and finding NLU’s P.A.C.E. program.

“P.A.C.E. has impacted my life in ways I never could have imagined,” she said, explaining she gained many life skills, including those which equip her to live in an apartment with her roommate and best friend, and to hold a paid career position. She works as a teacher’s aide at Rush University Medical Center’s daycare center, aiding in the growth and development of babies and toddlers. Recently, she earned her Level 1 ECE (early childhood education) credential.

“I accept this award on behalf of present and future P.A.C.E. students who will also rise above their challenges,” she said.

Arne Duncan

After serving as U.S. Secretary of Education from 2009 until last December, Arne Duncan is back in his hometown and energized to use education as a tool to reduce Chicago’s violence by providing its underprivileged young people with opportunities .

NLU awarded Duncan its Pioneer Award, which is bestowed on individuals with exceptional character, a sense of higher purpose in life and work, and a record of increasing opportunities for others.

After thanking NLU for its focus on access, affordability, innovation and completion, Duncan took a frank look at education in the U.S today, saying that even though the college graduation rate for Latinos has increased from 8 to 15 percent in the past two decades, and the rate for African Americans has gone from 13 to 23 percent, that is nowhere near adequate.

“We can’t talk about education today without talking about race and class and opportunity, or lack thereof, and privilege, or lack thereof,” he said, noting Illinois has a school funding formula riddled with inequity.

“What NLU can do to challenge the status quo among schools of education is to talk boldly about how important excellence is in education, how transformative great teachers are,” he said. “So the opportunity for NLU to lead that national conversation is both huge and desperately needed.”

Duncan reflected that his return to Chicago has been bittersweet, with joy at seeing old friends tinged with upset at seeing the city’s level of violence, and the lack of education, job and life opportunities for 17 to 24-year-old men of color, who statistically are most often the shooters and victims, he said.  Duncan has taken a position with the Emerson Collective, which will work specifically with men in this population who are neither in school nor working.

“I’m convinced we can’t police our way out of this. We have to compete with gangs, to give these young men jobs,” Duncan declared.

“We have to create jobs and opportunities on the South and West sides, because young men are convinced they’re making pretty rational choices to go with the gangs and sell drugs, because they don’t have other alternatives.”

He challenged listeners to do more to help this specific population, who may not have had the best schools or the most functional families, and are struggling.

“If we come together we can pretty radically change this,” he concluded.








Prof Develops Domestic Violence Prevention for Hotel Industry Former Chicago Police Department sergeant Cynthia Schumann addressing problem


Cynthia Schumann, Ed.D., community policing sergeant for the Chicago Police Department and adjunct professor at NLU, is an expert in domestic violence prevention.

Travel blogger Nancy D. Brown couldn’t sleep because the screaming voices of a man and woman came right through the wall of her hotel room. The couple, who were in the next room, were engaging in a heated fight, which threatened to turn violent.

Brown called the hotel’s front desk when she heard a baby cry, but the hotel receptionist didn’t quite know how to handle the situation. Eventually, Brown learned that Cynthia Schumann, Ed.D., an NLU adjunct professor as well as a community policing sergeant at the Chicago Police Department,  developed a online training course on domestic violence prevention for managers and front-line workers in the hospitality industry, which has unique risk factors for domestic violence.

“Domestic Violence no longer remains behind closed doors,” said Schumann, as quoted in Brown’s blog. “That is why it is important to realize, recognize, respond and refer to acts of domestic violence, their victims and their abusers appropriately, safely and knowledgeably.”


Grads: Turn LinkedIn Connections into Networking Opportunities

By Consiglia Intile, Assistant Director of Career Services 

LinkedIn_logo_initialsAs a job seeker, you may come to dread the very notion of networking with valuable LinkedIn connections. After all, these people may hold the keys to your career, provided you make the right first impression. To help remedy your nerves and provide a nice confidence boost, let’s explore some common do’s and don’ts of connecting on LinkedIn.

