Growing up surrounded by U of I memorabilia, attending the University of Illinois was a natural choice influenced by my parents' alma mater and hometown friends. As an in-state student, I found the perfect balance between college freedom and the comfort of home.  

Initially drawn to Computer Science and Industrial Engineering, I shifted gears upon discovering the Information Sciences program at the iSchool. Despite facing uncertainty and prerequisite hurdles, I embraced the challenge and secured admission, intrigued by its blend of technical and humanitarian aspects. Adding a Game Studies & Design minor complemented my interests, allowing me to explore creative aspects alongside technical foundations. Engaging coursework like Data Storytelling showcased the fusion of narrative and technicality, shaping my approach to data representation.  

 Outside classes, involvement in Illini Fighting Hunger and Psi Eta Mu fraternity enriched my college journey, providing insights into event coordination, community engagement, and leadership development. An internship at McDonald's as a Global Technology Intern paved the way for a full-time position as a Rotational Specialist, where I gained exposure to diverse global operations. In this role, I transition between various positions every eight months 

In my first rotation, I served as a Product Manager for kiosks, managing designs across markets and leveraging my creative and technical skills. Currently, in my second rotation as a Project Specialist within Global Technology Strategy & Planning (GT SP) on the Program Management Office (PMO) Center of Excellence team (COE), my focus is on standardizing PMO practices, tools, and methodologies. This involves tasks like creating templates, managing internal requests for project managers, and producing status reports for ongoing GT projects shared with executive leadership.  

 Reflecting on my Illinois experience, friendships played a pivotal role in my personal and professional growth. Diverse classes and campus activities instilled confidence in asking questions, vital for career navigation.  

 Advice to Illinois students: Embrace new opportunities, balance commitments effectively, and approach tasks step by step. Amid challenges like COVID, seize moments and prioritize personal time, remembering that you control your schedule.  

 From navigating coursework to embracing new experiences, my journey at Illinois taught me the power of perseverance and the importance of small steps towards achieving career success.