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Spotlight on Students

Meet Riley Wright, a student in the NLU Veterans Program

photoTell us about yourself.

I grew up in California and moved to Texas at age 14 and then moved again to South Carolina. When I graduated from high school, I wanted to be a criminologist and get as much experience as I could. However, I discovered that I had to be at least 21 to be a criminologist. I wanted to get solid hands-on experience in the field, so I joined the Army at age 18 and served for five years in Germany and Fort Carson, CO.

I knew that as soon as I got out of the Army, I would go back to school to pursue my degree. I returned to civilian life in the fall of 2009. I am married now and have a six-month-old daughter. I live in Algonquin, IL, and attend National Louis University’s Chicago campus once per week.

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Honoring and celebrating Black History Month

shutterstock_163395497Even today, eighty-eight years after historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson established Black History Month (BHM), honoring and celebrating it is still a very controversial issue among blacks and other races. Strong opinions of why it should and should not be celebrated are voiced throughout the year and specifically in the month of February.

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Meet Our Students: Alphonso Johnson

alphonso johnsonLike many adult learners at NLU, Alphonso Johnson experienced a moment of realization about the course of his life: He wanted to commit himself to living up to his full potential, as a worker, a student and a member of the community. There’s only one difference. He experienced this epiphany in jail.

“My last time in prison I told myself you’ve got to grow up,” he said. “You can’t blame anybody. You can’t justify or rationalize your behavior. You just have to grow up. You have to take the same effort and energy you used to create this criminal person and redirect that energy and effort into building who you are.”

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Living with a chronic illness

shutterstock_145620235When I was five years old, I was diagnosed with chronic asthma. Due to the severity of this disease, I was told that I would have a very short life expectancy; I would not live to see my ninth birthday. With such a dreary prognosis, I was forced to grow up fast, as my normal daily activities were drastically affected. I required lots of hospitalization, home health care and medical care. Throughout my childhood and adulthood, I basically lived in a bubble, being under close observation by my parents and numerous doctors. My family and I educated ourselves about the illness as much as possible and modified our lifestyles to reflect what we learned. My mother had a strong Christian faith and believed in the power of prayer.

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Meet Matthew Allen, a student in the NLU veterans program

matthew allen 3Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in State College, PA, near Penn State University. My parents moved us away when I was in high school, and for a while I really was looking for some guidance. The military helped me find that, and now that I’m a student Veteran at National Louis University, I feel like I’ve got another strong advocate. I currently live in Morton Grove. I’m married with three children, ages 9 to 24.

In terms of my military background, in 1992 I entered a special program in the U.S. Army. I was part of artillery and rocket shooting fire missions. My work in the military is difficult to translate into a career in the civilian field. I was told the closest match for me would be as a cartographer, but that didn’t interest me.

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Meet Johnnie Gaskew, NLU’s new student blogger

Johnnie Gaskew 3Rudyard Kipling’s quote, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind,” eloquently summarizes how I feel about written expression. It is truly a gift to be able to uniquely and creatively arrange words on paper that can be life-changing to others. To possess the amazing talent of authoring work that captivates, inspires, motivates and encourage others is simply phenomenal. Words are powerful.

Hello, my name is Johnnie A. Gaskew. Currently, I am enrolled in the Master’s of Science in Written Communication (MSWC) program here at National Louis University.

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Meet Tina Butcher-Johnson, a student in the NLU Veterans Program

flag 3Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Aurora, Illinois. I’ve been married for almost 13 years and have four kids – three boys and one girl, ages 6 to 12. Last year we took in my nephew after my sister passed away. I went into the military after high school and served three years in the Army and two years in the National Guard.

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Meet Our Students: Kristine Becker-Kristufek

kristine 2A year ago, Kristine Becker-Kristufek was feeling dejected. The school where she’d gotten her criminal justice bachelor’s degree wasn’t regionally accredited, complicating her dream of getting a master’s.

Unsure what to do next, she attended an NLU open house, where enrollment representatives told her about the fast-track Bachelor’s in Applied Behavioral Sciences (ABS) program. Kristine applied, and a financial services staffer crunched the numbers to see how she could pay for school. It was that extra touch that meant a lot to her, and things began to fall into place, from her financial options to the previous credit NLU accepted.

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Meet Claudetta Griffith, a student in the NLU Veterans Program

Claudetta picture 1Tell us about yourself.

I’m a retired veteran who served in the Navy for 22 years. I’m 40 years old, live on the South Side of Chicago and have two grown children. I’m working toward my undergraduate degree and plan to graduate in 2015. I’m currently studying Business Administration and Project Management and am not sure what career track I’ll take. I do know that I’m not going to earn my degree just to have it. I know that I want to be successful and make a positive impact in the community.
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