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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 mcs-america.org, 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: http://mcs-america.org/index_files/MCSAwarenessMonth.htm

Craft Your 60-Second ‘Elevator Pitch’ for Employers Grads, as you seek employment and attend job fairs, practice that pitch

By: Paula Rucci Voigt, Career Advisor at National Louis University

Elevator WomanWalking up to a potential employer at a job fair or networking event and knowing how to start the conversation can be intimidating, if you’re not prepared. As NLU students and alumni prepare for the upcoming Spring Career Expo, an “elevator pitch” is no doubt on their minds. Knowing how to grab an employer’s attention, and keep it, is a valuable networking and interviewing skill. You’ll want to be able to deliver a clear summary 30 seconds  to one minute in length consisting of your background, experiences and goals. Here are some key steps to keep in mind as you develop your perfect pitch.

Start with a Concise, Value-Added Intro

After offering a firm, comfortable handshake and a smile, begin by conveying the basics to give context to your pitch. This will orient the listener and help them stay focused on what you’re saying. Begin by stating your name, your major or industry, and a concise blurb about what you do or your future goals. Don’t rely on boring job titles to describe your unique set of skills; instead, use a descriptive phrase that emphasizes the value that you bring to the table. Continue reading »

NLU Opening Doors to Education for Urban Youth Dr. Legler takes high schoolers on tour of corporations, hopes to inspire them

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King College Prep High School students visit the offices of Archer Daniels Midland in Chicago. The visit was arranged through Pathways to Success.

While many Chicago high school students can see the towering office buildings downtown from their neighborhoods, they may never have been inside one, nor known anybody who works in one.

NLU’s Ray Legler, Ph.D., is hoping to make these buildings–and the possibility of someday working in a stable career position  in such a place–more real for urban youth.

Legler, assistant professor of psychology, recently led a group of students from Dunbar  Vocational Career Academy High School to visit the downtown offices of Deloitte Consulting. The following week, he accompanied a student group from King College Prep High School on a visit to the offices of Archer Daniels Midland.

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Students from Dunbar Vocational Career Academy High School visit the offices of Deloitte Consulting through a visit arranged by Dr. Ray Legler’s Pathways to Success project.

The visits encompassed part of Legler’s Pathways to Success project, which is funded by a seed grant from National Louis University. He focuses on Chicago’s near-South side  Bronzeville community, and collaborates with the Bronzeville Community Action Council. They aim to expose high school students, including those at King and Dunbar, to the world of college and rewarding, stable, well-paying careers. This includes helping the schools build relationships with local colleges, universities, and businesses.

The field trips to employers offer students the opportunity to learn about businesses they might not be aware of and the chance to think about their future careers. During the recent visits, the students had the chance to tour the facilities, learn about what the company does, and interact with company employees over pizza.

Students in the program learn about various careers, the education and skills required for these careers, and the range of salaries that they can expect to make in various occupations.

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King College Prep students sink into the executive chairs in ADM’s boardroom.

One student from King High School commented, “I really enjoyed today’s presentation and tour. I feel like I can have a future in the careers that were mentioned, so this really brought light to my future because I’m very undecided and unsure about what I’d like to major in. So today was very helpful to me.”

A Dunbar student said, “I would love to come back. I had a great time. You really opened my eyes to many different things. Things that I really didn’t know anything about, and I would love to work here in the future because the salary you guys make is awesome!”

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month; Speak Up When You See a Friend At Risk Written by Melissa Simmons, Graduate Assistant in the Office of Student Experience

RedFlagGraphicDid you know females ages 16-24 experience the highest per capita rates of intimate violence? That’s triple the national average.

For Sexual Assault Awareness Month, NLU’s Student Experience Office is dedicated to educating students on the issues related to domestic and dating violence with our Red Flag campaign. The Red Flag campaign is a project of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, and was created by college students, college personnel and community victim advocates. Continue reading »

Distinguished Leader Series Taps NLU’s Azcoitia He joined other leaders to lecture at California university

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Carlos Azcoitia, front row, and Diana Aczoitia pose with Soka students, back row from left, Jamie Haynes, Jessica Bridges, Vicki Mokuria and Stephanie Samaniego and Soka program director Jay Heffron. Students not pictured: Prince Heto and Alankrita Chhikara.

NLU’s Carlos Azcoitia, Ed.D., recently traveled to southern California when Soka University invited him to teach graduate students in its Distinguished Practitioners Series. He spent two days engaging students in Soka’s Educational Leadership and Societal Change course.

