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The Places You'll Go

At Illinois State we care about your growth both as a student and individual, #FutureRedbird. Your time here will certainly be filled with memories you can cherish for a lifetime. Toni Wells, an Illinois State Alumnae, made the most of her time as an undergraduate student. Stay tuned to learn more about Toni's journey here at ISU!

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Why did you chose to attend ISU?

There are a few reasons why I chose to attend ISU. While researching different universities, Nathan Bargar (an Admissions Counselor from ISU), paid a visit to my high school and spoke on behalf of ISU. At first I wasn't interested because I had heard numerous speeches that all addressed the same topics he spoke about. However, Nathan was different. He never lost contact with me, always checked in, and invited me to do a campus visit.

When I visited ISU, it truly felt like home. From the Quad, people, and school pride, I knew ISU had everything I wanted in a school. Soon after my visit I committed to ISU. Not only did I love what ISU had to offer, I also loved the location. I have family in St. Louis and back home in Chicago, so it was nice to know that if I ever became homesick I could visit at my convenience.

As a freshman I had no idea what was in store for me over the next four years, but looking back I am proud of the time I spent as a Redbird!

What were you able to accomplish here at ISU?

I was able to accomplish a number of things as an undergraduate student. I became the founder and president of the Women of Enlightenment Chapter of the National Association of Colored Women's Club. I was also a member of the Association for Women in Communication in which I was the Professional Development Chair and Vice President. Through the School of Communication I was able to intern as a Recruitment Ambassador as well.

The School of Business also gave me many opportunites. I was a member of the International Business Club and served as the Recruitment Chair and Vice President. Also, I had the opportunity to join the Phi Gamma Nu Business Fraternity and become the Beta Class President.

Through the Dean of Students, I had the opportunity to become an Advisory Board Member as well as a Campus Involvement Ambassador. These positions helped me see that I had the ability to impact people around me. This motivated me to become a summer Preview Guide and a mentor for the Mentoring and Academic Success Achievement Initiative.

During my years at ISU I was active with TRiO as well (a mentoring program for underrepresented students). I was awarded the 2016 Support Services Student of the Year, Most Involved Participant, and the Most Motivational Speaker.

A few other accomplishments I made during my time at ISU include:

- Being crowned Black Student Union's 1st Homecoming Queen

- Studying Abroad in Paris

- Receiving the University College Impact Award

- Winning the Succeed In Spring Essay contest three times

What was your most valuable experience here and how has it helped to shape you as a person?

Studying Abroad one week after graduation wasn't something I was planning to do. The thought of studying abroad came from my involvement with the International Business Club. At that time, I was a sophomore who had never been on a plane before or left home longer than a month. It wasn't until senior year that I began asking several alumni and faculty members what their biggest regret regarding college was. The common answer was not studying abroad.

After hearing that, I decided to take a leap of faith and finish off my undergraduate degree in Paris. This experience allowed me to really showcase all the things I learned while being a Redbird at ISU. It also taught me more about myself, who I am, and who I want to become. After studying abroad I know the sky is the limit for my goals and aspirations.

What are you planning to do with your career path and how did ISU influence that decision?

I am currently working as a Payroll Administrator for a Staffing Company. I plan to excel in corporate America within Human Resources, Training and Development, or Implementation. With the opportunities I had at ISU, I possess many skills related to the business field. Business Week at ISU helped me create the strong network I have now.

The career center tips and advice I received taught me the do's and don'ts in corporate America, and are still useful to me today. Also, joining my Business Fraternity taught me the essentials of professionalism and balancing work along with your personal life. All of these things are still relevant to me in my professional life.

If you could give advice to incoming freshmen what would you tell them?

If I could give incoming freshman advice I would tell them that ISU is full of endless opportunities. Take advantage of the different resources that are available to you, #FutureRedbird. In fact, many of them are FREE! Get out of your comfort zone, find a mentor, and have fun. The time goes by way too fast!

Are you ready to leave your mark on ISU's campus like Toni did, #FutureRedbird? We hope so! Thanks for tuning in. See you next fall!

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