Meet Our Students: Aggie Hanni

June 24, 2013

A monthly series to help you get to know the students of NLU, where they've come from and the things they've experienced on the journey toward their degree. 

ul 6.24.13 Pursuing Ph.D. in Community Psychology

What brought you to NLU?

I moved to the U.S. from Sokolka, Poland, in 2001. In this challenging transition during my adolescence, I was fortunate enough to meet the most inspiring mentors who guided me through the American educational system and who helped me realize my potential. One of those individuals, Dr. Helga Noice from Elmhurst College, had an especially great impact on my life as she introduced me to the world of research by inviting me to assist her in the work that she has been conducting for many years with older adults. Dr. Noice’s passion and research success have influenced me to continue my education into graduate studies.

After finishing my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Elmhurst College, I began studying lifespan developmental psychology at West Virginia University. While at WVU, I began to feel the need to positively impact the lives of others more directly and readily. I valued the worked that I was involved in as a graduate student and a graduate teaching assistant; however, I also felt a degree of separation from the population that I was interested in benefiting the most due to the demands of a traditional graduate program. After much consideration, I decided to continue my studies at National Louis University as I was introduced to the field of community psychology and the option to use my research interests in cognition and aging more directly to improve the lives of older adults. While at NLU, Dr. Claudia Pitts, professor and program director of the Master of Arts in Psychology, invited me to volunteer with an early-onset Alzheimer’s support group out of the Barrington Area Council on Aging. At the same time, Dr. Gale Stam, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, provided me an exceptional guidance and support through my master’s thesis. Those experiences combined with several similar opportunities enabled me to continue my passion for research and improving the lives of older adults.

What are you currently studying?

I am currently working toward a Ph.D. in Community Psychology. My main research interests are focused on maintaining and improving cognitive functioning susceptible to age-related decline in older adults.

Are you involved in any clubs or off-campus activities in your community?

I am a student member of several professional organizations: APA Div. 20 Adult Development and Aging and Div. 27 Society for Community Research and Action, as well as the American Society on Aging. I also volunteer with a local no-kill animal rescue organization, the American Animal Rescue Society out of Chicago.

How have you grown in your time here?

NLU helped me to reawaken my passion for serving others. This may sound a bit cliché, however, in my experiences, I have encountered numerous situations in which I felt a sense of despair. Many times I thought to myself that someone has to do something to improve the lives of others – especially those whose voices are yet to be heard. After becoming a part of the NLU family, I realized that I am that someone. Even as a single individual, I have the potential to make a difference and to inspire others to do the same.

What do you hope to do after college and how is NLU preparing you for that?

My main goal is to continue to have a positive impact on the well-being of the aging population. Recently, Dr. Suzette Fromm-Reed, professor and co-director of the Ph.D. in Community Psychology, introduced me to another aging researcher out of Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, whose ongoing research projects may give me the opportunity to further professional connections and to hopefully open future opportunities for a career in research or academia. 

What have you liked most about your experience at NLU so far?

I absolutely treasure the level of support and guidance from each and every faculty and staff member at NLU. Through my educational experiences, I came to realize that such consistency in serving and inspiring students is unique to this institution. NLU lives and breathes its mission and values in each and every encounter with students and its general community.

If you know of an NLU student at any level - bachelor's, master's, doctoral - who has an inspiring story to tell, nominate them for our monthly series by emailing Susan Barnett, Director of Communications, at susan.barnett@nl.edu.

Locations
  • CHICAGO DOWNTOWN CAMPUS

    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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  • ELGIN

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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  • NORTH SHORE

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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  • LISLE

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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  • WHEELING

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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  • FLORIDA (TAMPA)

    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

    5110 Eisenhower Boulevard Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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  • WISCONSIN

    NLU's Milwaukee campus has a proud history of serving graduate students in education in southeastern Wisconsin. Nearly one in five certified Wisconsin teachers looks to NLU for graduate education programs – more than any other university in the state. In addition to classrooms with high-tech media equipment, the campus offers a state-of-the-art computer lab with wireless Internet access and an extensive IDS research library.

    12000 West Park Place, Suite 100
    Milwaukee, WI 53224-3007
    (414) 577.2658
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