Professor Jennifer Jackson speaks with first-generation students.

First-Generation Faculty

You will never be far from another first-generation college student at North Central College. We are especially proud of the many first-generation students among our faculty, staff and graduate assistants at North Central who were first-generation students. We encourage you to reach out to these accomplished individuals for support as you progress through your college experience.

Read some of our first-generation faculty's stories:

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Professor of Political Science

“My experience as a first-generation college student was not particularly noteworthy. Like many first-gen students, though my parents did not attend college, there was a strong assumption that I would. When I arrived on campus, I attributed much of my hesitation and confusion to being a new student, irrespective of my parents' background. I assumed that every first-year student was feeling the same as I was, and in many ways they were. But having raised children essentially on college campuses and, most recently, helping my oldest child to select a college, I appreciate the advantage that students with parents who attended college can sometimes have.

The most vivid memory I have of being a first-generation college student is going home for Thanksgiving during my first year. As is the case with many adolescents, I had by that point grown tired of my parents, felt them to be overbearing, and could not wait to find my independence. That distance, however, particularly in an era with long-distance telephone rates, led to a tremendous feeling of sadness for me once I had a few weeks away from them. In other words, I really missed my folks and couldn't wait to get home to share all I was learning in college. Sitting at the dinner table that first day home, I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach that I still cannot completely identify. I felt that even in such a short period of time, I had grown so much that I couldn't talk to them anymore. I think I felt a sense of importance that was not warranted -- a belief that I was somehow 'better’ than they were. That wore off quickly as I came to appreciate the gift they had given me through their sacrifice and support. Over time, I found meaningful ways to share my work with them, as they continue to be curious as to what it is that I do.

As I think about the advantage my own children have in both choosing a college and setting forth on that journey, I am continually reminded that they only have this advantage because of my parents. Further, the gap in advantage is considerably narrower at many institutions now because of programs like Cardinal First, and for that I am deeply grateful. My research centers on inequality, so I am particularly energized by people, institutions and programs that are deliberate in attempts to dismantle systems of inequality and provide greater access and opportunity to those who have not historically enjoyed those aspects of life. While I was able to persist without such support, my route would have been richer and less stressful if I had it. I'm a proud first-generation college student, and a proud supporter of Cardinal First."

Assistant Professor of Psychology

“I grew up in the Chicago suburbs as part of a working-class family. My father was raised on a farm in rural southern Illinois and my mother is from Elgin, Ill. My father worked as a carpenter. My mother ran an in-home child care service then transitioned to working for a printing company. They both modeled the value of hard work, persistence and building relationships. My mother took classes at the local community college when she was running her child care service and always told me that no learning is ever wasted.

I started taking classes at the same community college when I was a junior in high school. My first class was Introduction to Psychology! I was fortunate to fall into a group of friends in high school who were all college bound. That social network created the expectation of going to college. A family friend took me along on a trip to her college while I was in high school. That was the one college that I applied to.  

I completed my bachelor’s of music in music therapy in three years thanks to those classes that I started in high school. After working as a music therapist and establishing my focus in school settings, I sought opportunities for graduate school to enhance my professional skills. I completed both of my advanced degrees in educational psychology at Northern Illinois University while working full-time and raising my two children. My current scholarship focuses on research and evaluation in informal learning settings. I am grateful for the lessons that were modeled by my parents and supported by my early social networks.

My parents and peers taught me things that got me to college, but once I got there I had to stumble through new terrain. The Cardinal First program provides both practical information and a social network to help our students navigate these new experiences. I am proud to be a part of a program that shows our students what it means to be a part of the Cardinal family.

Associate Professor of Marketing

"It is a blessing and honor to be a first-generation college student. My parents dropped me off at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on a beautiful Sunday in August of 1986. I was so excited about leaving home. I was anxious to be on my own and to spread my wings a bit. I had an inflated ego but all of that changed once I hit U of I’s campus. As a senior in high school, you have an established group of friends and the world is yours but the first year of college can be overwhelming. It can even be more intimidating when you are the first one in your family to attend college. I knew that my family was counting on me to succeed and that pressure made me fearful.

