A special education for a special educator
Victoria Valentine always knew she wanted to be a teacher, but it wasn’t until she volunteered at a summer camp during sixth grade that she realized she wanted to pursue special education. During the camp, Valentine was assigned to work with a young autistic boy and began to see the world from his perspective.
Taking the Initiative
Mateo Farzaneh first heard of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh as a child growing up in Iran in the 1970s. While he realized then that the name was important, Farzaneh could not have known that more than four decades later he would become intimately involved in an effort to memorialize and honor Iran’s first democratically elected prime minister.
The surprise biologist
Anthony Smith likes to think of an organism like a finely tuned car. An automobile’s power-train control module—or main computer—acts as the brain to a central nervous system, interpreting signals and sending out responses. “In a car, there are sensors that determine the temperature of the engine, just like your skin senses temperature,” Smith said. “That information is then interpreted by the brain, which later sends output signals to elicit a response, like whether to withdraw from the temperature source.”
Accounting adds up for Anna Davydova
Anna Davydova isn’t worried about setting career goals—at least not yet. On track to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Northeastern Illinois University in 2018, Davydova is focused on only one thing: passing the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination.
A fearless future teacher
When Becca Peterson arrived at Northeastern Illinois University in 2014, the transition to college was a shock. After all, she had enlisted in the Air Force only one year earlier after graduating from Lane Tech College Prep High School. After an unexpected medical discharge, Peterson found herself planning to spend the next four years on a college campus, not an Air Force base. “I really had no idea what college I wanted to go to,” Peterson said. “After the Air Force, I felt confused about what to do.”
A world of opportunities
Whether she’s studying political science, interning for a state senator, attending the Democratic National Convention or traveling abroad, Anna Augustyn immerses herself in politics any way she can.
Pursuit of the highest education
John Gomez does not settle and will not settle—even after he earns his bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University. “Ever since I was little, the one thing I have always wanted to do—which I know is kind of odd—is that I’ve always wanted to go to college,” said Gomez, who naturally is a member of the University Honors Program. “I really value education. I think it’s so important for people to be educated—not necessarily just to get a job but just to better yourself.”
A mission for education
Oscar Ramírez never had a Latino teacher growing up. Not in grade school, not in middle school and not in high school. Nunca. That all changed when Ramírez, the son of Guatemalan immigrants, enrolled at Northeastern Illinois University. “I suddenly had Latino teachers,” Ramírez said. “I would visit my professors during office hours and talk to them. They opened my mind and made me believe I can do anything.”
‘We knew her when’
As Alaa Basatneh sat in the gallery for President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union Address—a mere 15 seats away from first lady Michelle Obama—she couldn’t stop thinking about the Supreme Court justices. “It felt surreal. The energy in that room,” Basatneh said. “All of the lawmakers, the officials, the cabinet, the justices. I kept looking at the justices and thinking, I want to see expressions on their faces. They’re supposed to be neutral.”
Extra credit: A partnership with Amundsen High School
When Anna Pavichevich took over as principal of Amundsen High School in July of 2012, the school had been on probation for 11 years. Families were choosing to put their children on city buses to attend high schools with better reputations rather than the one in their own Lincoln Square neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago. And the students who did attend Amundsen were struggling with their academics and attendance.