Do: Research your potential networking contacts and their companies

This is the first step job seekers should take prior to any conversation that is started on LinkedIn or any other networking venue. Job seekers should review the employer’s and the connection’s page and identify something they enjoyed reading or found interesting or instructive. These items can serve as the basis for an initial conversation. Also, adding a question about their background experience can show your connection-to-be that your intent is to learn from them. Forming a friendly relationship in which you are appealing to your connection’s expertise is often an effective way to network.

Do: Prepare questions in advance of the conversation

This is an important piece of any networking conversation. Often, networking should be treated as an informational interview. Job seekers should focus on starting the interview with a general professional greeting, and use questions such as “tell me how you got started in this field?,” “What was your background before entering the field?,” “What do you find most rewarding/challenging about your field?,” and “What can I do to prepare for a career in this field?” Having questions like these prepared in advance shows the employer that you respect their time and shows you put effort into making this conversation productive.

Don’t: Leave the ball in their court

After conducting an informational interview, don’t leave it up to your connection to stay in touch. It is very important to follow up with your contact by sending a thank-you letter afterwards. To ensure your thank-you letter is effective, write down your thoughts and impressions of the meeting and address anything that you might have missed during your conversation. Sending this letter can bring about a closer tie with this contact which can result in a recommendation or future opportunities with their company.

Don’t: Expect or ask the connection if they can help you get a job

This is a very common question many job seekers ask their connections on LinkedIn. Asking this too early or at all may come across as desperate or insincere which will cause your connection to think this is the only reason  you contacted them in the first place. This should be avoided at all measures on LinkedIn because it is seen to be very unprofessional. The goal is to make a great first impression with your contact, have a thought-out discussion with them in hopes they would think of you when there is an open position for which you are qualified. If you made an impact on the employer or connection, they may contact you about available positions.

NLU Ranked Among Safest Universities in Illinois crunched student and public data, ranked NLU 6th in state

140512-nlu-chicago-campas-michigan-ave-3The issue of campus safety has made headlines in the past year, but a recent ranking confirms that National Louis University is one of the safest schools in Illinois.

Reboot Illinois reported that, a rankings website which factors both student surveys and publicly-available data into its rankings, has listed NLU as 6th in the state for campus safety, with a possible score of 4.2 out of 5.

The 4.2 score was higher than many of the other universities, large and small, public and private, urban and suburban, on the list. There are 148 colleges and schools of higher education in the state, according to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. 

See full information here.


ABC7 Covers NLU’s Reach Gala and Awards Karen Jordan emcees, introduces four awardees

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 1.12.21 PMNLU’s annual gala Reach Awards fundraiser was featured on ABC7 News Tuesday, minutes after the event itself took place.

Karen Jordan, an ABC7 News anchor, emceed the event, introducing NLU President Nivine Megahed, as well as other dignitaries.

NLU presented its Pioneer Award to former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Reach awards to three alumni.

Duncan is familiar to Chicagoans because he served as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools from 2001 to 2008. In 2009, President Obama appointed him as education secretary. He served for about six years in the post, and stepped down in December to join a non-profit which focuses on jobs for urban youth.

Matthew King, M.Ed., a change leader in education,  won the National College of Education’s Reach award. He has served as executive director and principal at EPIC Academy College Prep Charter High School since 2009.

Jacqueline Samuel, Ph.D., a community psychologist and champion of affordable housing, human services and safe conditions for the South Chicago neighborhood, won the College of Professional Studies and Advancement’s Reach award. She directs the Chicago Public Schools’ Safe Passage program.

Amanda Leftwich is a graduate of NLU’s P.A.C.E. program, geared to students with learning disabilities. She credits P.A.C.E. with teaching her life skills so that she can take public transportation, live in her own apartment and work full-time at an early childhood center/daycare at Rush University Medical Center.

View video of the ABC7 coverage here.


Two Students Receive Awards from Honor Society The National Society for Leadership and Success provided scholarships to Lankah, Long

The National Society for Leadership and Success, a student honor society, honored two of its members in the NLU community with scholarship awards.