On the surface, fear may appear to be a negative force but I was able to channel that fear in a positive manner. In fact, I was able to use that fear as a source of motivation. I was not a perfect student but I was able to balance my time effectively. While I attended a number of social events, I found a couple of study spots that were tucked away from the public. I realized that I did my best work when I had peace and quiet. I also blocked off several hours of my day to make sure that I had enough time to study for each subject. I did not become a hermit but I was deliberate and purposeful about the manner in which I spent my time. I also had two incredible mentors, an assistant dean in my college and a professor in my department. They coached me through many important decisions, including studying in London and participating in a faculty/student research program. My time at U of I was exciting and full of fun. I met some great friends and participated in a number of activities but through it all, I kept my eye on the prize. I realized that I had to invest the time and energy to achieve the level of success that I wanted.

I am honored to be a part of Cardinal First. The program offers a wealth of support and a sense of community. Participating in Cardinal First greatly enhances a student’s experience at North Central. "

Professor of Chemistry

"As a first-year student coming from a big city of 10,000 people and going to a very large school I was a bit overwhelmed. I just followed the masses and more or less did what my peers were doing. I was a good high school student but it was suggested that I take college Algebra as that was what was required for veterinary school. I couldn’t really understand my professor during lectures so I didn’t think he would miss me with 200 other people there. I still did all the homework and went to all the recitation sections and scored an easy A on exams. That was my 'blow-off class and had I been assigned a good advisor I would have been in a higher-level math class. 

In the spring quarter, I needed another biology class and so I took Animal Biology (being pre-vet and all). Unfortunately, I did not know the difference between a 400-level and a 100-level class, so I took Bio 430 because a couple of my friends were taking it. Out of the 120 students in the class, only three of us were first-year students. I was the only one of the group to get a passing grade (a D!), as I was competing against mostly seniors and graduate students. I don’t know why my advisor signed off on that course but he did. 

Poor advising was part of the reason that I transferred to a much smaller school for my sophomore year and it was a great decision. I got to interact with the faculty much more, had hands-on experiences with the instrumentation and took a lot of leadership roles in many different organizations. It really did change my life. 

One of the reasons I am teaching at a small institution such as North Central is that it gives me the opportunity to interact with students to a much greater extent than at a large institution. Cardinal First has student members that are probably not familiar with the way college 'works, much as I was not. I’m eager to help out students with any questions they have. Although the student might think their question is a dumb one, believe me that the worst thing that can happen is for the question to go unanswered. I now have a child in college, and it is not just first-generation students that have surprising questions that need answering."

Cardinal First Resources

First-Generation Faculty and Staff

Not only will you meet many other first-gen students at North Central through Cardinal First, you will also engage with faculty and staff who were first-generation college students themselves. We encourage you to reach out to them for guidance and learn from their experiences.

Taylor Arman

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology; Athletic Training Coordinator of Clinical Education
+1 630 637 5575
Jeffrey Bjorklund

Professor of Chemistry
+1 630 637 5195
Alexis Chambers

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Psychology and Neuroscience
+1 630 637 5330
Suzanne Chod

Associate Professor of Political Science; Coordinator of Gender and Women's Studies
Political Science
+1 630 637 5245
Jean Clifton

Associate Professor of Management Emerita
Thomas Clifton

Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Emeritus
John Colletti

Half-Time Assistant Professor of Economics
+1 630 637 5240
Sabryna Cornish

Half-Time Assistant Professor of Journalism
Media Studies
+1 630 637 5387
Louis Corsino

Professor of Sociology; Ruge Fellow; Chairperson, Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Coordinator of Urban and Suburban Studies
Sociology & Anthropology
+1 630 637 5312
Ryan Decker

Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics
+1 630 637 5248
James Donovan, PhD

Visiting Professor in the Shimer Great Books School
Shimer Great Books
Patti Engel

Half-Time Assistant Professor of Biology
+1 630 637 5189
Sheryl Finkle

Professor of Education Emerita
Mary Galvan

Associate Professor of Marketing; Chair, Department of Management and Marketing
Management & Marketing
+1 630 637 5473
Kristin Geraty

Associate Dean for Engaged Learning & Director of College Honors Program
Academic Affairs
+1 630 637 5315
Frank Gramarosso