Soka asked Azcoitia and five other accomplished leaders to examine the course’s themes of inclusive leadership, social justice, the dynamics of organizational change, and ways to overcome barriers to change. Continue reading »

How I Published Three Journal Articles From My Dissertation A doctoral graduate urges students to give it a try

By Robert Sky Allen, Ph.D.

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Robert Sky Allen, Ph.D., completed his doctoral dissertation and then submitted it as three separate articles in peer-reviewed journals. All were published.

Over the three years of the doctoral program in Community Psychology at National Louis University, my professors occasionally asked if I wanted to convert the research from my dissertation into an article for publication in an academic, peer-reviewed journal.

I always said no. I was too focused on completing the program and I hardly had time for that. But then one day, suddenly it seemed, the program was over and I found myself looking for something intellectual to do. Continue reading »

All Work and No Play There's more to life as a student beyond that computer, textbook, and classroom.

Everywhere you look, there’s a flyer trying to catch your attention, a text with the latest news, and an email asking you stop by an event. You’re a busy student, so why should you stop and take notice of the events and activities on campus?

Being a college student is such a special opportunity. Not only are you a sponge for new information, but are also gazing dreamily towards your professional future. No matter your age, being a student is exciting as you work hard and diligently towards a more knowledgeable and skilled you.

Thinking back to my college experience as a young undergrad, often the first memories that come to mind are the interesting people I met and the experiences I had. College is not only a place where you can build your skills and learn the content necessary to advance yourself professionally, it’s a place where you can experience pride. Pride in your achievements, pride in the opportunities to challenge yourself to experience new things, pride in the educational home you’ve chosen for yourself.

While I had a traditional college experience of living in the dorm, working on campus as an orientation leader, and changing my major half a dozen times I look back with strong emotions of pride. When I sit here writing this blog, I’m reflecting on a few of the fondest and proudest memories:

  • Being recognized for outstanding female leadership on campus
  • Matt, one of my closest friends started out as my RA
  • Serving as a campus sexual assault advocate
  • Learning the art of walking backwards while giving campus tours
  • Volunteering at a local women’s shelter

You may not realize it today, but the experiences you’re having will become the emotions you will experience when you reflect on your time here.  Some of the examples I shared are silly, but they demonstrate just how each interaction and each experience is an opportunity.

I challenge you to think about how you’ll look back on your time at NLU. There are many ways you can get involved. Join or start a student organization, become a Safe Zone ally, attend professional development workshops, participate in the National Honor Society of Leadership and Success, join us for a family friendly event, or volunteer on campus.

Do not miss out on the opportunities you have today to meet new people and experience new things, all in a journey of developing a greater you. After all, you’re already on that path; why not put a little icing on the cake?

Looking to experience more? Contact studentexperience@nl.edu.

How to be Merry & Bright During the Holidays Valuable Advice from the NLU Counseling Center

snowmansandThe holiday season is filled with expectations of cheer and bliss.  From decorations and carols to gift-giving and time with family, the messages we receive are that we should be jolly during this time of year.  For many people, however, the holidays can bring about a great amount of stress and anxiety. Oftentimes there is an unspoken pressure to buy just the right gift to make your loved one happy.  Other times it’s reconnecting with family that brings up difficult feelings, unhealed wounds.  Just beneath the surface of society’s messages of abundant bliss and good cheer is the reality that with joy comes sorrow.

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Mexican Government Grants NLU $15,000 in Scholarships More than 25 students have received scholarships since 2010

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NLU staff, students and friends attended the scholarship presentation at the Mexican consulate. They included, from left, Margaret Stemler, Ed.D., Dulce Coronado, Juliana Alejandre, Maria del Socorro Ramirez, Monica Ramos, M.A., Alison Hilsabeck, Ph.D., and Ignacio Lopez, Ed.D.

Students from Mexico or of Mexican descent will be able to apply for $15,000 in new scholarship money from a grant awarded to National Louis University by the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (Instituto Mexicano para l’Externo or IME in Spanish).

Last year, 15 NLU students received scholarships provided by a grant from the Institute. On Dec. 4, one of them, Dulce Coronado, a sophomore pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, told an audience of diplomats and educators how much it meant to her during a press conference at the Mexican consulate.

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Dulce Coronado, an early childhood education student at NLU, told consular officials how much it meant to her to receive an IME BECA scholarship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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