Samuel Lankah received a National Society for Leadership and Success scholarship.

Samuel Lankah received the Emerging Leaders Scholarship in the amount of $1,000. He will be earning his Master’s in Healthcare Administration degree next month.

“I’m so honored to have received this award; and it’s definitely a testament to the overwhelming support from my family, friends, and professors here at NLU,” he said.

Lankah works as a complex medical case manager at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His new master’s degree will expand his career options.

“I find myself more and more interested in either hospital human resources or compliance; so I hope to explore positions in these areas,” he said.

Lynn LongLynn Long received the Student Leadership Program Grant from the Society, also in the amount of $1,000. She will earn her Master’s of Education (M.Ed.) in Curriculum and Instruction next month, and plans to go on to earn her doctorate at NLU.

Long, whose Native American heritage is from the Ojibway tribe, is an enrolled member of the Lac du Flambeau Indian reservation in Wisconsin. She hopes to someday work with tribal schools and Native American youth.

“My professors at NLU were supportive,” she said. “I can’t say enough about how they encouraged me and inspired me.”

NLU founded a chapter of the National Society for Leadership and Success in Fall 2014. It is the largest college honor society in the U.S., with chapters at more than 400 colleges and universities. The NLU chapter has more than 800 members.

Commencement Speakers Offer Inspiring Stories One survived a refugee camp to enter Harvard; one fights to help children

Two speakers with powerful stories will address NLU graduates at Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, June 12.

color72dpi2Mawi Asgedom, who survived war in Africa, a refugee camp and personal tragedy, persevered and graduated from Harvard University.  He is an author and inspirational speaker, motivating students to leadership and success. He will speak at NLU’s National College of Education Commencement.

Asgedom was only seven when he arrived in the United States in 1983. But by that time, he and his family had already endured civil war in their home nations of Ethiopia and Eritrea, and lived through three years in a Sudanese refugee camp. After settling in the U.S., both his father and brother were killed in separate drunk driver crashes not long apart. Giving the Commencement address at Harvard University at his own 1999 graduation launched him on a journey that led to writing his story in the best-selling “Of Beetles and Angels,” public speaking and appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show. He has developed inspirational courses for high school students on student success, college and career readiness, and leadership.

MarianWrightEdelmanMarian Wright Edelman, the first African-American woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar in the mid-1960s and who later went on to found the Children’s Defense Fund, has become one of the nation’s premier advocates for children. She will speak at NLU’s College of Professional Studies and Advancement Commencement.

For 40 years, Edelman and the Children’s Defense Fund have championed policies and programs that lift children out of poverty. The non-profit organization also works to  protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure their access to health care, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation.

Edelman, who graduated from  Spelman College and Yale Law School, has written eight books about providing the best for children. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, in 2000.


Student Takes 7th Place in NASA International Debate Competition Sarina Craig, president of NLU Debate Society, participated in online debate

Sarina Craig

NLU student Sarina Craig placed well in a NASA international debate competition.

Sarina Craig, president of the NLU Debate Society, recently finished in seventh place in the Top Speakers category in the Binghamton University 4th Annual Online Debate Tournament in conjunction with NASA Astrobiology Debates.

Craig and other students from around the world debated the resolution:  “An overriding ethical obligation to protect and preserve extraterrestrial microbial life and ecosystems should be incorporated into international law.”

Results from the tournament can be viewed here.

The tournament was an online tournament sponsored by NASA in order to further awareness about space exploration and space policy specifically relating to astrobiology. The tournament itself was hosted by Binghamton University in New York, and any high school or university could participate from around the world.

“The tournament was an online tournament sponsored by NASA in order to further awareness about space exploration and space policy specifically relating to astrobiology,” Craig said. “The tournament itself was hosted by Binghamton University in New York, and any high school or university could participate from around the world.”

Videos of Craig competing can be viewed at the Sarina Elizabeth Craig Youtube channel.

To inquire about the NLU Debate Society, please contact faculty moderator Danny McGuire at
Event: Classic Online Tournament