Head Men's Track & Field Coach
Athletics(All Sports&Fitness)
+1 630 637 5507
David Gray

Associate Professor of Accounting; Chair of Accounting and Finance
Accounting and Finance
+1 630 637 5586
Patrick Gray

Half-Time Assistant Professor of Economics and Finance
+1 630 637 5499
Jennifer Jackson

Associate Professor of English; Svend and Elizabeth Bramsen Professor in the Humanities; Chair, Department of English
+1 630 637 5278
Jeffrey Jankowski

Professor of Chemistry; Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry and Physics
+1 630 637 5191
Christopher Kardaras

Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Computer Science
+1 630 637 5169
Jennifer Keys

Assistant Provost for Teaching & Learning; Director, Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence, CAFÉ
Cntr for Advmt of Fac Excel
+1 630 637 5313
Maureen Kincaid

Professor of Education
+1 630 637 5750
Richard Guzman

Professor of English Emeritus
+1 630 637 5280
Brian Hanlon

Coleman Foundation Professor of Entrepreneurship; Associate Professor of Law and Entrepreneurship
Management & Marketing
+1 630 637 5242
Frank Harwath

Professor of Engineering; Director of Engineering Program
+1 630 637 5173
Kari Kluckhohn

Head Women's Track & Field Coach
Athletics(All Sports&Fitness)
+1 630 637 5503
Lisa Long

Associate Provost and Dean of College Programs
Academic Affairs
+1 630 637 5286
Mary Jean Lynch

Professor of Psychology; Chairperson, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Psychology and Neuroscience
+1 630 637 5363
John Madormo

Assistant Professor of Broadcast Communication Emeritus
Heidi Matthews

Interim Dean of the School of Education and Health Sciences; Professor of Kinesiology Emerita
School of Educ & Health Sci
+1 630 637 5511
Shaheen Moosa

Assistant Professor of Philosophy
+1 630 637 5135
Robert Moussetis

Professor of International Business
Management & Marketing
+1 630 637 5475
Neil Nicholson

Associate Professor of Mathematics
Math & Actuarial Science
+1 630 637 5233
Linda Ogden Hagen

Half-Time Associate Professor of Music
+1 630 637 5627
Richard Paine

Professor of Speech Communication/Theatre
+1 630 637 5374
Wioleta Polinska

Professor of Religious Studies; Chairperson, Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy
Religious Studies
+1 630 637 5317
Kathryn Pszotka

Half-Time Assistant Professor of Art
Art & Design
+1 630 637 5333
Christine Rabenold

Associate Professor of Art; Student Art Gallery Director; Chairperson, Department of Art and Design
Art & Design
+1 630 637 5543
Stephen Renk

Professor of Computer Science Emeritus; Coordinator of Master of
Jason Rice

Assistant Professor of Sport Management; Sport Management Program Director
+1 630 637 5736
Bruce Spitzer

Professor of Education; Chairperson, Department of Education
+1 630 637 5738
Patricia Sanders

Half-Time Assistant Professor of Education
Patricia Schacht

Associate Professor of Psychology
Psychology and Neuroscience
+1 630 637 5331
Kendall Selsky

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology; Athletic Training Program Director
+1 630 637 5546
Caroline St. Clair

Professor of Computer Science
Computer Science
+1 630 637 5171
John Stanley

Associate Professor of Communication; Co-Director of Forensics; Director of Individual Events
+1 630 637 5371
Lawrence Van Oyen

Professor of Music; Director of Bands
+1 630 637 5628
Joanna Weremijewicz

Assistant Professor of Biology
+1 630 637 5380
Richard Wilders

Marie and Bernice Gantzert Professor in the Liberal Arts and Sciences; Professor of Mathematics
Math & Actuarial Science
+1 630 637 5234
Ramona M. Wis

Mimi Rolland Professor in the Fine Arts; Professor of Music
+1 630 637 5629
John Zenchak

Professor of Biology
+1 630 637 5182
Jennifer Alexander

Associate Director of Residence Life
Residence Life
+1 630 637 5852
Chelsea Armstrong

Assistant Director of First Generation Programs and Coordinator of the Dunham Scholars Program
Student Affairs
+1 630 637 5151
Kaitlin Ballard

