Meet Mia Hickey, a Public Relations major, Environmental Studies minor from Milwaukee, WI. Mia plans to graduate in 2023.
Why did you decide to come to NMU?
I knew I wanted to leave Wisconsin, but I also knew I did not want to be really far from home. NMU is about 4.5-5 hours away from Milwaukee, so it fits that happy medium distance. I came to NMU undecided about what I wanted to study. It was important to me that while NMU is a smaller school, it still had many major options. I love hiking and the outdoors, so coming to NMU gave me the unique opportunity to leave a big city for the first time! Additional factors encouraged me to attend Northern, so I like to say that attending here was a perfect storm of good things!
How did you decide your major/minor?
As I mentioned, I came to NMU undecided. I declared an Environmental Science major in my early years at Northern but decided that did not fit me as well as I thought it would. I have a deep passion for the environment, but I realized that I did not want to become a scientist. After some self-reflection, I reached out to a few different departments to hear about their programs. After doing so, I realized that Public Relations was the major for me! As it turned out, I had participated in business and public relations-oriented activities throughout high school and college- I just did not know they fell into a category that could become my career too. I also found out I could keep a minor in environmental studies, and that could help focus my interest in the public relations field. The professors in the College of Business really took the time to get to know me and help me in the journey of switching my major.
What's an example of a cool, interesting or helpful thing that you have done as a part of your major?
I have many moments to pick from, but what I am working on in my Sustainable Business class right now is definitely a favorite. I am working with a local veterinary office, Stuga North, and helping them evaluate their business based on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and the B Corp Certification. I love that I get to do real work that will benefit a small business in an amazing community. It makes me feel that I am not only a student here, but that I am a resident of Marquette too! Combining my major and minor like this is what I love and hope to do in the future beyond NMU. Northern is unique in that it can provide these opportunities to students. At larger schools, this would not be an option.
What are you involved in on- and off-campus and what has been the most rewarding experience?
I am currently involved in a few on-campus clubs and organizations. I am the VP of Public relations for the Public Relations Student Society of America. This gives me lots of outside-of-class Public Relations experience that I have found really valuable. I am also involved in two nationally recognized leadership organizations on campus, the Student Leader Fellowship Program, and Superior Edge. I work with Mind Your Health NMU, a mental health advocacy campaign, and currently hold the role of Vice President. We aim to be student advocates for mental health, and we work closely with staff and administration to keep the mental health of those on campus a priority. This especially has been a rewarding experience because mental health is a true passion of mine.
Outside of school and class, I love hiking, hanging out with friends, attending hockey games, thrifting, and practicing yoga. Life as a college student is very busy, but it is not worth it unless you can find time for things you love!
What does “beNorthern” mean to you?
Be Northern means so many things, but to me, it means being whoever you choose to be. Over the four or more years of college, you are going to change a lot as a person. You will find new interests or hobbies, meet new friends, and study material you never had before. Since you naturally are going to change and grow as a person, I love that Northern has helped me in my personal growth. I joined new clubs and found new passions I never would have thought of! I made great friends that will be lifelong and developed my own personal values and goals. Many of these things were not true at the beginning of college, or I have learned them throughout my years here. Coming to Northern has been integral in all of these changes that will affect me forever. But I have had support and guidance through it all, and I would come to Northern again if I had to do it all over.
What would you tell someone who is considering coming to NMU?
I used to give campus tours through the NMU admissions office, so I have talked to a large number of prospective students. I also remember going on campus tours and just trying to figure it all out. The people who come to Northern are unique, and in many ways, it can be a leap of faith to attend Northern. Some people are worried about being farther from home, others are worried about the cold winters. From an outside perspective, these things can be a little nerve-wracking. But these attributes are what are going to make your experience at Northern unique, fun, and rewarding. The city of Marquette and Northern absolutely embrace these things, and I have found that they are actually positives of NMU. I am glad I did not take the "traditional" big state school route, and that I embraced doing something different from my friends from home. I encourage you to take that leap of faith, it will be the best decision!