There is one decision that Meagan Szydlowski is sure of—choosing to attend Northern Illinois University. The senior political science major was accepted at five Illinois colleges but decided NIU was the right fit. "As trite as it sounds," Meagan says, "the professors here really care about us as students, and we get a lot of one-on-one time that I don't think I would get at some other schools."
Meagan, an honors student, who is the second in her family to attend NIU, says her decision has opened doors she couldn't even imagine. Last summer she received the Erickson-Doherty Student Leader Travel Endowment Scholarship, which helped pay for her studies at Oxford University in England. "My constitutional law professor, Dr. Art Ward, encouraged me to apply for the program. I knew I was eligible to go on the trip, but I knew my parents couldn't afford to pay," Meagan says. She says her favorite part of the experience was visiting an international law firm and studying the differences between law systems.
Meagan first became interested in political science in high school while following her father's campaign for city council. Once enrolled at NIU, Meagan says her professors pushed her to get more involved. Her latest project has included grass roots research on the effects of advertising on judicial elections. "At first I thought it was boring, but as I got deeper into the research, I found it really exciting. In fact, I've decided to do my senior thesis on the subject," she says.
This year Meagan received the John G. and Barbara C. Peters Excellence in Public Service Endowed Scholarship. She is extremely grateful for the support she has received from NIU, including her professors, advisors, and scholarship donors. With graduation just a semester away, Meagan has her sights set on working for a couple of years. "I want to return to school and earn a Ph.D. so I can teach and shape my students' experiences like my professors have influenced me," Meagan says.
Note: Meagan was recently one of five undergrads selected to participate in NIU's congressional intern program. Meagan will work closely with an elected official in Washington D.C.
Northern Illinois University has designated the NIU Foundation as the charitable organization to receive and manage all gifts on its behalf.
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