Assistant Director of Conference Services & Camps
Conference Services & Camps
+1 630 637 5510
Ann Benjamin

Associate Director of Financial Aid
Financial Aid
+1 630 637 5602
Samantha Bennett

Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs
Multi-Cultural Affairs
+1 630 637 5166
Kristina Bonn

Director, Financial Aid
Financial Aid
+1 630 637 5601
DuShaun Branch

Assistant Director-Student Involvement
Student Activities-Orgs
+1 630 637 5401
Allen Carius

Head Men's Cross Country Coach; Associate Head Men's Track and Field Coach
Athletics(All Sports&Fitness)
+1 630 637 5504
Leonardo Cacioppo

Apple End User Support Specialist
Information Tech Services
+1 630 637 5451
Maria Caselli

Associate Director of Development
Development(Crp Rel, PG)
+1 630 637 5217
Marguerite Degenhardt

Pre-Professional Health Program Coordinator
Academic Support Services
+1 630 637 5999
Linda Doyle

Associate Director of Transfer Admission
+1 630 637 5804
Kyle Exline

Head Men's and Women's Volleyball Coach
Athletics(All Sports&Fitness)
+1 630 637 5699
Janis Fitzsimmons

Executive Director of Urban Education Laboratory
Junior-Senior Scholars
+1 630 637 5359
Todd Flesher

Director of Technology Infrastructure
Information Tech Services
+1 630 637 5434
James Godo

Assistant Vice President for External Affairs and Special Assistant to the President
Marketing & Communications
+1 630 637 5809
Kristin Guido

Assistant Director of Admission
+1 630 637 5833
Jessica Holt

Business and Financial Services Manager
Business Office
+1 630 637 5569
Brittany James
Brittany James

Head Athletic Trainer; Adjunct Instructor of Kinesiology
Athletics(All Sports&Fitness)
+1 630 637 5533
Timothy Janecek
Timothy Janecek

Assistant Football Coach and Defensive run Coordinator; Director of Football Strength Program
Athletics(All Sports&Fitness)
+1 630 637 5296
Laura Kitoi

Admission and Academic Services Advisor-Graduate Studies
Graduate/Professional Studies
+1 630 637 5843
James Kluckhohn

Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Facilities, Events and Recreation
Athletics(All Sports&Fitness)
+1 630 637 5581
Kimberly Larsson

Executive Director, Center for Global Education; Assistant Dean
Center for Global Education
+1 630 637 5289
David Missurelli

Assistant Vice President for Finance/Controller
Business Office
+1 630 637 5680
Jordan Newcomer

Parking and Transportation Services Coordinator
Campus Safety
+1 630 637 5664
Frances Nicholson

Instructional Services Librarian
Library(Instrl Media, Archvs)
+1 630 637 5707
Haydee Nunez

Director Career Development Center
Career Development
+1 630 637 5142
Wendy Pochocki

Assistant Dean for Operations and Admissions
Graduate/Professional Studies
+1 630 637 5808
Melissa Proulx

Coordinator of Digital and Outreach Services
Library(Instrl Media, Archvs)
+1 630 637 5708
Susan Rickert

Director of Academic Personnel Services & Executive Assistant to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Academic Affairs
+1 630 637 5356
Whitney Roberts

Director of Civic Engagement and Social Innovation
Leadership, Ethics & Values
+1 630 637 5251
Michaline Rutkowski, LCPC, CADC

Dyson Wellness Center
+1 630 637 5549
Kimberly Salzbrunn

Executive Assistant to the President
Office of the President
+1 630 637 5454
Maryellen Skerik

Vice President for Finance
+1 630 637 5678
Kimberly Sluis

Vice President for Student Affairs and Strategic Initiatives
+1 630 637 5153
Cory Stevens
Cory Stevens

Associate Director of Development/Major Gift Officer
Development(Crp Rel, PG)
+1 630 637 5218
Martha Stolze

Dean of Admission
+1 630 637 5814
William Todtz

Research and Prospect Management Analyst
Development(Crp Rel, PG)
+1 630 637 5393
Jesus Velasco

International Student Advisor
Center for Global Education
+1 630 637 5299
Natalie Vivacqua

Director of Operations
Business Operations
+1 630 637 5655

Related Pages

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